Other Causes Of Back Pain
There are many other potential causes of back pain, but most are rare. Be sure to see a doctor if you experience regular back pain that does not go away.
After ruling out the more common causes of back pain, your doctor will perform tests to determine if you have a rarer cause. These can :
- one of the vertebrae moving out of place and onto a nearby vertebra, called degenerative spondylolisthesis
- loss of nerve function at the lower spinal cord, called cauda equina syndrome
- fungal or bacterial infection of the spine, such as Staphylococcus, E. coli, or tuberculosis
Back pain can have many symptoms, including:
- a dull, aching sensation in the lower back
- a stabbing or shooting pain that can radiate down the leg to the foot
- an inability to stand up straight without pain
- a decreased range of motion and reduced ability to flex the back
The symptoms of back pain, if due to strain or misuse, are usually short lived but can last for days or weeks.
Back pain is chronic when symptoms have been present for 3 months.
Exercise For Arthritis In The Neck
If youre experiencing neck pain due to arthritis, your doctor may recommend physical therapy. Physical therapy for neck arthritis entails doing specific exercises to help strengthen and stretch weak or strained muscles. Physical therapy can improve range of motion. Sessions and programs vary in length and frequency and are tailored to your condition.
The foundation of what were trying to do in physical therapy for the neck is often to help improve posture and the way people move, says Dr. Milani. Exercises in physical therapy tend to be focused on strengthening muscles of the back and neck, which puts less strain on structures of the cervical spine.
Youll do exercises during physical therapy and get instructions on ones to do at home.
Regular Physical Activity at Home
You may feel like you dont want to move when your neck hurts. But being inactive may increase stiffness, which can cause you to lose even more mobility. Aches and pains tend to respond better to continued movement than rest, says Dr. Milani. Exercise is often the foundation of treatment.
Exercises that involve stretching, strengthening, and improving range of motion can help reduce pain and keep your neck limber. You want to move gently and smoothly when doing neck exercises, not jerk your neck or make sudden movements. You may feel discomfort at first. Stop if any exercise increases your neck pain.
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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.
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Exercises For Arthritis In The Lower Back To Relieve Pain
People with lower back arthritis often find relief with exercises that stretch and strengthen the muscles around the joints, such as side stretches and knee rolls. These exercises may help reduce pain, improve range of motion, and increase back stability.
Arthritis in the lower back can cause significant pain and discomfort. A person may have pain in the spine and buttocks, making physical activity more difficult.
However, safe and appropriate exercises can also be part of arthritis treatment, helping to relieve symptoms. It can also reduce the risk of other health conditions.
This article explores exercises for arthritis in the lower back.
There is no single type of exercise that will benefit everyone with lower back arthritis. The best type of exercise for a person depends on their:
highlights a few forms of exercise that may be especially suitable for people with arthritis, including:
- low impact aerobic exercise
- water-based exercise, such as swimming
- muscle-strengthening exercises
- balance training
For best results, a person can combine aerobic and strengthening exercises with active range-of-motion and stretching exercises.
avoid high intensity exercise . It is also advisable to avoid activities that strain or jar the back, such as long-distance running or downhill skiing.
People who enjoy these activities may be able to adapt to them. For example, using a cross-trainer for running or skiing cross-country may take some strain off the joints.
What Are The Treatments For Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain usually gets better with rest, ice and over-the-counter pain relievers. After a few days of rest, you can start to get back to your normal activities. Staying active increases blood flow to the area and helps you heal.
Other treatments for lower back pain depend on the cause. They include:
- Medications: Your provider may recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or prescription drugs to relieve pain. Other medications relax muscles and prevent back spasms.
- Physical therapy : PT can strengthen muscles so they can support your spine. PT also improves flexibility and helps you avoid another injury.
- Hands-on manipulation: Several hands-on treatments can relax tight muscles, reduce pain and improve posture and alignment. Depending on the cause of pain, you may need osteopathic manipulation or chiropractic adjustments. Massage therapy can also help with back pain relief and restore function.
