Nearly everyone on the planet will experience back pain at some point in their lives, many more than once. Low back pain is the second most common reason to visit a doctor’s office, second only to the common cold. Just like the cold, back pain may be hard for doctors to treat.
The root causes of back pain are notoriously difficult to diagnose: there are so many contributing factors that it is unlikely a single one will stand out. You may only feel one kind of pain, such as a dull ache in your lower back or shooting pains from your back to your legs. Whatever steps you take to heal your back pain, be sure to discuss your individual symptoms and lifestyle with a trained physician.
Common causes of back pain run the gamut of maladies. Diseases may cause back pain, as well as injury to the spine, muscles, or ligaments of the back. A disorder involving the lower torso, such as appendicitis, can cause back pain. Pregnancy, as well, can cause back pain by stretching the muscles of the pelvis, lower back and stomach, or the ligaments of those areas. There are also syndromes involving the nerve roots, such as sciatica, in which the nerve is pinched or squeezed and inflammation develops that can be quite painful. Skeletal causes of back pain can also be a factor. For example, osteomyelitis is an infection of the bones of the spine. Furthermore, the herpes zoster virus can inflame the spiral nerves and cause lower back pain.
How to Heal Back Pain
There are many ways to alleviate back pain without having to pay anyone to do it for you. However, the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality has stated eleven red flags to guide health-care providers in examining a patient with back pain to detect disease, broken or fractured bones, or cancer.
These red flags include: a trauma in the recent past, such as falling from a height or another accident; a history of extensive steroid use; temperature over one hundred degrees; a history of cancer; inexplicable weight loss. These are just some of the red flags doctors look for in a back exam and would justify a trip to an emergency room in a hospital.
Here a few treatment-at-home options that you may find helpful. They are not exhaustive. If the pain worsens or you noticed any of the red flags listed above, visit a hospital.
To treat back pain, try any or all of the following:
Sleeping at night with a pillow between your knees while lying on your side, or sleeping on your back with a pillow under your thighs. These positions slacken the muscles of the legs that pull on the muscles of the back.
Exercise may help restore you to normal activity. Specifically exercises to improve the strength of your abdomen and front torso, as well as your legs, as these areas most directly affect the posture and use of your back.
Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen: these over the counter, non prescription drugs can dull and eradicate back pain by sapping inflammations. Keep in mind this will only provide temporary relief and may have associated side effects. You can also look into natural pain relievers, like Heal-N-Soothe.
Alternative therapies to back pain include acupuncture, muscle balance therapy, acupressure, biofeedback training, trigger point therapy and yoga.
Most treatment methods operate under the assumption that ninety percent of back pain will disappear after a month. If the pain does not, consult a doctor.
Written By: Updated: June 28,2011