Back pain is quite common. In fact, eight out of ten Americans will experience back pain at some point in the course of their lives. In this article we’ll address some of the most frequently asked questions about this common problem – back pain.
Lower back pain is extremely common and may occur for no particular reason. The general reason is that the lower back supports a great deal of upper body weight. It undergoes a great deal of stress and strain. Pain is often a result of problems with spinal disks and cartilage. As we age, the disks shrink and the cartilage wears out. This can cause bone-on-bone grinding that is quite uncomfortable. The technical term for this is degenerative disc disease.
Sometimes a disk may burst or protrude in the spinal column, and this problem can place a great deal of pressure on the nerves in the spinal cord area. When this happens pain may radiate throughout the body and a especially into the extremities. A person with this condition may feel numbness, tingling and a pins and needles sensation.
Another common problem is spinal stenosis. This narrowing of the channel in which the spinal cord is housed is the result of the development of bone spurs within the column. This is a side effect of arthritis and is naturally quite painful.
Even though back pain is so common, there are many good things you can do to prevent it. Some of them, such as standing and sitting straight and lifting with care are quite simple. Adding a little exercise to your daily routine will also help. It doesn’t have to be strenuous exercise. Simple stretching, walking, swimming and other mild to moderate exercise can work wonders in helping increase circulation and flexibility to prevent back pain.
There are also many treatments such as chiropractics and physical therapy and prescription medications that may help with back pain. After all is said and done, if no relief is found you may wish to turn to surgery. The vast majority of back specialists prefer to use non-invasive techniques including diet, exercise, physical therapy and injections or oral medications. If none of these work, surgery may be the only answer.
Surgery may consist of very lightly invasive discectomy performed with a laparoscope to remove disk fragments from the spine. Disk replacement is another option along these lines. Another commonly performed back surgery is spinal fusion. In this more invasive type of surgery pressure is relieved from the nerves and spinal cord with the use of rods and screws to connect and stabilize the vertebrae.
People who have back pain may have a hard time determining the severity of their pain. They may not realize that they need to seek professional treatment. One good rule of thumb is to be certain that you see a doctor anytime your pain is the result of an injury. If this is not possible, you should try rest, ice, compression and elevation of affected extremities as needed to address your back pain. If you suffer severe symptoms such as the inability to walk, incontinence or other symptoms that interfere with your ability to perform activities of daily living, you should definitely see a doctor right away.
When you suffer from back pain, it can have an affect on everything that you do. Luckily in this day and age, there are many effective ways to address back pain. Don’t suffer in silence! Be sure to get the help you need to make the most of your life, even with back pain.