- Injections: Your provider uses a needle to inject medication into the area thats causing pain. Steroid injections relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
- Surgery: Some injuries and conditions need surgical repair. There are several types of surgery for low back pain, including many minimally invasive techniques.
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Symptoms Of Lower Back Pain
Sometimes a pain may develop immediately after you lift something heavy, or after an awkward twisting movement. Sometimes it can develop for no apparent reason. Some people just wake up one day with low back pain.
Although nonspecific back pain is sometimes called simple back pain, simple does not mean that the pain is mild. The severity of the pain can range from mild to severe. Typically, the pain is in one area of the lower back but sometimes it spreads to one or both buttocks or thighs. The pain is usually eased by lying down flat. It is often made worse if you move your back, cough, or sneeze. So, nonspecific low back pain is mechanical in the sense that it varies with posture or activity.
Most people with a bout of nonspecific low back pain improve quickly, usually within a week or so, sometimes a bit longer. However, once the pain has eased or gone it is common to have further bouts of pain from time to time in the future. Also, it is common to have minor pains on and off for quite some time after an initial bad bout of pain. In a small number of cases the pain persists for several months or longer. This is called chronic back pain .
Best Treatments For Lower Back Pain At Disc
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What Is Arthritis Back Pain
Arthritis is caused by inflammation of the joints and it affects every single joint in the human body. Once diagnosed with arthritis, a person can only slow down the effect and reduce the symptoms. This situation cant be cured.
Almost 28% of the US adults are affected by this condition. Arthritis causes immobilization and reduces flexibility.
Depending upon the body part affected, there are over 100 different types of arthritis. Some of the most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis, reactive arthritis, Polymyalgia rheumatic, fibromyalgia, Enteropathic arthritis, Cervical spondylosis that affect various parts of the body.
One of the common arthritis is spinal arthritis that specifically affects the spine. One of the common symptoms is an intense back pain.
*All individuals are unique. Your results can and will vary.
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Dont Sit For Long Periods Of Time
Our bodies are not designed for sitting for long periods of time. Sitting is not only linked to many health problems, but it also wreaks havoc on your lower back.
While many people must sit because of desk jobs, there are steps you can take to limit the damage done to your lower back, and the best position to sit with a herniated disc, including:
- Get up and stretch or walk every 30-60 minutes. Set a timer if you must!
- Use a standing desk
- Use a yoga ball or kneeling chair instead of a regular office chair
- Walk on your breaks, rather than sit in the cafeteria
- Walk, pace, or just stand up when making phone calls or talking with coworkers
You might not be able to avoid sitting at your job, but you dont have to ruin your back in exchange!
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Surgery For Lower Back Pain
Because the vast majority of patients recover from their low back pain with little help from a doctor, the rationale behind choosing surgery must be convincing. Eighty percent of patients with sciatica recover eventually without surgery.
Severe progressive nerve problems, bowel or bladder dysfunction and the cauda equina syndrome make up the most clear-cut indications for back surgery. Back surgery will also be considered if the patients signs and symptoms correlate well with studies such as MRI or electromyogram .
In the most serious cases, when the condition does not respond to other therapies, surgery may well be necessary to relieve pain caused by back problems. Some common procedures include:
- , such as a or removal of a portion of a
- a bone graft that promotes the vertebrae to fuse together
- removal of the lamina to create more space and reduce irritation and inflammation
Maintain Correct Posture During Activities
To protect your lower back from injury, its important to maintain proper posture when performing physical activitiesespecially if you play sports or have a job that requires repetitive motions. Avoid slouching as much as possible and aim to keep your spine erect. When lifting, bend and straighten from the knees, not the waist. And be sure to move your hips when twisting from side to side.
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Specialized Physical Therapy For Back Pain
Physical therapy is a type of treatment that uses targeted exercises to improve your strength and flexibility. By strengthening the muscles that support your back, you can take pressure off your spine and reduce back pain. Physical therapy can help you ease and manage pain so you can do everyday activities. And physical therapists are experienced in helping treat both acute and chronic back pain. Theyll guide you through exercises designed to manage your specific symptoms.
