What Are The Warning Signs Of A Serious Problem
Very rarely back pain or pain that travels down the leg is a sign of a serious problem.
If you have any of the following symptoms, you should seek urgent medical attention:
- difficulty controlling or passing urine
- loss of control of your bowels
- numbness around your back passage or your genitals
- serious weakness in your legs so you find standing really difficult
- severe and ongoing back pain that gets worse over several weeks.
The above symptoms could potentially be linked to a rare but serious condition that needs urgent medical attention.
Stretching The Area Of The Spasm
Common back stretches for back spasms include the tennis ball stretch, foam roller stretch, and exercise ball stretch.
How to Do Tennis Ball Stretches
How to Do the Foam Roller Stretch
How to Do Exercise Ball Stretches
Causes Of Lumbar Pain
Lower back pain most often results from
- Mechanical issues
- Deteriorating condition
- Abnormal spinal curvature
If the problem is deterioration or unusual spinal anatomy, deeper tissue injuries can arise such as herniated discs or nerve compression. These complications require professional attention. Never ignore serious symptoms such as severe pain, sudden weakness, shooting nerve pain, numbness or tingling. Do not delay seeking help for unusual symptoms.
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Exercise And Movement Can Prevent And Help Relieve Back Pain
In my experience, people who tend to move more often throughout the day tend to experience less frequent episodes of back pain and often less intense back pain, says Stephens. However, this rule may not apply to people who have more physically demanding jobs that require a lot of lifting, he notes.
Generally, most types of physical activity are somewhat protective in terms of the likelihood of developing back pain and also the prognosis. If someone is habitually physically active, that seems to have some preventive benefit, and if back pain occurs, it helps someone get through it faster, says Stephens.
What kinds of exercise are good for back pain? According to Stephens, all types are good. For a large percentage of people, that could be something as simple as walking daily, he says.
A study published in October 2017 in the Annals of Rehabilitation Medicine looked at the walking habits of 5,982 people age 50 and older, 26 percent of whom reported experiencing lower back pain. Investigators found that the people who walked the most were the least likely to experience back pain.
Whether a person will benefit from specific strengthening exercises for their back depends on the person and the back pain, says Stephens. Check with a physical therapist or your doctor before you begin any new exercise routine, he advises.
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When Is Sciatica Surgery Recommended As A Treatment
Surgery for sciatica is rarely recommended as a first treatment step. Thats because a combination of nonsurgical treatments can often be effective at healing pain. Theres no guarantee that nerve pain will go away or stay away after surgery. Surgery may provide more sciatic pain relief initially, but long-term pain relief is likely the same as nonsurgical treatments.
Surgery may make sense for you if the cause of your sciatica wont go away on its own. For example, you have a bony growth pressing down on your sciatic nerve. Doctors generally wont consider surgery unless youve had sciatic pain for at least six weeks. But back surgery may be recommended immediately if you have any of the following:
- Caudia equina syndrome an emergency situation where all the nerves in the lower back are suddenly and severely compressed, resulting in loss of motor and sensory function in the lower body
- Tumors that are pressing on the nerves in the lower back
- Sciatica in both legs
- An infection in the pelvis that cant be treated with medication
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Stretch And Strengthen Those Low Back Muscles
Your core, which includes your abdominal muscles and even your hips, helps provide strength and stability to your spine. Spend time on exercises that strengthen and stretch your ab muscles, like yoga or tai chi. If yoga or tai chi is out of your comfort zone, try a few gentle stretches throughout the day to help loosen and strengthen the muscles that support your spine.
A rolled-up towel can also help relieve tension in your back. Lay down on the floor and place the towel under your pelvis. Relax your hips over your towel. This simple movement can help loosen tight muscles in your lower back.
When Should You See A Doctor
Initially, lower back pain may be mild and go away on its own. However, if the pain becomes severe or does not go away, you need to see a doctor.
At first, you can try treating back pain using home remedies or over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen. If you dont address the symptoms, back pain can affect your normal daily activities. If you experience back pain for more than two weeks, it could be a sign that you need to see a doctor.
Signs that you need to see a doctor include:
Pain in the back after trauma
When back pain is associated with fever
Loss of control over your bladder and bowel
Loss of strength and sensation in your arms and legs
Night back pains
Pains associated with certain medical conditions, e.g., osteoporosis
You may want to see your primary care doctor for diagnosis and treatment. They might refer you to a specialist if your diagnosis is unclear or further treatment is required.
