June 17, 2011

Are You Suffering From Back Pain?

back painAre You Suffering From Back Pain

Most of us complain of back ache at some time in our lives, in fact four out of five Americans suffer from some kind of back pain. These complaints may refer to the neck and shoulders, the middle of the back and the kidney area, or the base of the spine. Back pain can be either acute or chronic, that is to say of sudden and short duration, or ongoing and recurrent.

Back pain often affects other areas of our body such as our arms and legs because back pain can radiate to other areas. Our central nervous system is located in the spine, which is why some spine injuries result in paralysis, because the nerves are damaged. Most back pain and back injuries are usually of short duration, or treatable, paralysis is the exception rather than the norm.

Causes of Back Pain

Back pain is one of the biggest causes of absenteeism from work. Research studies show that a lot of lower back pain is due to bad posture and sitting in a chair with no support. In recent years there has been a trend towards what is known as ergonomic office furniture, that is to say furniture that takes into a count the user and their relationship to their surroundings. Ergonomic chairs will generally have a supportive seat, adjustable back, arms and height, further studies suggest that in companies where old office furniture has been replaced with ergonomic furniture, absenteeism drops and productivity increases. Less absenteeism and greater productivity, it has been found, is a direct result of proper seating arrangements.

Back pain can also result from bad posture generally or lifting heavy weights in the wrong manner; each of these things can put a strain on your back and result in back pain. When people fail to lift heavy objects in the proper manner it may result in an injury to the back that will need medical help and advice.
Sometimes the discs in your spine may be injured and will protrude or ‘slip’ this is often the cause of heavy lifting or moving around awkwardly. In many cases a slipped disc can occur because of general wear and tear. Arthritis is another cause of back pain and treatment will differ depending on whether you are suffering from osteoarthritis, which is the result of general wear and tear, or rheumatoid arthritis, which is an immune system disease that cripples the sufferer.

When a disc presses on a nerve it can result in sciatica, a painful condition that can send pain shooting down the leg. This is often alleviated by physiotherapy or by visiting an osteopath. Osteoporosis is where the bones of the skeleton fracture easily because they have become brittle, this is usually found in older people, but can occur in the young.

Remedies

In most cases back pain can be alleviated by over the counter medicines and minor changes in your life style. Back surgery is only undertaken in rare cases as back pain usually responds to other methods. If you suffer back pain for more than three days in a row then you should see your doctor as there may be an underlying medical problem.

You should see your doctor immediately if the pain is constant and intense and doesn’t ease when you lie down on a flat surface. You should also seek help if the pain spreads down you legs, arms or both. If you have weakness or numbness in your legs you should see your doctor or if the pain follows a fall or a blow and he or she may prescribe X-rays or a bone scan as well as stronger pain medication. Your doctor may prescribe codeine or tramadol for the pain.

Most back problems are easily treatable at home with simple remedies and better posture, if the problem continues then you should see your doctor, if only to be on the safe side.

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