Question: Back Hurts When Looking Down
Upper back pain is usually caused by soft tissue injuries, such as sprains or strains, or muscle tension caused by poor posture or looking downward for long periods. Poor posture and text neck can combine to wreck your upper back. Common behaviors and activities that can cause upper back pain include: Poor posture.
How Do You Know If Back Pain Is Muscle Or Disc
While pain in your mid-back may be related to a disc, its more likely caused by muscle strain or other issues. Your symptoms feel worse when you bend or straighten up from a bent position. Movement can increase pressure on the herniated disc and the surrounding nerves, causing symptoms to increase.
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Get Relief For Your Back Pain
Of course, the only real way to know whats causing your back pain is to have a medical evaluation of your back and your symptoms. At Premier Spine Institute, Dr. Bonaventure Ngu uses advanced diagnostics to determine the specific cause of back pain so every patient can feel confident theyll receive the most appropriate care for optimal relief. To find out whats causing your back pain and how to relieve it, visit our contact page and call our Baytown, Humble, or Woodlands office today.
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Simple Exercises That Help
A deep tissue massage can sometimes help combat the problem. But three exercises will often help you conquer the pain and discomfort:
1. Side-lying leg lifts
Repeat 15 to 20 times, in sets of three, every day:
- Lie down on your right side.
- Lift your left leg with your big toe pointing toward the floor, and lift.
- Repeat on your left side, lifting your right leg. Once you are comfortable doing this exercise regularly, you can work with a band or an ankle weight for extra resistance.
Repeat 30 to 40 times, in sets of three, every day:
- Lie down on your right side with both knees bent.
- Keeping your feet touching, lift your bent left leg toward the ceiling.
- Repeat on your left side, lifting your bent right leg toward the ceiling.
3. Seahorse pose
This yoga pose, done while sitting on an armless chair, helps stretch your tight hip flexors. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds on each side, three times a day.
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What Are The Signs Of A Back Injury
Signs you may have injured your back include:
- pain or tenderness
- pain that worsens with movement, coughing, sneezing or laughing
- stiffness or difficulty moving
- pain that radiates down one or both legs
It is important to find out the cause of your symptoms so they can be treated properly.
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What Can Cause Lower Back Pain
Most acute low back pain is mechanical in nature, meaning that there is a disruption in the way the components of the back fit together and move. Some examples of mechanical causes of low back pain include:
- Skeletal irregularities such as scoliosis , lordosis , kyphosis , and other congenital anomalies of the spine.
- Spina bifida which involves the incomplete development of the spinal cord and/or its protective covering and can cause problems involving malformation of vertebrae and abnormal sensations and even paralysis.
- Sprains , strains , and spasms
- Traumatic Injury such as from playing sports, car accidents, or a fall that can injure tendons, ligaments, or muscle causing the pain, as well as compress the spine and cause discs to rupture or herniate.
- Intervertebral disc degeneration which occurs when the usually rubbery discs wear down as a normal process of aging and lose their cushioning ability.
- Spondylosis the general degeneration of the spine associated with normal wear and tear that occurs in the joints, discs, and bones of the spine as people get older.
- Arthritis or other inflammatory disease in the spine, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis as well as spondylitis, an inflammation of the vertebrae.
Nerve and spinal cord problems
What Are The Risks
Long bed rest can lead to slower recovery.Staying in bed for any prolonged period can make you stiff and increase pain. When you dont move and bend, you lose muscle strength and flexibility. With bed rest, you lose about 1 percent of your muscle strength each day. And you can lose 20 to 30 percent in a week. It becomes more difficult to return to any activity. As you become weaker and stiffer your recovery takes longer.
Who needs bed rest?Almost no one! The only people who might require time in bed are those with unstable spinal fractures awaiting surgery.
What can I do for the pain?Hot or cold packs often help. Some people can get pain relief from non-prescription analgesics or anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen . But no medication should be taken for an extended period of time.
When should I see a health care provider?You should see your health care provider right away if:
- You have severe continuous back pain that lasts longer than 48 hours.
- You have severe continuous back pain and fever.
- You have back pain with accompanying pain, numbness or weakness in one or both legs or feet. Your leg symptoms are more disabling than your back symptoms.
- You have back pain and the onset of numbness in your private/genital region or changes in your ability to control your bladder and bowel function.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Lower Back Pain
Symptoms of lower back pain can come on suddenly or appear gradually. Sometimes, pain occurs after a specific event, such as bending to pick something up. Other times, you may not know what caused the pain.
