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Back Pain

 

Your back is a complex structure that provides support for your entire body from your skull, arms, ribcage to your pelvis and legs. Complex layers of muscles provide structural support and allow movement. Back pain is a very common complaint affecting most adults at some point in time and is usually not due to any serious disease.

 

 

Some common causes of back pain include:

  • Muscle and ligament strains – soft tissue injuries such as sprains and strains are more likely to occur if your back is out of condition or if you have pre-existing problems. Stretching a ligament or muscle too far or too quickly can result in a tear of the tissue. Excessive force and repetitive use may also damage muscles.
  • Arthritis – inflammation due to spinal or pelvic bone on bone movement can be a source of pain linked to back pain.
  • Sciatica – develops when the nerve that runs from the lower back into the leg is compressed by a bulging intervertebral disc, causing pain.
  • Stress – resulting in muscle tension and fatigue, stiffness and localised pain. Constantly tight muscles can create postural imbalances that may cause misalignment of the spine.
  • Structural problems – lifelong bad posture, osteoporosis and genetic conditions (such as kyphosis and scoliosis), can cause pain by putting added stress on the structures of the spinal column.

 

Most cases of back pain are exacerbated by lifestyle factors including:

  • lack of exercise,
  • being overweight,
  • sitting for long periods,
  • poor posture, and/or
  • stress.

 

 

Symptoms
Depending on the cause of your back pain, symptoms may include:

  • persistent aching or stiffness along your spine,
  • sharp, localized pain in the neck, upper back, or lower back,
  • back pain that radiates from the low back to the buttock, down the back of the thigh, and into the calf and toes, and/or
  • inability to stand straight without having pain or muscle spasms in the lower back.

 


Treatment options

 

Exercise regularly
Exercise can improve posture and increase muscle support of the spine. Seek advice from a health care professional who can prescribe an individual exercise program for you. Regular exercise will also assist in weight management.

 

Correct your posture
Consider your posture, particularly when sitting for long periods of time such as when driving or sitting at a desk. Don’t slump, keep your back upright and use support where necessary. Massage, manipulation or acupuncture can help to relieve muscle tension and improve posture.

 

Your health care professional may advise pain-relieving and muscle-relaxant medication for temporarily relief of pain and inflammation.

 

 

Disclaimer
The content displayed on this webpage is intended for informational purposes and is a guide only. It does not replace or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Information contained on this webpage must be discussed with an appropriate healthcare professional before making any decisions or taking any action based on the content of this webpage.

 

Sources

Better Health Channel
http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Back_problems

 

WebMD
http://www.webmd.com/back-pain/guide/understanding-back-pain-symptoms