Millions of people are suffering from back pain, and it isn't limited to people of older age. In fact, it is one of the leading causes of disability for people under 45 years old. If you're one of them, you may be wondering, what are the causes of back pain?
Multiple factors can cause back pain. Many people nowadays use massage chairs for back pains, but you would want to consult your doctor before using one. Today, you will learn how to use these medical devices to bring relief to your back pain.
What are the Common Causes of Back Pain?
Before you start thinking of possible back pain treatment for your condition, it's time to pin down this root cause. Knowing the causes of back pain will help you identify which treatment methods are the best.
Some of the common causes of back pain include:
- Ligament strain
- Poor Posture
- Skeletal problems
- Ruptured disks
When Should You Worry About Back Pain?
Four out of five of us will experience back pain at some point, usually in the lower back or neck. Even if the discomfort is severe, there is a 90% likelihood that it will be gone within six weeks. Research has already conducted a study that 95% of these instances show no significant serious cause but that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt!
This article by WebMD does a great job of explaining when it's time to skip the home remedies and get to the doctor.
Let's face it; our backs have a basic structural fault - they're not designed to hold up to the additional pressures and stresses put on them by people walking upright. The bones in our backs need to be held together in a way that keeps them secure but also gives enough flexibility to avoid us going straight across the ramrod.
This is likely because we have several tiny bones — the vertebrae — separated by 'discs' of connective tissue surrounding our sensitive spine. Standing vertical ensures that gravity continuously compresses our spinal bones and discs.
This complex structure may be prone to several complications. Being overweight places more pressure on your back, but bad posture mainly the most significant cause. Long hours on the computer would not help also.
What Are The 'Red Flag' Alarm Signs?
Your neck and lower back are more prone to experience problems than our spines because of how they are structured. If you have discomfort in your thoracic spine, the back of your ribcage, you should get tested.
The pain from the prolapsed disc (sometimes referred to as 'slipped disk') is always quite intense, mainly if it results in pressure or inflammation on one's spinal cord nerves. However, Cauda equina syndrome, an uncommon yet possibly very severe condition in which the nerves at the very bottom of the spinal cord are pressed on.
Symptoms to Watch for Include:
- The Numbness Across your Bottom
- Sudden weakness of both legs
- Loss of Bladder Control
If you have experienced chemotherapy and taking steroid pills because of osteoporosis, you have suffered a significant wound on the body and can not miss an appointment with your doctor. If your discomfort doesn't disappear by resting and continues getting worse, you should consult a doctor immediately.
What Treatment Options Are Available?
When you decide to visit the specialist, they'll inquire about the conditions and assess you so they won't need to refer you for short-term examinations or x-rays. They're likely to tell you to keep performing your daily tasks even though it hurts, although you can stop activities that worsen the discomfort. Painkillers and muscle relaxants can help but only for the short term.
When you go to your doctor, they will likely recommend you to see a physiotherapist. They use a broad range of strategies that may rely on the symptoms. This involves a formal fitness routine where you do stretching, muscle building and balance adjustments (often as a group), and rehabilitation and spinal stimulation.
Until recently, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) also advised that acupuncture, where small needles are punctured at 'pressure points' in the skin, should be considered.
However, recent draft recommendations no longer support this because of a lack of proof that they are much more successful than 'sham' therapy (which requires people in clinical trials to be handled with acupuncture or not, without understanding if they are getting acupuncture care).
The latest guideline frequently advises all forms of exercise-including meditation, stretching, cardiovascular, or strength exercises, as a first phase in treating low back pain. The new policy only suggests stretching and spinal stimulation in addition to training, and that is because of a lack of proof that they have benefit when used.
Aiming for Long Term Changes
If the symptoms may not improve or indicate an underlying condition, you may undergo more testing. This involves CT or MRI scans that may look at the spine's muscles and nerves and the spine's bones. In extreme situations, anesthesia is administered to the patient, but complications occur when the surgeon works close to the spinal cord. Epidural injections are also an alternative.