Physical therapy is often the best treatment option for back pain. Improving your muscle strength and learning how to perform daily activities without straining your back can resolve your chronic pain. It typically takes about six weeks to complete a back pain physical therapy program, though many people start feeling pain relief after their first visit.
Rub On Medicated Creams
Skin creams, salves, ointments, or patches may help when your back feels stiff, sore, and tense. Many of these products contain ingredients such as menthol, camphor, or lidocaine that can cool, heat, or numb the affected area.
Put on creams right where you hurt. Ask someone to apply it if you have trouble reaching the spot.
âIt’s not going to be a mainstay at providing significant relief, but it can calm things down,â Ray says.
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How To Sit On A Chair
To sit on a chair safely:
To help your back and make sitting more comfortable:
- Try to get up and change position regularly
- Try to sit right back in the chair
- Put a rolled up towel in the small curve at the bottom of your spine
Ask About Prescription Medications
If your back pain hasnt resolved itself within four to six weeks, make an appointment with your doctor, who will examine your back and ask you to sit, stand, bend, walk, and lift your legs to see how your pain is affecting your mobility. Youll likely be asked to rate your pain on a scale of one to 10, and they may do imaging tests, like an X-ray or MRI. Then, he or she may recommend one of the following prescribed therapies:
- Muscle relaxants: Medications like cyclobenzaprine or baclofen can help relieve painful back spasms. If you go this route, just know that side effects can include fatigue and dizziness.
- Topical pain medications: These creams and ointments, like Voltaren gel, are meant to be rubbed directly on to the area thats hurting you.
- Cortisone shots: If other treatment measures fail, your doctor may recommend an injection of cortisone, a potent anti-inflammatory. There are risks, including thinning of nearby bone, and relief typically lasts just a few months, tops.
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Should Younger People Be Concerned
Yes. Dr Kumar shares that one of the leading causes of absenteeism from work and reduced work output among the youth is lower back pain. And this is a problem that would only crop up in old age until a few years ago.
Dr Pramod Bhor, HOD of Orthopedic Surgery, Fortis Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi, says that with gadgets and screens becoming smaller, a lot of people bend while working, which makes them prone to lower back pain.
He adds, After COVID-19, everything is online, so adults work from home, children study on their laptops, and then play on these gadgets. Everyone sits on the bed all day to work and theres no proper support to the backs.
At least schools have proper height-adjusted tables and chairs, but apart from them, so many children dont even step out to play, so back problems creep up on them, he says.
Low Back Pain Diagnosis
Getting diagnosed with a specific cause of low back pain is the first step to getting treatment. If you land in your doctors office hoping for back pain relief, theyll use a variety of diagnostic tools and methods, such as:
A thorough medical history including any recent injuries, other diagnoses, family history of disease, and your job, activities and other lifestyle considerations
Physical exams, which may include manipulating the painful area or reflex or other neurological tests
Electromyography, which measures muscle and nerve function
ImagingX-rays can show bone spurs and damage to bone, while CT scans and MRIs can depict damage to soft tissue like discs or ligaments
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When Is It Safe To Start Exercises
It is important to speak with a doctor about when it is safe to start exercising, particularly if a person has not exercised in a while or has severe arthritis. Certain types of exercises may not be appropriate.
A doctor can refer a person to a physical therapist who can create a safe exercise plan. If a person is new to exercise, experts usually recommend that they start slowly and gradually increase the intensity of their workouts. It is also important to warm up before exercise and cool down afterward.
Here are some exercises that may help maintain strength and flexibility in the back. If any of these exercises cause pain, stop and consult a doctor or physical therapist about whether it is safe.
Where Can I Get More Information
For more information on neurological disorders or research programs funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, contact the Institute’s Brain Resources and Information Network at:
Office of Communications and Public LiaisonNational Institute of Neurological Disorders and StrokeNational Institutes of HealthBethesda, MD 20892
NINDS health-related material is provided for information purposes only and does not necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke or any other Federal agency. Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patient’s medical history.
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