9 Common Causes Of Back Pain : Diagnosis & Doctor Consultation
Out of the many joint pains that people experience, back pain is known as one of the worst to endure.
While it may be easy to assume that back pain is caused because there is a problem with your back, oftentimes other parts of your body are actually causing this pain.
That's why it's important to go see a doctor if you are experiencing back pain, even if you think you know why you have it.
For example, an injury to your spine can actually cause chest pain because our ribs attach to our spine, making them feel like they're hurting too.
In this blog, you will learn the common causes of back problems, the diagnosis, and the treatment available.
What Are The Common Causes Of Back Pain?
The following are the common causes of back pain:
1. Poor Posture: Poor posture is one of the leading causes of lower back pain. By poor posture we mean:
- Sitting in an awkward position for a long time (i.e. crossing your legs while sitting)
- Standing with your head down (and not looking straight ahead which is directly linked to the neck and shoulder injury.)
- Wearing improper footwear such as high heels or boots that come up to the knee or higher.
Through poor postural habits, people tend to put stress on their back muscles which can lead to damage to the spine and other related issues.
2. Sedentary Lifestyle: A sedentary lifestyle makes a person less mobile and flexible which increases the risk for a back injury. Sedentary people are also more likely to gain weight as they do not engage in enough physical activity or exercise, putting even more pressure on their spinal cords.
3. Heavy Lifting: A sudden lift of heavyweights can cause the muscles to go into spasm which may lead to injuries, especially if you have a history of back pain/injuries. As a general guideline, lift only as much as you can handle without straining yourself, and always maintain the correct posture when lifting heavy objects. Also, avoid twisting or bending excessively while carrying out such activities.
4. Injury: The injury may be caused by trauma, accidents, or repetitive movements daily. Some of these injuries are very minor while others are so severe that they have an immediate effect on the body. The most common forms of injuries include sprains, strains, and fractures among others. Chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis, scoliosis, and chronic neurological problems are also some of the medical reasons behind back pain. Other reasons for acute lower back pain are sports injuries, injury due to certain medical procedures, infections, tumors, and fractures.
5. Obesity: The most common cause is obesity. Carrying excess weight increases the load on the spine and this may result in lower back pain. This may cause pain in the lower back, buttocks, and legs.
6. Bacterial Infections: Sometimes bacterial infections can result in lower back pain. These infections may happen due to urinary tract infections or due to other medical problems such as intestinal problems or conditions like appendicitis.
7. Spinal Diseases: One of the common causes is spinal diseases that affect the spine. Conditions like scoliosis, spondylosis, and osteoporosis are some examples. Scoliosis is a condition where there is an abnormal curvature of the spine resulting in compression of the nerves which may lead to lower back pain. Spondylosis occurs when there is wear and tear of bones which results in inflammation of joints leading to pain in the lower back. Osteoporosis refers to a decrease in bone mass which results in the weakening of bones leading to pain.
8. Pregnancy: Back pain occurs naturally during pregnancy as a result of hormonal changes that lead to the relaxation of muscles around the pelvis area. Moreover, the extra weight pregnant women carry (due to the baby) causes stress on the back muscles resulting in back pain.
9. Tiredness or Stress: Being tired or stressed is another common reason for backache. People who are constantly under stress cannot help but hunch their shoulders forward which is one way of relieving tension. During these moments, the muscles in the back are constantly being pulled and this causes them to become tired.
How Is Back Pain Diagnosed?
Doctors will diagnose your problem by checking your medical history, your symptoms, and through some testing procedures.
Physical tests are conducted to find out the exact cause of lower back pain. Imaging scans are conducted to determine whether there is any injury or fracture present or not. X-rays, MRI's or CT scans are used depending upon the type of injury.
During these tests, the doctor will subjectively determine if there is any injury or fracture to your spine at all. If there are symptoms that suggest an underlying illness then doctors may recommend blood tests too for confirmation.
Doctors even check for the strength of your muscles. The strength is measured by the Applied Kinesiology test.
Why Is Doctor's Consultation Important For Back Pain?
