• Shruti GOCHHWAL

10 FAQs about Back Pain

We’re all prone to some degree of aches and pains and back pains are among the most common. The spine provides support and is connected to the entire body. Even so, the human anatomy is such that it’s easy to bend our backs in unnatural directions. At the same time, if our lower body muscles are not strong or balanced, the back ends up taking more load than it is designed for.

Luckily, back pain is quite manageable. The key is to not let the problem persist for too long. On that note, take a look at these common FAQs about back pain.

10 Most Common FAQs about Back Pain

1. What is Back Pain?

It is estimated by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke that approximately 80% of adults experience back pain at some point in time in their life. Your back is a complex structure composed of bones, muscles, nerves, and joints.

Back pain is a musculoskeletal disorder and the pain can be dull and constant or sudden and sharp, making the movements difficult. The pain can become worse if you lift heavy objects.

2. What are the Common Symptoms of Back Pain?

woman suffering from back pain

A woman suffering from back pain, Credits: pexels


Back pain can be anywhere along your spine, from your neck down to your hips. The common symptoms of backache include muscle spasms, stiffness, pain that runs down your lungs, and a limited range of motions in your back.

If you experience the following symptoms, you must consult your doctor immediately.

1. Unexplained weight loss

2. Backache with chest pain

3. Difficulty in moving

4. Severe backache with weakness, tingling, or numbness in the arms or legs.

5. Loss of bladder or bowel control

6. Chronic back pain increased suddenly.

7. Worse pain at night

3. What are the Main Causes of Back Pain?

Most of the time back pain happens for no apparent reason which is called nonspecific back pain. Back pain can be due to disruption of the normal functioning of muscles, ligaments, or an irritated pinched nerve.

In some cases, back pain can be due to a damaged spine. Conditions that are often linked to back pain include:

A Slipped Disc

The soft material inside an intervertebral disc can bulge or rupture and press on a nerve when compressed. This is known as sciatica if the sciatic nerve is compressed.

Degenerative Disc Disease

Aging causes the intervertebral discs to lose integrity and their cushioning ability.

Spondylolisthesis

When a vertebra slips out of place and pinches a nerve.

Spinal stenosis

Narrowing of the spinal column can put pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.

4. What are the Risk Factors for Back Pain?

Aging

Aging causes back pain, Image credits: pexels


  1. Aging: Degenerative diseases can reduce your bone strength. As you age, there can be a decrease in muscle elasticity and tone and loss of fluid and flexibility of your intervertebral discs

  2. Overweight: Extra weight puts pressure on your spine.

  3. Smoking: Smoking cause tissue damage in your back

  4. Occupation: If your job involves heavy lifting, it can cause pressure on your low back.

  5. Also, low levels of physical activity tend to reduce muscle endurance and cause back pain.

  6. Mental Illness: Anxiety, stress, and depression can cause back pain.

5. Does Pregnancy Cause Back Pain?

Yes. Back pain is common during pregnancy. As your body undergoes lots of changes during the phase, experiencing mild back pain is not an issue. During pregnancy, the ligaments become softer and stretch to prepare for the labor, causing strain on the lower back and pelvis. It is important to take rest, not lift heavy objects, avoid twisting your spine, and maintain a proper posture during your pregnancy.

6. How Can Back Pain be Diagnosed?

Diagnosis

X-rays help identify the cause of back pain, Image credits: pexels


A physical examination is done. Based on your symptoms, your doctor may request any of the following investigations.

1. X-ray – X-rays help identify the alignment of your bones and whether you have arthritis, broken or displaced bones, or a tumor.

2. CT scan – CT scan generates detailed and cross-section images of the bones in your spine. Herniated discs or problems with bones, muscles, tissue, tendons, nerves, ligaments, and blood vessels can be identified.

3. MRI scan – MRIs are often used to accurately diagnose spinal disorders and to rule out spinal infections or tumors.

7. How to Treat Back Pain?

The treatment depends on the severity of the issue.

1. For mild back pain, over the counter medicines like paracetamol or ibuprofen are used.

2. Heat or cold may lose tighten muscles and lessen pain

3. Surgery is recommended in 5% of the cases. If the pain was persistent, and there was nerve compression that leads to muscle weakness, surgery is an option to correct the issue.

8. Are there ways to Prevent Back Pain?

Prevention of Back pain

Exercises help relieve back pain, Image credits: pexels


Walking, running, and swimming can help avoid backache. You must ensure that you are not overdoing any activity that may increase the risk of any injuries. To prevent upper, middle, or low backache, you can try doing the following

  1. Do stretching exercises

  2. If your job involves sitting for long hours, take frequent breaks to stretch your back. Quit smoking

  3. 4. If you are overweight or obese, try reducing your weight

  4. Do not twist your spine when lifting heavy objects

  5. Always balance your weight evenly on both feet.

  6. Sleep on a firm mattress that helps keep your spine straight.

9. Despite My Back Pain, How Can I do exercises?

Even if you have moderate back pain, exercises help maintain your mobility. Exercises tend to release endorphins that are the body’s natural painkillers.

Stretching exercises can be done under the supervision of a trained professional.

To decrease your back pain and increase the function of your back, physiotherapy is often recommended for four weeks. If that does not work, the next sets of treatments will be initiated.

10. Do Supplements Help Relieve Back Pain?

Supplements for Back pain

Calcium and vitamin supplements for back pain, Image credits: pexels


Calcium and vitamin D supplements can help maintain your bone strength. If needed, your doctor may prescribe lubricants to improve the function of joints.

Take-Home Message

Back pain is a common issue and having a healthy lifestyle helps prevent its complications.

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