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Alleviating Back Pain At Home Can Be Easy
Relieving mild back pain at home can be very simple. All it takes is a little discipline to improve your posture as well as to participate in regular exercise and intentional resting periods. We only have one spine, and millions of reasons to take care of it.
Always consult your doctor if you want to try any new methods of relieving back pain or any other health concerns or if your discomfort doesnt go away or increases when you try any of those methods.
Infographic: 10 Yoga Poses For Back Pain
There are several natural remedies that you can use to help you with backache. In addition to trying them, you can also practice yoga daily to alleviate back pain more effectively by strengthening your body and enhancing your physical awareness. Yoga can also help you deal with the stress that accompanies chronic pain as it is a holistic mind-body therapeutic approach , .
Check this infographic to know the most appropriate yoga poses for back pain relief.
Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team
An injury to the muscles, discs, or ligaments of the back may lead to back pain. Lifting heavy weights with improper technique, bad sleeping positions, poor posture, arthritis, and pregnancy are a few of the most common causes of backache. Using an extra pillow for support during sleep may help alleviate or prevent backache related to sleep positions. There are also some home remedies that you may apply to get rid of back pain. Oil massage, aromatherapy with essential oils like lavender or peppermint, incorporating pineapples in the diet, and an epsom salt bath are a few of the most effective ways to deal with an aching back.
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Back Pain Treatment At Home
1. Apply Ice or Heat
It is best to apply ice within 24 to 48 hours past injury as this will reduce inflammation. Warmth can feel good by covering up pain and relaxing muscles, but this actually makes the inflammatory process worse within the first two days after injury. Instead, use ice for the first two days and choose whichever you prefer after that. Never leave ice or heat on the injured area for more than 20 minutes at a time.
Stretching both strengthens muscles that need assistance and loosens up tense ones. Keep in mind that certain stretches may reduce your back pain and others may increase it, depending on the location of the pain. Because of this, stop a stretch that leads to pain and never force a stretch. Your doctor can offer suggestions for which stretches are ideal in your situation.
3. Correct Your Posture
Sitting down over a long time can hurt your back more than you may realize. By sitting properly, however, you can reduce the negative effects. When sitting, all the bones of the spine should be lined neatly stacked on top of each other. Your keyboard should be within easy reach, with your feet on the floor flat.
4. Change How You Sleep
5. Get a Massage
This will ease tense or sore muscles. If you cant afford to get a professional massage, ask your friend or partner to give you a gentle massage.
6. Apply Rubs and Ointments
7. Take a Bath with Epsom Salt
8. Lose Excess Weight
9. Try Low-Impact Exercises
10. Use Over-the-Counter Medicines
Stretch #3 Lumbar Rotation
This is the first stretch in the series that is progressive assuming the previous movements were tolerable.
Laying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat, put your knees and feet together as if you had a mermaid tail. Next, take a deep breath in a and as you exhale slowly drop your knees to the side, inhale bringing the legs back up to the starting position and exhale again as you drop them to the other side.
You do not need to have your knees touch the floor, work within your own pain-free range of motion.
Working this movement side to side creates a rotational motion in the lumbar spine and can help reduce tension if you are trying to fix lower back pain at home. This is a great exercise because it is an unassisted stretch that targets the low back which can be a difficult area to alleviate pain on your own.
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Acupuncture For Back Aches
Acupuncture is a traditional eastern medicine practice shown to reduce back pain for most people who try it. During this therapy, a trained acupuncturist inserts extremely thin needles at strategic points and varying depths throughout your body. This stimulates your central nervous system, jump-starting your bodys natural healing ability. Acupuncture may help reduce inflammation that causes chronic back pain.
Avoid Prolonged Static Posture
It is important to pay attention to the joints and muscles of your spine and hip. Prevent fatigue and stresses on these joints by following simple tips, such as:
- Avoid excessive sitting or consider using a standing desk while you work. When you sit for a long duration, the pressure on your spinal discs increase. Aim to get up every hour and walk a short distance to take the load off your discs.
When you have a flare-up of symptoms, consider less exertive activities, such as reading a book, listening to music, or crafting. These activities can help divert your mind from the pain and let your back rest at the same time.
