A little something about back pain

A little something about back pain

Let’s talk a bit about back pain. This has to be by far the most common orthopaedic complaint. So the literature has it that about 80% of the population will have back pain at some point in their life. That is close to being as common as the common cold.

Here is the low down on what we need to realize:

Most, but not all back pain is what we call mechanical. This means that the pain is arising from muscle spasm or from the little joints in the back of the vertebrae. This is benign and usually resolves with activity.

Radicular pain is the pain originating from the back BUT actually running down the leg. This is usually due to a pinched nerve somewhere along the course of the sciatic nerve, which incidentally coins the term sciatica.Over 90% of cases usually resolve on their own but might take some time depending on the causative agent of the nerve compression. Your doctor might prescribe some drugs to help you hasten your recovery. Occasionally this impingement is so severe that it might lead to muscle group weakness and thus results in difficulty walking. Surgery might be indicated in this case or if the pain fails to resolve with medication.

Other causes of back pain include fractures, infections, inflammatory conditions and sometimes also more sinister causes like tumours. Features here include rest pain (and night pain), weight loss, loss of appetite, night sweats and a general feeling of being unwell. These symptoms might be present but their absence doesn’t necessarily exclude such conditions. In view of this; professional opinion is thus highly recommended when a new symptom such as back pain normally arises.

With regards to mechanical low back pain, activity is the key to the cure. Countless are the cases I can relate to from direct experience as both a sportsman and a doctor; where fellow riders and windsurfers say they miraculously get better when they resumed their favourite sport after long periods of a sedentary lifestyle and disabling back pain.

So what makes activity such a good healer? It’s all in the core (Read: Inner / abdominal) strength that essentially changes your soft flabby abdomen, hinging on a measly little vertebral column; into a solid thick tree trunk which is, in essence, giving support (read: buttressing) and thus aiding the vertebral column to cope with the bending force posed onto it by the heavy torso.

This brings me to another point; Prevention. Traditionally, mechanical low back pain has been linked to manual work and heavy lifting. While this is true, it is not the only causative agent. Bad posture, prolonged immobility and muscular imbalance may also lead to back pain. It is, therefore, imperative to learn how to deal with habitual or occupational hazards. One must avoid sitting at a desk for too long – take frequent breaks. Stretch arms and legs or do a few press-ups. Likewise, if your job involves heavy lifting, remember to lift with your legs and a straight back – and not hunched over.

So if you are a back pain sufferer and have been thoroughly investigated but haven’t found a cure yet, I urge you to pick up your long – lost childhood favourite sport and resume it. Ease gently into the sport and build up gradually. If you have never been a great fan of physical activity then I urge you to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Start walking/jogging/cycling – just get out there and be active. New and trending activities which have core strength as its main aims are pilates and yoga, so if you are more docile or not a big fan of cardio and sweat why not give these a try?

If you have read till here, I urge you to leave a comment below or share your back pain experience with us. Thank you for your attention

#backpain #corestrength #LBP #lowbackpain #getactive

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