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Likely Culprits of Back Pain and How You Can Handle Them

Posted Dec 07 2009 8:26pm
Many people have back pain at some point in their life and at least half of them experience recurring back pain. Sometimes, there is no one particular cause for the pain but rather a build-up of activities they might have done. Back pain is so commonplace that it is one of the top three leading reasons why people see the doctor and miss work. The good news is that most back pain clears itself up within a few weeks. If you are one of the many people that experience back pain, there are a number of causes to consider.

Types of Back Pain

Referred Back Pain

Referred back pain means that you feel pain in your back but it is attached to some other underlying health condition in your body. For example, kidney infections can cause back pain as can appendicitis and bladder infections. Women with infections or disorders in the pelvic area can also experience pain in the back.

Pulled or Stressed Out Muscles

Have you ever slept in an awkward position and paid for it in pain the next day? Sleeping funny can stress out your muscles, ligaments and tendons in addition to lifting heavy objects or even turning or twisting the wrong way. When you experience sensitivity and pain in certain muscle groups, like in your back, doctors refer to it as myofascial pain. Many kids experience this type of back pain because they tote heavy backpacks and school bags. Poor posture and improper lifting techniques can also contribute.

Musculoskeletal Diseases and Conditions

There are a number of musculoskeletal diseases and conditions that can contribute to back pain. For example, fibromyalgia causes pain and tenderness in nerve trigger points and joints in the back and other areas of the body. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint condition that causes deterioration of the discs between the vertebrae.

Osteoporosis can also cause back pain. Calcium leaches out of your bones over time and puts them in danger of stress fractures and breaks. If you have osteoporosis and decide to partake in heavy lifting or other overly strenuous exercise, you can create tiny compression fractures in one or more vertebrae.

Disc Problems

A herniated disc is a common cause of back problems. Wear and tear over time can cause one or more of your discs along your spinal column to rupture (herniated). Sometimes called a slipped disc, this rupture can pinch one of the many nerves that emanate from the spinal column. The sciatic nerve is one of the most commonly affected nerves and it runs down to your leg, so not only would you feel pain in the back because of a herniated disc but also feel sharp, shooting pain down your leg as well.

Over the counter pain relievers can help as can topical herbal remedies for pain such as lavender oil, eucalyptus, chamomile, witch hazel and arnica. Some herbs consumed in tea form have anti-inflammatory properties that can alleviate pain too such as chamomile, valerian, rosemary, elderberry and black cohosh. Ice packs can numb pain while heating pads can loosen tight muscles in the back.

If you can afford it, make it a point to visit a chiropractor because your spine may be out of alignment. Acupuncturists can also treat your back pain as well. What you should not do is lie around and be lazy when you have back pain because the joints and muscles may seize up. Rather, light exercise such as walking and stretching can be beneficial. With a little TLC and time, most back pain eventually resolves on its own.

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