Sometime between the ages of 30 and 50, a majority of men and women are likely to experience back pain. The cause is most likely to be overuse.
You can treat serious back pain problems and prevent or stop them from reoccurring through proper posture, proper lifting techniques and exercise. Early intervention can not only treat but also prevent back strain from developing into more serious conditions. Most back injuries are not caused by a single event, but are cumulative. People who have strong backs suffer an injury when they become fatigued while doing a repetitive task, such as chopping wood or pouring concrete. Poor posture can throw off the spine’s alignment resulting in chronic strain.
The lower back is the most common trouble spot. Poor posture while standing, sitting or sleeping can create muscle strain and fatigue, opening the door to injury. A day or two of rest can be helpful for a minor backache treatment. An inability to straighten up to a standing position signals a more severe problem, most often caused by muscle spasms. The muscle spasms typically feel like the muscles are being tightened and pulled. Often the pain extends from the lower back around to the abdomen.
Abdominal muscles help support the spine and related muscles. You have to put the muscles to rest so they can relax and this cycle of pain-spasm-inflammation-pain, can be broken. When a muscle becomes inflamed it becomes engorged with blood and other products which result in muscle swelling. In moderate to severe injuries, many doctors refer patients to a physical therapist for rehabilitation and treatment.
Rehabilitation may involve back pain treatment with cold and hot packs, hydro-therapy, ultrasound therapy and electrical stimulation of the strained muscles. The therapies may be used in combination or apart from muscle strengthening exercises. Rehabilitation depends upon many factors, including the patient’s overall conditioning and weight, the nature of the injury and the person’s work environment and stress level.
The time needed to treat back pain also varies. A person who goes through six weeks of conventional treatment and is still suffering back pain requires further evaluation. While some patients simply require more time to heal, others may be experiencing back pain resulting from an unrelated illness, such as a kidney infection or an abdominal aneurysm which shows up as back pain.
Most often, a structural anomaly or a stress fracture is to blame. A stress fracture takes three months to heal and structural problems can be corrected using supportive braces.
Strengthening the body’s muscles naturally is the key to preventing future problems for the back and abdominal muscles that act as an internal brace, providing support 24 hours a day. Walking and swimming are two exercises that bring overall payoffs, because they strengthen muscles without a lot of strain.
It is becoming well-established that the great majority of backaches is due to poor muscle conditioning. Most back pain cases result from either inelastic muscles or weak muscles. Part of the reason is sedentary lifestyle, in which muscles are victimized by disuse. Another factor is anxiety and nervous tension, which can tighten muscles and make them more susceptible to strain and spasms.
For those susceptible to backaches, the provocations include poor posture, stooping in the garden, improper lifting of packages, a quick, inadvertent move, or even a coughing fit. All can lead to trouble for poorly conditioned muscles. So, it is very important to know how to treat back pain.
Many studies have pointed to the importance not only of back muscles but also of abdominal muscles in the onset of back pain. A firm structure of stomach muscles makes it possible to lift heavy weights that might otherwise break the spine. Strong abdominal muscles also keep the stomach from sagging forward, imposing dangerous stress on the lower region of the spine. Exercises to strengthen the stomach muscles have become an important part of therapy for back pain.
Slipped disc has become a popular, even fashionable, excuse for backache. What is a slipped disc? There is gelatinous material between the vertebrae of the back that acts as a shock absorber. When there is damage to the membrane that holds the gelatinous material in place, it can slip out, and press on the nerves of the spinal cord. Usually, the pain from that pressure is felt down the backs of the legs rather than in the back.
In many persons with degenerated discs, pain is due to weak abdominal muscles or muscle spasms rather than the slipped discs. Some physicians believe that chronic back pain is either in your head or is due to a herniated disc and many claim that neither pain nor surgery are inevitable when a slipped disc occurs, although psychological factors can sometimes make it difficult to convince patients otherwise. There is no doubt that the perception of pain is strongly modified by the mental attitude of the person. We have to try to persuade the people not to consider themselves as invalids.
The majority of persons suffering from back pain – those with poor muscle tone – can take common sense steps to diagnose, prevent and treat back pain. When severe, immobilizing back pain strikes, for whatever reasons, the first thing to do is to take two aspirins and get into bed as quickly as you can.
You thereby minimize the chance of aggravating the muscle spasm. Apply heal for half an hour, then change position to avoid stiffness. While most people get relief from heat, some get quicker relief from a spasm with the application of cold. Whether you use heat or cold treatment, you should also have a rubdown with a commercially available counterirritant.
If you can make it to the bathroom, a half-hour hot bath taken four or even more times daily can provide relief. After a day or so, the pain may start to ease.
You can then begin simple mobilizing exercises – going from a prone position to sitting on the edge of the bed, stretching your arms, gently moving back, shoulders, arms and legs. Later, as movement becomes easier, other exercises can be performed. While lying down, pull in your stomach muscles, tighten them, hold them briefly and then relax. Then try to flatten the curve in the small of the back against the bed by leaning slightly forward and pulling in your stomach muscles.
It is sometimes helpful to lie on the floor with a rolled towel placed under the neck and with your buttocks up against the legs of a chair and your feet resting on the seal of the chair. The chair should be high enough to exert a mild upward lift on the hips. You can remain in that position for five to 30 minutes.
If you have severe pain that does not diminish after a day or so, you should consult a doctor. For milder episodes of pain, it may not be necessary to remain in bed.
Back pain can be prevented if the muscles are properly exercised. The trouble with exercises is that most people won’t do them unless they are in pain. But the exercises can be used not only to treat, but also to prevent back pain. If you find it difficult to do exercises regularly, an alternative is to use the exercises for a time in order to condition the muscles.
Then, to remain in shape, you may take up a sport you enjoy and do it twice a week. It can be horseback riding, golf, tennis, handball, swimming, whatever you enjoy. The key is to work into a physical exercise program slowly and in the proper sequence. If you attempt to jump from simple exercises to more difficult ones too rapidly or if you try to overexert yourself at a sport, you are asking for trouble.
With the above suggested exercises you can easily learn how to treat back pain from the comfort of your own home.