Be Careful How You Lift
As a new parent, you will be lifting and bending frequently. Improper lifting is one of the most common reasons people experience back pain, so employing the correct methods can be really helpful in reducing discomfort.
The recommended advice is to squat down, bend your knees, and lift from the knees keeping your waist straight. Unfortunately, bending at the waist and hunching over feels much more natural, but that precise movement can exacerbate back pain.
You can practice your lifting posture by using a kettlebell to do gentle lifting exercises.
What Happens When I Visit A Back Doctor
We gather a full medical history of your back problems and perform detailed physical examinations, said Dr. Guo. That includes checking for tenderness, spine range of motion, strength, sensation, and reflexes. Depending on your symptoms, we may perform provocative tests to find out what triggers your pain. We may order imaging studies, such as X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans. We may order electromyography and a nerve conduction study, which assess whether you have muscle and/or nerve problems that may cause your symptoms. We use all the information to help identify the cause of your back pain and associated symptoms, and provide the most appropriate treatments for you.
How Are Back Spasms Evaluated And Diagnosed
After talking to you about your symptoms and getting a list of your medications, your healthcare provider may ask about your entire medical history. Be sure to mention any trauma to your back. Your provider may diagnose your back spasms based on the symptoms you describe.
Which healthcare providers evaluate and diagnose back spasms?
You can see your primary healthcare provider about your back spasms. If needed, they may send you to a specialist.
What questions might a healthcare provider ask to help diagnose back spasms?
- What does the pain feel like?
- Where is the pain located?
- Have you ever loss control of your bowel or bladder?
- How long do the spasms last?
- How often do you have back spasms?
- Any stiffness?
- Do you get any tingling or numbness in your body?
- Do you ever feel weak or uncoordinated when youre having back spasms?
- What medications are you taking?
Recommended Reading: How To Help A Bulging Disc In Lower Back
How Long Does Lower Back Pain Last
The actual source of lower back pain may not be fully realized but with time the pain will vanish and damaged or injured tissues heal through treatment. Lower back pain caused by stresses and strains, lifting of heavy objects, over exercising and bad seating or sleeping postures can be resolved within days or few weeks. However, this will be determined by the kind of treatment received or the severity of the damage. In some serious cases such as lower back pain caused due to degenerative conditions like arthritis or severe injuries caused by accidents will need specialized attention and therapy and it will take a little bit long to heal. Lower back pain can be treated easily and quickly if the cause is discovered and addressed.
Ways To Treat Chronic Back Pain Without Surgery
Back pain is considered chronic if it lasts three months or longer. It cancome and go, often bringing temporary relief, followed by frustration.Dealing with chronic back pain can be especially trying if you dont knowthe cause.
Back pain rehabilitationspecialistAndrew Nava, M.D., offers insights into common chronic back pain causes and nonsurgicaltreatment optionsand advises not to give up hope.
Also Check: Can You Get Disability For Lower Back Pain
How Long Before A Pinched Nerve Feels Better
When a pinched nerve root causes neurological deficits, such as numbness or weakness, the clinical description is called radiculopathy. Cervical radiculopathy occurs when a nerve root in the neck is pinched, causing numbness, pain, or weakness in the arm, whereas lumbar radiculopathy occurs when a nerve in the lower back is pinched and causes numbness, pain, or weakness in the leg. A pinched nerve root can also cause radicular pain with or without radiculopathy.
See Radiculopathy, Radiculitis and Radicular Pain
Most of the time, symptoms from a pinched nerve will start to feel better within 6 to 12 weeks of nonsurgical treatment. Even in cases when a pinched nerve involves debilitating radicular pain, such as a burning or shock-like pain that radiates down the arm or leg, it typically improves with time, rest, and nonsurgical treatment.
See Cervical Radiculopathy Treatment
How long pinched nerve symptoms last can depend on many factors, including how your immune system responds, what is causing the compression or inflammation, and to what degree it is compressed. A pinched nerve that is caused by a herniated disc tends to resolve if given enough time and treatment. One study found that cervical radiculopathy caused by a herniated disc usually significantly improved within 4 to 6 months.1
See Treatment Options for a Herniated Disc
When Should You Consider Epidural Steroid Injections
Whether you realize it or not, epidurals arent just used to ease pain for women about to give birth. These injections can also provide short-term pain relief for certain types of back pain.
If you are living with severe back pain, the expert providers at the International Spine Pain and Performance Center in the Washington D.C. area may be able to use epidural steroid injections to give you relief from the pain.
Here are a few factors to consider when youre deciding whether epidural steroid injections are right for you.
Recommended Reading: How To Sleep To Help Back Pain
Also Check: How To Help Lower Back Pain Stretches
What Structures Make Up The Back
The lower backwhere most back pain occursincludes the five vertebrae in the lumbar region, which supports much of the weight of the upper body. The spaces between the vertebrae are maintained by round, rubbery pads called intervertebral discs that act like shock absorbers throughout the spinal column to cushion the bones as the body moves. Bands of tissue known as ligaments hold the vertebrae in place, and tendons attach the muscles to the spinal column. Thirty-one pairs of nerves are rooted to the spinal cord and they control body movements and transmit signals from the body to the brain.