Chiropractors often function by stimulating the back. They use more than 50 'adjustments' consisting of quick, regulated thrusts against individual joints. Sometimes you hear a pop-up sound when it's done (don't worry, it's usually harmless).
Osteopaths assume that each part of the human body relies on the other sections of the body and that the structure is the musculoskeletal system. If this is out of balance, all manner of complications can arise. Osteopaths offer standard 'adjustments' as chiropractors, but they often operate with joints and utilize soft stimulation. These therapies are not accessible at the national health system.
In the long run, several people swear by the Alexander Method to avoid any low back issues. The hypothesis is that interaction between the head, neck, and back determines how the body functions. Daily lectures, with training in between, strive to remove all the negative habits we've developed to encourage us to stand up and move forward naturally.
People who practice it claim that it often helps with movement, relaxation, flexibility, and equilibrium. It's hard to conduct a study where patients receive Alexander Technique therapy or not, without understanding the category they are in because it's not easy to rule out the 'placebo' influence of people who believe it helps. It's a good procedure, though, and there's some proof it works.
How do you Know if Back Pain is a Muscle or Disc?
If you're struggling with back pain, you're likely to want immediate relief. Identifying what triggers your back pain can help you select the right treatment. The most frequent source of lower back pain is muscle pressure from damage or overuse.
On the other hand, you might have a slipped or bulging disk, which implies that the loose cushioning between the disks has worn out. If you always experience discomfort in your back, it could be triggered by a muscle strain. However, it may be a slipped disk if the pain extends to either the arm or your knee.
How to Identify a Muscle Strain
Whether the discomfort radiates around the lower back or your buttocks, a muscle strain induces pain confined to a single body portion. In this scenario, you'll experience discomfort in your back or pressure in your upper buttocks.
- When you experience discomfort somewhere else, it may be triggered by a sliding or bulging disc.
- You can typically experience more discomfort when you're standing and feel less pain when seated or lying back.
Watch for a stiff back and a limited range of motion. Your back can feel tight or heavy, making it hard to move about. You'll also find that turning and flipping are both uncomfortable or impossible to do. The muscle strain and inflammation naturally induce this kind of issue.
- Your back can feel extra sore when you get up in the morning or when you relax.
- It may also be a symbol of a bulged or slipped disc. If the pain is constant, you may want to ask your doctor to conduct an MRI.
Check if you're trying to hold your stance straight. It can be tough to straighten your back entirely, but you may find that you're walking with a crooked posture. This may be an indication that you've injured a muscle in your back.
- You would experience discomfort as you attempt to straighten up.
- Difficulty in maintaining equilibrium may also be induced by slipping or bulging disks.
How to Identify a Slipped or Bulging Disc
Observe when you experience numbness or tingling in your back or limbs. You may feel numbness or tingling in your back, hands, sides, buttocks, or legs because the slipped or bulging disc is pushing on your nerve. This feeling could come and go.
- You're not necessarily going to have this feeling of a slipped or bulging disc because you will still get it even though you don't notice numbness or tingling.
- Muscle injuries occasionally trigger numbness or tingling, particularly in other sections of your body.
Note that the pain is persistent. Pressure from bulging or slipped discs sometimes disappears on its own. However, it is more probable to come back, mainly if you do the same motion or action that triggered it before. If the discomfort lasts for an extended period or goes away and comes back, it is likely triggered by a slipped or bulging disc.
- You can also find that the discomfort abruptly returns for no apparent cause. Typically, this is a warning of a slipped or bulging disc.
- You may typically experience more discomfort when sitting or leaning, but you will be relieved as you rise.
- You can experience fast, shooting pain in your legs and thighs.
What are the Types of Back Pain?
Back pains are categorized based on the symptoms and areas it targets. You will learn the answer to the question, what are the causes of back pain?
