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Lower back pain is a fairly common symptom most of us have. Be it because of sitting for too long, or because of all the work we end up doing standing up. But while you might choose to take over the counter pain killers to ease the pain, it is essential for you to know that lower back pain can be the harbinger of something more severe. In this post Dr Suraj Bafna, Spine Consultant at Qi Spine Clinic explains how back pain is inter linked to other problems
Symptom #1: Radiating pain in your arm and leg
Cause: Radiating pain can be a result of poor posture or sedentary lifestyle causing the muscles around the spine to become weak. This leads to increase in the pressure on the spine and thereby on the discs (present in between two vertebrae) causing some pressure on the nerves leading to the radiating pain.
Treatment: Correcting the posture and performing spinal muscle strengthening exercises.
Symptom #2: Periodic flare-ups of lower back or neck pain
Cause: You could suffer from recurrent symptoms in cases where the root cause of the pain is not corrected. This pain could initially start by travelling down the limbs and would sometimes give a tingling sensation that feels like pins and needles in the limb. In some cases you could also feel that the affected limb is weaker and heavier than the unaffected one.
Treatment: Correcting your posture, avoid staying in one posture for a long time, taking frequent breaks, spinal muscle strengthening
Symptom #3: If your walking pattern has changed
Cause: This might be a symptom of one of your discs slipping out of your vertebral column. A common indicator of this is when your gait is stooped and crooked (tending to one side), which happens because your spine is unable to bear weight on one side. The severe muscle weakness caused due to increased pressure on the nerves leads to muscle weakness and a condition called foot drop, which makes you drag your feet when you walk. Another reason could be sciatica or obesity.
Treatment: If you are going through severe pain, altered sensation in the legs, motor weakness, difficulty in walking with or without back pain then you must visit your doctor.
Symptom #4: If you have headache and dizziness
Cause: As people over the globe have become increasingly dependent on electronic gadgets, back pain has become a common problem. Habits like pinning the phone between your shoulder and ear while you multitask is an instinctive move and it puts a lot of pressure on your neck. Poor posture especially when who bend your head forward to use your phone leads to the degeneration of the upper cervical spine -- both these are the most common causes for mechanical headache and dizziness. Apart from that dizziness could also be due to various other conditions like benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (disorder arising in the inner ear), low blood pressure etc.
Treatment: Visiting a physical therapist is a must if you get headaches and dizziness to find out whether it is mechanical or non-mechanical.
Symptoms #5: Upper back pain
Cause: Upper back pain can develop due to poor posture, chronic muscle tension and degenerative spine in the elderly. Poor posture is a common cause of upper back pain, particularly if you sit in front of a computer all day. Upper back pain may also develop from an unrelated condition like acid reflux or cardiac issues. This can also be due to muscular irritation (myofascial pain) or joint dysfunction.
Treatment: Taking breaks from your desk at regular intervals and stretching is important in order to address the pain.
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