Other regions of vertebrate are cervical , thoracic , and sacral and coccygeal segments.
Seeking Help For Lower Back Pain
You may not need to seek help from a health professional for lower back pain. Most people find their lower back pain improves by itself within a few weeks. But if there’s no improvement after two to three weeks or the pain is getting worse, seek advice from a GP or physiotherapist. It’s also worth seeking help if your back pain is stopping you from doing normal activities, or if it goes on longer than six weeks.
Physiotherapists are often best placed to help with back pain. In some areas, you may be able to self-refer to a physiotherapist on the NHS, whereas in others you need a referral through your GP. You can also choose to pay for private physiotherapy.
There are some circumstances when you should always see a doctor straightaway for back pain though. These include if:
- you have numbness or tingling around your bottom or genitals
- you cant control your bladder or bowels
- youre unsteady when you walk, or your legs or feet feel weak, you have sudden, severe lower back pain
- youve been in a major accident, such as a traffic collision or fall
- you have osteoporosis
- theres a visible deformity in your back
- the pain continues when youre lying down or overnight, disturbing your sleep
- you have a history of cancer or have had a recent bacterial infection
- you also have a fever, chills or unexplained weight loss
These can be signs of more serious problems.
Don’t Miss: How To Use An Inversion Table For Lower Back Pain
About Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is pain in the area of your back from the bottom of your ribs to the top of your legs. It can come from any of the many structures that make up your back. These include bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, nerves and tendons.
Your spine supports your back. Its made up of 24 separate bones called vertebrae stacked on top of one another. The lower section of your spine is called the lumbar spine. Below the vertebrae, at the bottom of your spine, are bones called your sacrum and coccyx. You may hear lower back pain referred to as lumbosacral pain.
Discs of cartilage sit between each vertebra, acting as shock absorbers and allowing your spine to bend. Some lower back pain originates from these discs. Your spinal cord threads through the vertebrae, carrying nerve signals between your brain and the rest of your body. If nerves at the base of your spine become compressed or inflamed, it can cause sciatica. Sciatica is a type of pain that starts in your back or buttocks and spreads down your leg.
Its usually difficult for doctors to say exactly whats causing back pain. This is because there are so many different parts to your back and tissues that surround it. Even tests such as X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging scans arent helpful for most people.
When To See Your Gp
You should speak to your GP as soon as possible if you have back pain and:
- find it difficult to pass or control urine
- feel numbness or altered sensation around your back passage or genitals – such as wiping after the toilet
- have pins and needles around your back passage or genitals – such as wiping after the toilet
If your GP surgery is closed, phone 111.
Read Also: Can Intestinal Problems Cause Back Pain
Managing Low Back Pain
Manage back pain with regular exercise and professional help as requiredIf you have an attack of lower-back pain that is severe, continuous and not improving, assessment and treatment by a health care professional who focuses on the back or other musculoskeletal problems may help. These practitioners may use both active and passive techniques to help you feel better. Examples of passive techniques that may be used to get you moving include:
- Heat or ice
An active approach, like walking or water aerobics is usually the most effective. Exercise is often the best way to relieve lower-back pain.
Check with your health care provider before starting an exercise program.
Work with an expert. It may help to work with a health professional who can explain which activities are right for you.
Choose exercises you enjoy. Many activities can help relieve back pain. Try to include activities that strengthen the muscles around your trunk, your abdominal muscles as well as those in your lower back. Studies show the following activities help relieve back pain:
- Lifting light weights
Benefits Of Acupuncture For Back Pain
Acupuncture has stood the test of time due in part to its effectiveness at alleviating pain, particularly in the muscles and joints throughout the body. Practitioners of the acupuncture method cite the following points as the major benefits of acupuncture specifically as it relates to alleviating back pain:
- Stimulation of the Central Nervous System Inserting the special acupuncture needles into trigger points is believed to release chemicals found in the spinal cord, muscles, and brain. These chemicals are identified to relieve pain.
- Pain-Relief Chemicals Are Produced in the Body Similarly, acupuncture fosters the bodys natural ability to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Activation or Release of Neurotransmitters Neurotransmitters send signals to the brain to shut down the pain response caused by problems with the back. Acupuncture activates or releases several types of neurotransmitters.
- Electromagnetic Impulses Flow Through the Body In acupuncture theory, it is believed that electromagnetic impulses speed up the natural processes of healing and recovery, thereby eliminating back pain.
Donât Miss: How To Lose Lower Back And Hip Fat
Read Also: What Can I Do To Relieve Back Pain
Techniques For Good Posture:
- Sit in a firm chair with armrests to relieve pressure in your back and shoulders.
- Keep your upper back straight and shoulders relaxed. Keep stomach muscles pulled in, and maintain the proper curve in your lower back. You can do this by tightening your stomach and buttocks. Some people are more comfortable sitting with the back of the chair at a 15- to 20-degree angle. A small cushion behind the lower back to maintain the natural curve of the back also can be quite helpful.
