Back pain is pain felt on any part of your spine, that is from your neck to the top of your buttocks. This pain is very common and most times, it resolves in a short while, or after using pain killers. It is commonly caused by problems with your spine, back muscles or ligaments. If the pain persists for a long time, visit your healthcare provider. Staying active, keeping a good posture, and lifting objects properly are some of the ways to prevent backaches.
Back pain may be caused by the following:
- Poor posture when sitting down, watching television or working on your laptop.
- Muscle or ligament strain may be caused by wear and tear. This commonly happens when you exercise excessively, lift heavy objects or play sports like football.
- Injury to your spine from accidents or falls.
- Inflammation or infection of your spine.
- Narrowing of the space around your spinal cord, which is caused by arthritis.
- Presence of a spine tumour.
You should reach out to your healthcare provider if the back pain:
- Persists or doesn't get better over weeks.
- Started after an accident or fall to your back.
- Moves to different parts of your body like your buttocks or legs.
- Is accompanied by a tingling or loss of sensation in your legs.
- Comes with weight loss that can’t be explained.
Back pain can be prevented by doing the following:
- Do regular stretching and exercise that focus on your back such as walking and swimming. These exercises help strengthen your back muscles.
- Have a good posture while sitting. Use seats that have good support and keep your hips level. Avoid staying in one position for long periods. Take breaks and do stretches if your work requires long sitting hours.
- When lifting objects ensure that you do not strain your muscles to lift. Also, ensure that your back is always straight when lifting. In some cases, it is better to get a lifting partner than to put pressure on your back.
- Check that your mattress is back-friendly. If it is too soft or hard, change it.
- Keep tabs on your weight as being overweight can increase your risk of back pain.
- Apply a hot compress or an ice pack on the area where you feel the pain to reduce swelling.
- Move around a few times after sitting for long, to prevent back stiffness.
- A warm salt bath can help reduce back muscles pain.
- Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or paracetamol may help.
- Stronger pain killers that cannot be gotten over the counter like steroids may be prescribed by your healthcare provider. The pain killers may also be in the form of a lotion.
- Physiotherapy and special types of back exercises help strengthen your back muscles.
- Muscle relaxants also help reduce back pain.
- Surgery to treat broken backbones.
Back pain is a common complaint at hospitals. Pay attention to your posture while sitting and standing, lift heavy objects with your legs while holding you back straight, include back-friendly exercises, and ensure that your bed is firm. Over-the-counter pain killers can help relieve back pains but if they persists, seek medical care.