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Frequently asked questions about Back pain

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What is back pain?

Back pain is the pain of the back, usually the lower back, as the muscles of the back become weak and tender. It indicates strain of the back muscles.

 

How long does the pain last?

The pain usually lasts for a few weeks. Recurrences are common and require rest, medicines and physiotherapy.

 

How is it caused?

It is caused by degenerative changes, injury, swelling or rarely, cancer and age-related changes. Some triggering events like carrying heavy weight and lifting from an awkward position cause back pain. Old age and over-exertion of the back muscles directly injure the back bringing about degenerative changes in the bones of the spinal cord.

 

When should the person with back pain consult a doctor for treatment?

In most cases, a doctor’s consultation is not necessary, if the pain is less and usually the pain subsided with or without treatment. It is also important to consult the doctor the person having pain along with any of the following problems: 

  • Trouble in urinating
  • Weakness
  • Pain or numbness in the legs
  • Fever
  • Unintentional weight loss. 
The above symptoms could signal a serious problem that requires immediate treatment soon.

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What is the treatment?

Pain relief medicines, such as ibuprofen or paracetamol reduce swelling. Local application of heat by a hot water bottle or heating pad helps to relieve pain. Physiotherapy in the form of diathermy or ultrasound may help in pain relief. 

Complete bed rest is not required. Exercise and exertion must be avoided until recovery. The sleeping position should be comfortable. The mattress or bedding should provide a firm support.


How can backaches be prevented?

Abdominal exercises, sit-ups, leg raises, flattening the back and tucking the legs to the chest strengthen the muscles and prevent back pain. These exercises should be avoided during active back pain, but the stretching exercises can be continued.

 

How common is back pain?

It is one of our society’s most common medical problems. It is estimated that 8 out of 10 people are affected by this problem.

Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: May 28, 2014