Back Pain

Back Pain Types, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

What is Back Pain?

Back pain, simply put, is any pain you might feel in your back, whether it is in the lower or upper part. There are many types of back pain, as well as causes. And a pain in any specific part of your back may be a symptom of another underlying cause. In this article, the different types of back pain and their causes will be discussed, along with symptoms to diagnose them, and finally, the treatment to be relieved of the condition.

Different  Causes and Types of Back Pain

As there are many different parts of your back, there are also different types of back pain that can be felt in any of these areas. The type of back pain can also be indicative of what is causing the pain, rather than where it is felt. These are the different types of back pain, (which can also be considered as the cause of the back pain) that can be felt by a person:

  • Upper Back Pain- This is perhaps one of the most common types of back pain, and is indicative of a sedentary lifestyle. This type of pain can be felt anywhere from the bottom of your rib cage all the way up to the back of your neck.
  • Lower Back Strain - another one of the more common types of back pain, and can indicate a problem in any of the muscles and ligaments that hold your vertebra or spinal column.
  • Spondylolisthesis – is also a type of back pain that can be felt in the lower back. This condition is caused when the vertebra of the lower spine slips out of position, causing pain.
  • Spinal Stenosis - a type of back pain that gets more prominent as one age, and is caused by the narrowing of spaces in your spinal column. 
  • Cauda Equina Syndrome - one of the more rare types of back pain. This condition is caused by the compression of the nerves at the base of the spinal cord.
  • Piriformis Syndrome - just like the Cauda Equina Syndrome, this is one of the rarer types of back pain around. This condition is caused by the irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve by the piriformis muscle, hence its name.

Other times, back pain is caused by one or more factors. Here are the other common causes of back pain:

  1. Strain – Strain is the most common causes of back pain, and the strain can be in any part of your back, such as: in the muscles of the back, and in the ligaments and other soft tissues of your back. Lifting anything heavy and also doing it improperly can cause this strain on your back.
  2. Vertebra Problem – If you are feeling back pain that is not caused by strain, then perhaps it is a problem caused by one of the disks in your spinal cord or vertebra. Your vertebra can either be ruptured or is bulging. In the case of a bulging vertebra, then it can also indicate you have sciatica, which can be felt as a sharp and shooting pain that travels through your buttock onto your leg.
  3. Improper posture- improper posture can also be a leading cause of back pain, as something as simple as your posture, when done repeatedly every day, will definitely cause problems in your back.

Back pain can occur for many different reasons. Pain in the lower back can develop because of:

  • Problems with the nerves and the spinal cord
  • Problems with the lower back muscles or with the ligaments that support the vertebrae and discs
  • Problems with the lumbar spine or the discs
  • Problems in the skin over-laying the lumbar area of the back
  • Problems with the organs of the abdomen and pelvis

Upper back pain can occur as a result of problems with the aorta, inflammation of the spine or due to chest tumors.

Some people with back pain also have related symptoms in other parts of their body such as buttock pain, muscle cramps or hip pain.

Back pain can be classified by where it is located in the body: neck pain, middle or lower back pain and tailbone pain. It can also be classified by how long it lasts:

  • Acute Pain: This lasts up to 12 weeks
  • Subacute: This is the last half of the acute phase. It lasts from 6 to 12 weeks.
  • Chronic: If pain lasts longer than 12 weeks, it is considered chronic

There are many different types of pain. It can come on suddenly and be sharp and severe, or it can be a dull ache. Pain sometimes only occurs with movement, or when you cough or sneeze. A feeling of numbness or tingling can also become painful.

Symptoms of Back Pain

As mentioned before in this article, back pain in itself is a symptom, but it can also manifest itself through other symptoms, such as:

  • Pain that is near your back – Such as in the legs, below the knees, in your buttocks, and even in your neck.
  • Numbness and Weakness in these same parts
  • Difficulty in the excretory systems of the body- such as in urinating or bowel movement
  • Swelling in your Back
  • Weight Loss
  • Fever

What are the Common Procedures Used to Treat Back Pain?

When you yourself feel pain in your back, you will always immediately think of how to treat your condition, as having back pain will, if not impair you, make it difficult for you to perform everyday tasks that you are used to doing. Here are some of the most common treatments used in the case of back pain:

  1. Medication/ Painkillers- Perhaps the most common treatment or preliminary treatment for all the types of back pains listed above. The painkiller can range from NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or naproxen sodium; too much more serious medications such as corticosteroid injections. 
  2. Physical Therapy- effective as both treatment and aftercare for someone feeling back pain, physical therapy can range anywhere from electrical stimulation, reflexology massage, or application of heat and/or cold to the affected area.
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Questions & Answers
Q:
What is the best way to treat permanent back and neck pain and stiffness?
A:

Here are some tips:

Neck Pain Tips: Sleep with a cervical pillow

Orthopedic or cervical pillows are made with special contours to support the space beneath the neck and head. They are also more concave for the head and provide more support to the neck.