Pain may be sharp or dull and achy, and it may radiate to your bottom or down the back of your legs . If you strain your back during an activity, you may hear a pop when it happened. Pain is often worse in certain positions and gets better when you lie down.
Other symptoms of lower back pain include:
- Stiffness: It may be tough to move or straighten your back. Getting up from a seated position may take a while, and you might feel like you need to walk or stretch to loosen up. You may notice decreased range of motion.
- Posture problems: Many people with back pain find it hard to stand up straight. You may stand crooked or bent, with your torso off to the side rather than aligned with your spine. Your lower back may look flat instead of curved.
- Muscle spasms: After a strain, muscles in the lower back can spasm or contract uncontrollably. Muscle spasms can cause extreme pain and make it difficult or impossible to stand, walk or move.
Why You Have Lower Back Pain When Sitting Down Or Bending
Lower back pain when sitting and bending over can have a major impact on a persons way of life. It can prevent most of us from performing certain tasks, such as cleaning, sitting, working and enjoying simple hobbies. Back pain is one of the most common types of pain people experience, and it is the third most common reason for doctors visits with up to 80% of adults experiencing back pain at some point in their lives.
Of that 80%, only about 25%-30% seek medical attention. Others justify the pain as everyday aches and pains. Most of the time, lower back pain is just that a result of everyday activities and choices. The problem is knowing when the pain should be treated medically.
For those contemplating whether to seek medical assistance, lets first break down why you have lower back pain when sitting and bending.
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Could A Health Condition I Have Be To Blame
Lower back pain can also be caused by other things that are going on in your body.
Pregnancy: All that weight out front can put a real strain on your back.
Tumors: They usually donât start in the back, but are part of the spread of a cancer in the spine that started somewhere else in your body.
Infections: Osteomyelitis, discitis, and septic sacroiliitis are uncommon infections that affect the bones, discs, and joints of the spine. Any one of these can cause pain in your lower back. Kidney infections can also cause your back to feel the brunt.
Other issues: Low back pain can also happen because of things like:
- Endometriosis, a buildup of uterine tissue outside the uterus
- Fibromyalgia, a condition that causes widespread muscle pain
Dr K Daniel Riew On Technology
You see it everywhere. In homes and offices, while walking down the street, riding the bus, or standing in line. Tech neck, the act of stressing muscles while using phones, tablets, and computers, resulting in neck and shoulder pain, stiffness, and soreness, is a problem thats getting worse.
Last year, Americans spent a daily average of 5 hours and 53 minutes with digital media, including 3 hours, 17 minutes a day on non-voice activities on mobile devices a jump of more than an hour since 2013, according to eMarketer.
The result? Headaches, neck spasms, and creaky shoulder joints, caused by holding ones neck still for long periods, says K. Daniel Riew, M.D., director of cervical spine surgery and co-director of spine surgery in the department of orthopedic surgery at the NewYork-Presbyterian Och Spine Hospital. Here, Dr. Riew breaks down the causes and symptoms of tech neck and offers ways to correctly and safely align the body while using mobile phones, computers, and other digital media devices.
Health Matters: What causes tech neck?Dr. Riew: When youre working on a computer or looking down at your phone, the muscles in the back of the neck have to contract to hold your head up. The more you look down, the more the muscles have to work to keep your head up. These muscles can get overly tired and sore from looking down at our smartphones, working on computers, or looking down at our tablets all day. Thats what we call tech neck.
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Preventing Pain And Injury
Posture. Using correct posture and keeping your spine in alignment are the most important things you can do for your neck and back . The lower back bears most of your weight, so proper alignment of this section can prevent injury to your vertebrae, discs, and other portions of the spine. If you have back or neck pain, you may need to make adjustments to your daily standing, sitting, and sleeping habits and learn proper ways to lift and bend. Your workspace may need to be rearranged to keep your spine from slouching. Because extra pounds can make back pain worse, you should maintain a weight that is appropriate for your height and body frame.
Exercise. Regular exercise is important to prevent back pain and injury. A program of strengthening, stretching and aerobic exercises will improve your overall fitness level. Research has shown that people who are physically fit are more resistant to back injuries and pain, and recover quicker when they do have injuries, than those who are less physically fit .
Why Does My Lower Back Hurt When I Bend Over
If your back hurts every time you bend over, life can get difficult. Bending over to tie your shoes or tidy up your bedroom become arduous tasks that can leave you in pain for the rest of the day.
There are a number of things that can cause you back pain when bending over. Below, well discuss those reasons and point you toward some resources that may help you to overcome your pain.
