BACK pain is very common and usually doesn’t have a serious cause; usually back pain is caused by a simple muscle, tendon or ligament strain and not by a serious problem. It may be caused by poor posture, lack of exercise that results to stiffening of the spine, muscle strains and sprains.
Other rare causes include bone problems such as fractures, which is often linked to thinning of the bones (osteoporosis), infections and inflammations, and tumor. Aside from these rare causes, symptoms of serious back pain is when back pain travels down the legs and the person experiences difficulty controlling or passing urine, loss of control of bowel, numbness around back passage or genitals, weakness in the legs and very severe and ongoing back pain that gets worse over several weeks, are signs that you must see your doctor.
Despite the fact most people are likely to have more than one episode of back pain, there are things that we can do to help ourselves against back pains. While simple painkillers such as paracetamol (analgesic) may help, it should be used as and when needed only. Physically, exercise is good for everybody, because too much rest can lead to stiffness in the muscles and joints. Our bodies are built for movement and we need regular physical activities to remain fit and healthy.
Maintaining a good posture in sitting or working prevents back pains, because staying in awkward positions, while working, driving, etc. will affect the tissues in the back’s support structures and will increase pain in the back. Other, self-help preventions we can do for back pains are lifting correctly, having a balanced diet and nutrition or going through pain management programs.
It is hard to say how long back pain symptoms last, this is because diagnosing the cause of back pain is hard. Also, there are things which are linked to ongoing back pains, the main factor the severity of pain and its impact on sleep and everyday activities. Other evidences also show that how you respond emotionally to having back pain has an important impact on how quickly you get better, like how you feel about your back pain, your mood, and your sleeping patterns.
While it is natural to be concerned about the cause of your back pain, it is most important however, to talk openly about any worries with a health care professional, as reducing any fear may help to speed up recovery.
Published in the SunStar Baguio newspaper on September 20, 2017.
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