Here are the three common types of back pain that you should know about:
- Acute back pain
This type of back pain usually will not last for more than half a year. This pain is temporary, and it is often responsive to many treatments. It is common among young adults and often described as pain similar to quick, sharp jabs on the lower back.
There are several causes for this type of back pain, including pregnancy, scoliosis, and muscle strains. Using a massage chair may help bring relief to this kind of problem.
- Chronic back pain
This type of back pain lasts for more than six months. It is an acute back pain that turns chronic due to the frequency and duration of the pain. Often, it is caused by aggravated nerve compression or a condition that continues to deteriorate over time.
People with spinal stenosis are more likely to suffer from chronic back pain. If the pain generator is unknown, it could be due to the brain sending pain signals without corresponding tissue damage. People who suffer from this may have undergone back surgery.
- Neuropathic back pain
This back pain is slightly different from chronic and acute pain because the pain generator is unknown. Most experts claim that the nerve system causes it. People who suffer from Neuropathic back pain take oral medicines or injections to reduce pain.
Common Symptoms for Lower Back Pain
Now that you know what the causes are, you need to learn the common symptoms. It is crucial to visit your doctor as soon as possible if the pain starts interfering with your regular activities.
Here are the common lower back pain symptoms that you shouldn't ignore:
- Muscle ache
- Stabbing pain on the lower back
- Pain that travels down the leg
- Pain that worsens when lifting, standing or bending down
Some of the back pains can be treated at home and improve with traditional treatment. However, there are a few exceptions. If the problem continues to deteriorate and does not respond to any of your treatment, it's time to see a doctor.
If you're experiencing the following symptoms, then it's best to schedule an appointment right away:
- Back pain that causes bladder problems
- Back pain that comes with a fever
- Back pain that results in questionable weight loss
- Pain that does not improve with constant rest
- Pain that travels to both legs and below the knees
- A problem that causes tingling in both legs
Massage Chair for Back Pain
Aside from an over-the-counter pain reliever that you can buy, you can also invest in a massage chair. There are many benefits of massage chairs but you'll want to seek medical advice from your doctor before using any massage chair if you have a pre-existing medical condition.
Massage chairs can be an effective treatment for relieving back pain without taking medications.
Here are the following reasons why you should use a massage chair for improving your back pain:
Massage promotes good lymphatic flow.
When you manipulate muscles using a massage chair, you are also promoting good blood circulation. An excellent lymphatic flow helps your body and to properly absorb the nutrients that your muscles and tissues need. It is also good at detoxifying. That's why you feel so revitalized after a massage session.
Massage releases muscle tension.
Another reason you should use a massage chair to treat back pain is its ability to release muscle tension. As a result, you can be more flexible and prevent strained muscles. Kneading massage is one of the most effective ways to relax the muscles.
Massage improves your mood.
A single session in a massage chair can increase your endorphin levels. This is why you feel good after a relaxing massage. As a result, you can benefit from reduced pain and speedy recovery. It also distracts you from the nagging low back pain. Every time you feel the pain stirring up in your back, you can always sit down in a massage chair if you have one at home.
Massage can improve the skeletal system.
Investing in a massage chair to treat your back pain can be a wise choice. Regular massage can improve your skeletal system. It also loosens tight muscles by stretching or kneading. An improved skeletal structure helps you combat pain in the lower back, especially in the long run.
Massage reduces stress.
Stress is one of the leading causes of back pain. If you overwork your body, you will end up with overly tight muscles and skeletal system. As a result, some areas in your back lack the nutrients and energy it needs to function. This may be why your lower back hurts at times.
We hope you've enjoyed this article and found it useful. As you can see, the causes of back pain can be many but at some point in time almost everyone will suffer from an aching back.
Instead of visiting a massage therapist or paying for expensive chiropractic treatments, you may be able to improve your back pain at home instead with a massage chair. Once again, you'll want to consult your doctor before using any massage chair if you have pre-existing medical conditions.
Thank you for reading!