Living with chronic back pain is the most frustrating thing in the world for most of the people who suffer from it. First, sometimes the pain is unbearable. And second, back pain can be an obstacle in completing your everyday jobs.
Cleaning the house, playing with your kids, bending to get something you dropped, these are all things that are much harder to do if you suffer from chronic back pain. Chronic back pain is one of the most common chronic pains. Approximately one out of five adults suffers from back pain.
Everyone can be affected with back pain, but studies have shown that chronic back pains are especially common in people who are obese, older people, in people with low muscle mass, tall people and in people who smoke cigarettes.
How much these chronic back pains hurt, or the level of pain can’t be defined strictly. Some people only feel little pain and stiffness while others can have sharp and severe pains.
The cause of the chronic back pains is still not entirely familiar, but there are certain factors and conditions that may cause these back pains.
– Muscle spasms can be one cause for back pains.
– Osteoarthritis of the spine can also be a cause for back pains. This is called spondylosis. If you are overweight, you automatically increase the chances of getting osteoarthritis of the spine. So watch your weight.
– Spinal stenosis. This is a condition in which your spine narrows. This can cause back aching, arms, shoulders and legs pain as well as numbness.
– Osteoporosis. A disease that is more common in women and older people. As we get older, our bones tend to lose calcium and they can be broken and fractured easily.
How to find relief?
When you decide to find a relief for your back pain, it is important that you have fair and realistic expectations. There is no complete cure for this chronic pain. You should know that so that you don’t expect everything to go back to normal. It is better if you set your goals on something more possible. For example, your goal should be to lessen the pain and succeed to have a normal life again, where you can easily complete all your activities.
In order to find relief for your aching back, the first thing you need to do is get a diagnosis of what the cause is. You will have to do several tests such as: X-rays, a magnetic resonance scanning, tomography scan and whatever else your doctor suggests.
When you find out the source of the pain, you can start doing the best you can to improve your condition. There are 3 things you can do, depending of the intensity of pain and damage: self-care, medications and more drastic measures such as operations.
– Avoid lifting heavy objects and carrying heavy things around.
– Lose weight if you can. Overweight people are more likely to have chronic back pains because the weight can be too much pressure on your back, especially the spine.
– Strengthen your ‘core’ muscles. These are the muscles in your back, abdomen and pelvic muscles. They will support your spine and back.
– Watch how you bend or twist. If you do some activity that requires bending or twisting, be careful and do it slowly of you do not want to hurt your back.
– Posture. The way you walk, sit or sleep can affect you back a lot. Be careful of the position of your body all the time.
– If you are a smoker, better quit, because in some conditions smoking can worsen the pain.
Medications for back pain relief may be non-prescribed over-the-counter pills or supplements or prescribed stronger medications if necessary. Whatever you choose, always consult with your doctor first.
People usually don’t need surgical procedures for chronic back pains. However, if the cause of the pain is known and this represents a promised relief, surgical procedures can be performed. Some of the most common surgical procedures are: laminectomy, laminotomy, disc replacement, fusion and others.
Apart from the above treatments, there are also some other things you might want to try. These are: therapy with hot and cold application, some support belts (usually for the spine) and physical therapy where you can focus on creating muscles to support your spine as well as how to hold and position your spine properly in doing your every day activities.