- Keep your knees slightly higher than your hips.
- Use a footstool or book under your feet if necessary.
- Keep your feet flat on the floor or other surface.
- Don’t sit for a long period of time. Stand up every now and then to stretch tight muscles and give them a chance to relax.
- Stand with weight equal on both feet.
- Avoid locking your knees.
- Ease tension in your back by placing one foot on a footstool.
- If you stand for long periods of time, wear flat or low-heeled shoes.
- Keep your back straight by tightening your stomach muscles and buttocks.
- When sleeping,
Lie on your side with your knees bent.
- If more comfortable, place a pillow between your knees while sleeping on your side.
- If you sleep on your back, ask your doctor or physical therapist if placing pillows under your knees would help your lower back pain or make it worse.
- Use a firm mattress.
What If I Dont Want Surgery For My Back Pain
Fortunately, most people with back pain dont need surgery. We usually take a conservative approach first, using a wide variety of nonsurgical spine treatments, said Dr. Guo. For example, I might send you to physical therapy or chiropractic therapy. I might recommend medications such as anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, or some nerve-pain medications. We offer injection therapy, including epidural injections, joint injections, and nerve blocks and ablation if your back pain fails to improve with the conservative treatments. Chances are, one of these approaches will help reduce your back pain and improve your function and quality of life.
You May Like: What To Do For A Pinched Nerve In Lower Back
The Tricky One: Cancer As A Cause Of Low Back Pain And The Necessity Of Testing Just In Case When The Symptoms Justify It
Sorry I have to use the C word I know its kind of a bummer. But C happens.
A few cancers in their early stages can be hard to tell apart from ordinary back pain a bone cancer in the vertebrae, for instance and these create a frustrating diagnostic problem. They are too rare for doctors to inflict cancer testing on every low back pain patient just in case. And yet the possibility cannot be dismissed, either! This is an unsolveable problem.
Most cancers and ominous problems will inevitably start to cause other, distinctive, ominous symptoms, and it wont be long before someone catches on that theres more going on than just back pain. So it truly is an extraordinary circumstance for back pain to be ominous without causing other symptoms that raise the alarm.
For example, in 2017, the New England Journal of Medicine reported on a creepy case of slowly growing neurological deficit caused by a very stealthy cancer, which took a lot of diagnostic effort to solve.shudder So sneaky cancers happen but they are crazy rare.
This is an unholy combination of factors: the exact same symptoms can have either an extremely rare but serious cause, or an extremely common but harmless cause that can be greatly aggravated by excessive alarm!
I told you I was sick!
one of the all-time great epitaphs
Why Back Pain Requires A Team Approach To Care
Whether back pain requires surgery or is manageable with conservative treatment, its important to see a spine specialist for diagnosis and care. The doctors at our Spine Center work as a team with experts in nerve, muscle, and bone conditions, as well as nurses and physical therapists who work closely with patients to manage symptoms and reduce the risk of recurrence.
Each week, our multidisciplinary team meets to discuss challenging cases and educate each other on the latest research and techniques. Together, we see a range of patients with complex medical needs. For example, if a patient with a spinal infection is taking a medication that suppresses the immune system, such as immunotherapy for cancer, we work together to find an effective treatment that is safe for their unique needs.
Some medications or medical conditions put patients at greater risk for low bone density, fractured vertebrae, or back pain. In these cases, we get referrals from and collaborate with oncologists, hematologists, rheumatologists, mineral metabolism doctors, and primary care doctors to reduce patients risks and manage their symptoms.
If you are worried about back pain, come see us for reassurance. The earlier you are diagnosed, the better your outcomes can be.
If you or a loved one might benefit from a back pain consultation, call or request an appointment online.
You May Like: What Causes Lower Back Pain On Your Left Side
How Acupuncture Helps Chronic Pain
Pain is one of the most common reasons people see health care providers and it has been estimated that up to 80% of the worlds population will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives, with the lower back as the most common location of pain. Episodes of low back pain can last less than two weeks, research has shown that recurrence rates for low back pain can reach as high as 50% in the first few months following an initial episode.
Q: Can Acupuncture significantly decrease back pain?
A: Absolutely.. Acupuncture works extremely well for treating any type of pain, especially back pain. Acupuncture helps with increasing circulation through the back and decreasing any inflammation while loosening up major muscles in the back. If there are any bulging, slip discs, protruding discs, back strain, spastic muscles, or tight muscles, acupuncture can help with all of these conditions.
Q: Can acupuncture make my back pain worse?
A: Generally no, acupuncture is not going to make your back pain worse. However, sometimes there are cases where if the practitioner is too aggressive or the positioning on the acupuncture table maybe uncomfortable, it can cause some pain when you get off the table. Just make sure your practitioner is not too aggressive during your first treatment.
Q: How many Treatments will I need?
Q: Where will the point or needles be inserted for low back pain?
Q: How long is the treatment for back pain with acupuncture?
Q: How does acupuncture help back pain?