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Here's why you should never ignore lower back pain

Lower back pain could indicate osteoporosis, spinal stenosis or muscle strain.

Read this article in HINDI.

Ever experienced that nagging pain in your lower back after a long day at the office, or a hard day at home? If yes, what do most us do to reduce the pain? Maybe use a hot water bag, some balm or pop some painkillers at best. But your backache could mean more, says Dr Smarajit Chakraborty, renowned orthopedic surgeon. Before you know about the causes of lower back pain, here s what you need to know.

Back pain common but often ignored

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Almost everyone experience backache at some time or the other and some have it more or less continually. However, only small proportions of sufferers complain about it and visit a doctor. Even when a doctor is finally consulted, the cause for backache is very difficult to diagnose because the severity is difficult to gauge. The patients description of the pain, facial expressions and the extent to which their day-to-day activities are affected can help assess the severity to a certain extent. Pain in the back may be caused due to a disorder in the functioning of any structure in the back - the vertebrae, intervertebral discs, the ligaments or muscles of the back. It can also occur with a variety of ailments like kidney stones, disc prolapse, heart failure or osteoarthritis. A lot of times, the cause may also be psychosomatic in nature.

Though the precise medical reasons are often unknown, backaches can be divided into the following groups based on the duration and the intensity of the pain.

  • Acute back pain: It is classified as a pain that lasts for a short duration, but the pain is intense
  • Chronic or persistent back pain: It is when the pain lasts for a longer duration, with increase or decrease in the intensity.
  • Coccydynia: If you experience pain in the tailbone (coccyx), you could be suffering from this condition known as coccydynia.
  • Back pain with sciatica: If the pain shoots down the legs along with back in the pain, it could indicate sciatica.

5 common causes of lower back pain

Understanding the cause of your back pain is the key to proper treatment as back pain is sometimes difficult to treat. Also, a better understanding of the cause helps in faster recovery and better management of the pain.

1. Muscle strains: It is one of the most common causes of lower back pain. The patients may or may not remember the initial event that triggered their muscle spasm, but most episodes of back pain from muscle strains resolve completely within a few weeks.

2. Discogenic Back Pain: When there is damage to the intervertebral discs (the discs between your vertebrae in the spine), it can cause considerable back pain. In most cases, the disc does not protrude out of the vertebrae. When it does, it is called a herniated disc and the pain can be more severe.

3. Spinal Stenosis: This is a common problem seen in older people. As you grow older, the spinal canal becomes narrower due to arthritis or other conditions and this in turn can cause backaches.

4. Lumbar Spine Arthritis:Arthritis most commonly affects joints such as the knees and fingers. However, arthritis can affect any joint in the body, including the small joints of the spine. Arthritis of the spine can cause back pain with movement.

5. Osteoporosis: It can cause a number of orthopedic problems and generalized discomfort. Back pain from osteoporosis is most commonly related to compression fractures of the vertebra. Osteoporosis can weaken the bones thereby leading to fractures.

Can it be prevented?

Yes, you can lower your risk of suffering from back pain by inculcating simple changes in your daily routine. Here are some of the common tips --

  • As far as possible, avoid bending forwards, if you are suffering from a back pain.
  • Do not lift any heavy objects.
  • If you are overweight, try to lose weight gradually.
  • Avoid exercises that cause sudden jerks. Here are 6 yoga poses to strengthen your lower back
  • Maintain a good posture while sitting, and don t remain seated for long periods of time.

If you still do not experience any relief, make sure you find a good physician, preferably an orthopedic surgeon and work with him or her to alter your situation. You have to understand that there is no quick and easy solution for back pain. A dedicated approach to physical therapy and exercises will alleviate it and help you to lead a happy life.

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