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Severe Lower Back Pain When Sitting Or Bending
Lower back pain may occur while sitting or standing for a prolonged period of time. Pain may also occur when there is active spinal movement, such as attempting to stand up and/or bend down.
While in most cases the underlying cause of the pain can be identified, sometimes back pain may be non-specific with no identifiable cause.1
Here are a few possible causes for severe low back pain in such situations.
Treating Chronic Back Pain
Experts recommend starting with non-invasive treatments for chronic back pain such as heat and ice, stretching/exercising, massage, and dry needling. Electrical stimulation may be helpful in relieving pain. While there are several medications available to relieve back pain, the American College of Physicians recommends starting with non-invasive and non-drug therapies. Medications may have side-effects or risks of addition, especially prescribed opioids. If chronic pain persists, spinal injections may help relax muscles and treat pain. Steroidal injections can treat pain for inflammation-associated sciatica, but steroids are not advised for long-term use.
If chronic, severe pain does not respond to non-invasive treatments, your doctor may recommend surgery as a last-resort option. Surgery is not always successful and can have a long recovery period. During surgery, doctors can repair or replace damaged intervertebral discs, re-align or fuse vertebrae, or implant nerve stimulators that disrupt pain signals with electrical stimulation. Physical therapy can help the recovery process after surgery.
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Why Does My Mid Back Hurt Common Causes
First of all, we need to understand the two kinds of tight muscles: those that are locked short and those that are locked long.
Muscles that are locked short are just that muscles that have contracted and wont let go. Locked long muscles, on the other hand, are being stretched, usually by the muscles that are locked short. Theyre hanging on for dear life to keep you in some semblance of balance.
This is usually whats going on in cases of middle back pain. The muscles on the front of your shoulders and chest are super tight, pulling your shoulders and back forward and stretching the muscles along your spine.
Those muscles in your mid back and along your neck are already being pulled to the greatest length they can manage. Rubbing them wont help because theyre being stretched and literally cant let go.
When Is Not Helpful
Back pain is one of the most common reasons why people visit a health care provider. The good news is that the pain often goes away on its own, and people usually recover in a week or two. Many people want to stay in bed when their back hurts. For many years, getting bed rest was the normal advice. But current studies recommend no bed rest at all and stress that staying in bed longer than 48 hours not only wont help but it may, in fact, actually delay your recovery. Heres why:
Staying in bed wont help you get better faster.If youre in terrible pain, lying down for a day to help ease the distress may seem like a good idea, but moderating your activities and staying active in a limited way is a more effective way to control your symptoms. Research suggests that if you can find comfortable positions and keep moving, you may not need bed rest at all.Research shows that:
- Lying down longer than a day or two day isnt helpful for relieving back pain.
- People can recover more quickly without any bed rest.
- The sooner you start moving, even a little bit, or return to activities such as walking, the faster you are likely to improve.
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More Advanced Care Options
Surgery When other therapies fail, surgery may be considered to relieve pain caused by worsening nerve damage, serious musculoskeletal injuries, or nerve compression. Specific surgeries are selected for specific conditions/indications. However, surgery is not always successful. It may be months following surgery before the person is fully healed and there may be permanent loss of flexibility. Surgical options include:
Implanted nerve stimulators
- Spinal cord stimulation uses low-voltage electrical impulses from a small implanted device that is connected to a wire that runs along the spinal cord. The impulses are designed to block pain signals that are normally sent to the brain.
- Dorsal root ganglion stimulation also involves electrical signals sent along a wire connected to a small device that is implanted into the lower back. It specifically targets the nerve fibers that transmit pain signals. The impulses are designed to replace pain signals with a less painful numbing or tingling sensation.
- Peripheral nerve stimulation also uses a small implanted device and an electrode to generate and send electrical pulses that create a tingling sensation to provide pain relief.
Symptoms Of Lower Back Pain When Looking Down
This is a simple symptomatic expression wherein the patient feels a sharp, pulling pain in their lower back when the neck is flexed. Neck flexion describes looking downward so that the chin moves towards the chest. Typically, flexion is easily achieved and no stiffness exists in the neck. Pain is also usually absent in the neck region, although some patients might also experience some discomfort in the middle or upper back during flexion, as well as, or instead of, lower back pain.
The lumbar pain is often described as stabbing. It can exist directly over the spine or on one or both sides of the vertebral column. Patients often describe the feeling as if something was going to rip in their lower back due to being stretched too far. The pain is usually centered in the lower lumbar area, but can extend downwards into the upper buttocks in some patients or upwards in the thoracolumbar frontier in others.
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