Neck Pain Tips: Sleep on your back

The best position to lie to sleep is on your back. If you sleep on your stomach or on your side, make sure your pillow is not too thick. It should raise your head no more than 4 to 6 inches. This will keep your neck and head from turning to either side.

Neck Pain Tips: Position your computer screen at eye level

While you are working at a computer, sit comfortably in your chair with your computer in front of you. Close your eyes and then open them. When you open your eyes, you should see the middle of the computer screen. If your gaze is not in the middle of the screen, adjust the height of the screen using items like books.

To keep your head from gradually drifting forward, take frequent breaks to stretch. Getting up to walk around at least once every half-hour is one of the best neck pain tips.

Neck Pain Tips: Use a telephone headset

Never hold a phone between your shoulder and your ear. Use a headset or other hands-free system to talk on the phone and avoid abusing your neck and spine.

Neck Pain Tips: Exercise your neck muscles

One of the best neck pain tips is using the chin tuck. You can do this often throughout the day. In addition to helping strengthen the muscles that hold the head in alignment over the shoulders, it also helps strengthen the scalene and sub-occipital muscles.

Read more tips here: Neck Pain Tips: Sleeping, Posture, Exercising, Hydration & Prevention

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Temed Holdings
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Q:
What is the best treatment for neck pain and shoulder Pain?
A:

One of the best treatment for neck pain and shoulder pain is exercises:

Neck Pain Exercises: Neck Extension

  1. To begin this neck pain exercise, sit up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Looking straight ahead, tuck your chin slightly (starting position)
  3. Place the palm of your hand on the back of your neck, at the base of your head
  4. Apply slight forward pressure with your hand, while resisting the forward motion of your neck and head
  5. Hold for a count of 5 and return to the starting position and relax
  6. Repeat the neck pain exercises 5-10 times

Neck pain exercises: Side bend

  1. Sit up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Looking straight ahead, tuck your chin slightly (starting position)
  3. Place your left hand, palm down, on the left side of your head (around your ear)
  4. Slightly push your head to the right side with your hand, while resisting the sideways motion of your neck and head
  5. Hold for a count of 5 and return to the starting position and relax.
  6. Repeat 5-10 times
  7. Repeat the neck pain exercises with the other side.

Neck pain exercises: Neck flexion

  1. Sit up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Looking straight ahead, tuck your chin slightly (starting position)
  3. Place the tips of your fingers on your forehead
  4. Slightly push your head backward with your fingers, while resisting the backward motion of your neck and head
  5. Hold for a count of 5 and return to the starting position and relax.
  6. Repeat the neck pain exercises 5-10 times

More exercises here: Neck Pain Exercises

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Temed Holdings
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Q:
How do I reduce the shoulder and neck pain?
A:

Here are some tips:

Neck Pain Tips: Sleep with a cervical pillow

Orthopedic or cervical pillows are made with special contours to support the space beneath the neck and head. They are also more concave for the head and provide more support to the neck.

Neck Pain Tips: Sleep on your back

The best position to lie to sleep is on your back. If you sleep on your stomach or on your side, make sure your pillow is not too thick. It should raise your head no more than 4 to 6 inches. This will keep your neck and head from turning to either side.

Neck Pain Tips: Position your computer screen at eye level

While you are working at a computer, sit comfortably in your chair with your computer in front of you. Close your eyes and then open them. When you open your eyes, you should see the middle of the computer screen. If your gaze is not in the middle of the screen, adjust the height of the screen using items like books.

To keep your head from gradually drifting forward, take frequent breaks to stretch. Getting up to walk around at least once every half-hour is one of the best neck pain tips.

Neck Pain Tips: Carry weight evenly

Many people make the mistake of carrying a heavy briefcase or their purse on their shoulder or on one side of their body. Doing this causes strain in the muscles and leads to pain.

Remove non-essentials from your briefcase or purse. Consider using a backpack to evenly distribute the weight across your shoulders. If you choose to carry a purse or backpack, keep your shoulders level while carrying it.

Neck Pain Tips: Maintain a proper posture

The most common posture contributing to neck pain is the “head-and-shoulders-forward” posture. In this position, the neck slopes forward, putting the head in front of the shoulders.

In this position, the head pulls the upper back forward also in a slumped position. This places a strain on the entire spinal column.

More tips here: Neck Pain Tips: Sleeping, Posture, Exercising, Hydration & Prevention

Read more
Temed Holdings
4 answers