November 29, 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.

Are You Suffering From Neck Pain?

neck painAre You Suffering From Neck Pain?
At some point in their lives, most people will complain of neck pain. Neck pain can be acute, i.e. it comes on suddenly, often as the result of an underlying infection or other problem, and can last from a few days to a few weeks. Sometimes people suffer from what is known as chronic neck pain and this refers to pain that is recurrent and ongoing over a longer period of time. Chronic neck pain can also be the result of an underlying problem, but the cause is often more serious than that experienced with acute neck pain. Chronic neck pain does not always have a serious cause, sometimes all that is needed is a minor lifestyle change to deal with the problem.

Common Causes of Neck Pain
People who regularly complain of neck pain may indulge in hobbies that result in their being hunched over a work bench or desk. If this happens to you then you may need to look at new ways of engaging in your hobby where you are not hunched over all of the time. If you spend a lot of your time working on a computer then your head should be on a level with the top of the computer monitor, if you constantly have to bend your head back a little to see the screen, or bend it down, you will suffer from neck pain. Studies show that people suffer a lot less with neck pain when they have a chair that has an adjustable height and adequate arm and back support.

For short term, chronic neck pain, you can get over the counter remedies such as aspirin or ibuprofen to help alleviate the pain, but you should also pay attention to your posture and to your seating arrangements at work. If you find that these simple remedies don’t work and you are still suffering from neck pain then you should see your doctor because the pain may be the result of some other, underlying condition.

Underlying Causes of Neck Pain
Neck pain can be the result of wear and tear on the joints and muscles, if the pain continues you should see your doctor immediately. In older people neck pain may be the result of osteoarthritis – the kind of arthritis that comes from general wear and tear. In both cases the pain will be chronic and you may experience stiffening of the neck and should seek medical help.

Chronic neck pain could be the result of an injury to the discs, where the jelly like cartilage seeps through the disc’s outer covering; when this happens you could have pain in other, nearby areas such as the shoulders and top of the spine because the nerves are affected. Neck pain may also be the cause of an accident that results in an injury known as whiplash, if you do have an accident that results in a sudden and unexpected jolting of the neck, you could have whiplash. You need to seek specialist help for whiplash as you may need to wear a collar or neck support for a while.

Remedies
If you suffer from persistent neck pain then your doctor may suggest that you see a physiotherapist who will recommend a series of exercises to strengthen the neck muscles and ease the problem. You may be prescribed what is known as TENS, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, this is where electrodes are placed on the neck because the tiny electrical pulses can help relieve the pain.

Your doctor may prescribe stronger pain medication for chronic neck pain such as strong anti-inflammatory medicines or a narcotic medication such as tramadol. If you have a neck injury or disc problems then your doctor may want you to have a collar fitted that restricts neck movement.

There are many causes of and treatments for, neck pain; no two people will experience things in the same way. If you have ongoing neck pain or have been involved in an accident then the only safe thing to do is to see a medical professional.