Since back pain is a common problem, it is seen that people tend to ignore it for a long time and procrastinate or refuse to seek help from medical professionals. This causes the condition to worsen and give rise to other serious problems.
You should know that back pain is the most common reason for doctor's visits across the world.
It takes months for a proper diagnosis of your illness, people are often frustrated with this type of medical care system.
Doctor observation is important because it gives doctors a chance to observe whether or not you are faking or exaggerating any type of injury that could be seen with imaging tests like X-ray or MRI scans.
It also helps them rule out conditions such as osteoporosis, tumors, and fractures that could result in similar symptoms as those seen during a muscle spasm episode.
Doctors also check if there is any nerve damage at all: they may ask you about the loss of sensation, which is a very common symptom in a pinched nerve.
This can be checked out by using a pin and a lighter to test the nerves in your legs or arms. If you feel pain, then your doctor knows that your problem is not caused by a loss of feeling.
Doctors will also ask about any allergies, or previous medical conditions including surgeries, especially back surgeries.
What Are The Possible Treatments For Back Pain?
The treatment given depends on the severity of the condition and the age of the patient.
There are various treatment options available depending upon the type of condition being treated. Some common treatment options include medications, physiotherapy exercises, traction therapy, acupuncture, and so on. Surgery may be required in the case where other treatments fail.
Doctors should only prescribe oral opioids as a last resort, to avoid addiction and other side effects.
Remember that before you settle for any treatment option for your back pain, be sure to gather all the information about it including its benefits and problems.
And don't forget that self-care is equally important; always do things that will help you ease the pain, like modifying your activities or sleeping position.
Also, remember not to make sudden movements which can worsen the condition.
If there are no medications available in the market today which will absolutely cure back disease or bring relief quickly without causing major side effects or problems, then what are they doing? Unfortunately, most doctors know very little about natural methods of healing.
Maybe if people knew about the benefits of chiropractic and other alternative treatment options, more people would be willing to give them a try before they rush into surgery or load up on pills.
There is no proper cure for lower back pain but there are ways by which the symptoms can be relieved and problems can be prevented so that people who suffer from low back pain can lead a normal life. The treatment options vary depending upon the condition causing the pain.
For example, an X-ray would be ordered if there was a bone fracture followed by drugs if it turned out to be rheumatoid arthritis. The reason why our lumbar spines are more prone to injury is because of the lesser support that they get from the surrounding muscles and ligaments which other parts of the body like arms, legs, and so on, have.
If a person tries to lift a weight, there is a natural tendency for the spine to bend forward as it gives us better leverage. This results in an excessive strain on the intervertebral discs at the back. If this stress is prolonged then inflammation takes place resulting in pain, swelling, and stiffness around joints.
At later stages, calcium deposits start building up between layers of cartilage which leads to fast degeneration of these discs eventually rupturing them completely leading to permanent damage or loss of life of that particular disc.
The lower back is called the lumbar region which is formed by five vertebrae disks and is the largest part of the spine, absorbing more pressure than any other part such as cervical (neck), thoracic (upper back), and sacrum (the large triangular bone at base).
The larger nerves to all parts of the body including the legs pass through these discs in the lumbar region, hence it's very important to keep our muscles around this area strong enough to support its weight instead of straining them while lifting heavyweights.
Obviously, there are chances for everyone but people having some sort of pre-existing condition or problem are more vulnerable. However, even young people can end up with a herniated disc in the lumbar region.
While having a herniated disc will definitely create a lot of problems in day-to-day life, you don't have to give in easily because there are a number of exercises that can help you get rid of it.
How Can Online Consultation For Back Pain With MedRec Hospital Help You?
We have a team of the best physiotherapists who will guide you through some safe and effective back pain exercises.
You can start practicing these exercises from the comfort of your home while following instructions from our experts on a video call.
Our services are available across all regions in India with a free consultation at any given point in time via video call, chat, or phone.
Receiving an online prescription could help with immediate relief in case of severe pain. Moreover, if you are more of a do-it-yourself person, then our physiotherapists can guide you with some safe and effective exercises to get rid of your back pain.
Feel free to reach out to us. Book your session today!