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What Are Symptoms Of A Back Spasm
In addition to an involuntary tightness and pain in the muscles of the back, symptoms of back spasms may include:
- Spasms may occur at rest or during activity
- Pain intensity may range from sharp to dull
- Pain may radiate from the back to other parts of the body such as the hips or legs
- Stiffness in the low back area
- Stiffness that limits range of motion
- Inability to maintain normal posture due to stiffness and/or pain
- Pain persists for a maximum of 10-14 days
Tip : Physical Therapy
Physical therapy is one of the best first steps you can take to minimize back pain! Whether itÃ¢s chronic back pain or something much less severe, seeing a physical therapist can still be a great way to manage your pain.
Physical therapists can offer rehabilitative plans, exercise plans, and treatment plans to help return you to optimal health.
Its estimated that up to 80 percent of adults experience persistent symptoms of lower back pain at some point in their lives, and about 31 million Americans struggle with the condition at any given time. Given its extremely high prevalence rate whether due to a weak psoas muscle, sciatic nerve pain or some other cause its not surprising that lower back pain is considered the single leading cause of disability worldwide according to the American Chiropractic Association, with half of all American workers reporting having occasional back troubles each year. Naturally, this leads to millions searching for lower back pain relief.
Lower back pain can be mild to very severe depending on its underlying causes, how long its been left untreated and the state of someones overall health. The University of Maryland Medical Center states that several important risk factors for lower back problems include family history of back pain, smoking or using tobacco, being overweight or obese, being female, being anxious or depressed, and either doing too much physical work or living a sedentary lifestyle.
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Maintaining A Healthy Weight Can Help Reduce Back Pain
If youre at a healthy weight, your muscles dont have to work as hard to support you against gravity. The muscles wont fatigue as quickly, and that would be helpful with pain, says Stephens. Theres also less pressure on your back and other joints, he adds.
A meta-analysis of 33 studies published in the American Journal of Epidemiology examined the association between overweight and obesity and low back pain, and found that both conditions increased the risk for low back pain.
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When You Should See A Doctor For Back Pain
There are 2 major red flags that should send you to a medical professional. The first is if an accident caused your back pain. Any back pain thats a result of trauma like a fall or car accident should get checked immediately, says Kevin Baidoo, MD. Hes a physiatrist at Northwestern Regional Medical Group in Winfield, Illinois.
The second is if your back pain is severe or comes with other complications, says Mara Vucich, DO. Shes a physiatrist at the Maryland Spine Center at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore who treats individuals with a variety of spine conditions. If youre having severe back pain, numbness and tingling, weakness, or bladder and bowel incontinence, call the doctor right away, she says. This could indicate a problem in the spine that needs urgent attention.
That said, a lot of back pain gets better on its own over days and weeks, says Dr. Vucich. If you dont have any of these severe symptoms and your back pain sprung up after a day of shoveling or a pickup softball game instead of a fall, a do-it-yourself remedy may be for you.
Your body has a natural healing process, Dr. Vucich says. And there are many things you can do to help ease the pain.
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Other Conditions Causing Lower Back Pain
There are many causes of back pain. Overuse injuries are a very common source of lower back pain and stiffness. However this usually goes away after a few days. Others causes of chronic pain include:
- Spondylolisthesis. Normal wear and tear makes it hard for your joints and ligaments to keep your spine in the proper position, especially as we age. When a vertebrae moves more than it should, it can slide forward and on top of another. When this happens, bones can press on the spinal nerves and cause lower back pain.
- Vertebral fractures caused by osteoporosis
- Spinal stenosis. A narrowing of the spine space around the spinal cord can put pressure on nerves. The narrowing is typically caused by bone spurs that have developed as a result of osteoarthritis.
- Scoliosis. An abnormal curvature of the spine can cause back pain.
Less commonly, low back pain can be a sign of a serious medical condition, such as diabetes or a pinched nerve. In the case of a pinched nerve, the pain may be accompanied by symptoms like fever, chills, night sweats, or loss of bladder control.
Bonus Tip: Consider Taking A Vitamin D3 Supplement
If your doctor agrees, consider taking a vitamin D3 supplement. Vitamin D is essential for bone, neuromuscular, and immune system function. Taking a vitamin D3 supplement can help reduce back pain by increasing the absorption of calcium in your body and improving bone strength.15
See Calcium and Vitamin D Requirements
Finding the perfect pain relief technique is usually a process of trial and error, making it worth exploring various approaches. Try these natural pain-relieving strategies for your back pain and see what works best for you. Severe pain that is not relieved by self-care must be evaluated by a health professional for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
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