Tuesday, June 24, 2014

BACK PAIN (All you need to know)

Back pain is one of the most common medical problems, affecting 9 out of 10 people at some point during their lives. Back pain can range from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp pain. This pain or discomfort can happen anywhere in your back, the most common area affected is your low back. This is because the low back supports most of your body's weight. Acute back pain comes on suddenly and usually lasts from a few days to a few weeks. Back pain is called chronic if it lasts for more than three months.

                                                 

Acute Low Back Ache

Acute low back pain is most often caused by a sudden injury to the muscles and ligaments supporting the back. The pain may be caused by muscle spasms or a strain or tear in the muscles and ligaments.

Causes of sudden low back pain include:

1. Compression fractures to the spine from osteoporosis
2. Cancer involving the spine
3. Fracture of the spinal cord
4. Muscle spasm (very tense muscles)
5. Ruptured or herniated disk
6. Sciatica (numbness/ tingling running down the leg)
7. Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal)
8. Spine curvatures (like scoliosis or kyphosis), which may be inherited and seen in children
9. Strain or tears to the muscles or ligaments supporting the back



chronic low back ache

It may result from arthritic (wear and tear  that occurs over the year) changes, which may be due to -

1. Heavy use from work or sports
2. Past injuries and fractures
4. Surgical intervention of the spine in the past
5. Discal changes over the years resulting from herniation of disc which once upon a time was an acute problem

other causes can be..

6. long standing cases of scoliosis and kyphosis
7. Medical problems, such as fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis


Symptoms

Low back pain can vary widely. The pain may be mild, or it can be so severe that you are unable to move.A variety of symptoms depending upon the cause can appear in the back, buttock region, thigh and at times till toes. You may have a tingling or burning sensation, a dull achy feeling, or sharp pain, weakness in your legs or feet.



You are at greater risk for low back pain if you:

1. Are over age 30
2. Are overweight
3. are pregnant
4. Do not exercise
5. Feel stressed or depressed
6. Have a job in which you have to do a lot of heavy lifting, bending and twisting, or that involves whole body vibration (such as truck driving or using a sandblaster)
7. Smoke



                                                      BACK CARE AT HOME

A common myth about back pain is that you need to rest and avoid activity for a long time. In fact, doctors do not recommend bed rest. If you have no sign of a serious cause for your back pain (such as loss of bowel or bladder control, weakness, weight loss, or fever), stay as active as possible.

                                                

Here are tips for how to handle back pain and activity:

1. Stop normal physical activity for only the first few days. This helps calm your symptoms and reduce swelling (inflammation) in the area of the pain.
2. Apply heat or ice to the painful area. Use ice for the first 48 to 72 hours, then use heat.
3. Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
4. Sleep in a curled-up, fetal position with a pillow between your legs. If you usually sleep on your back, place a pillow or rolled towel under your knees to relieve pressure.
5. Do not do activities that involve heavy lifting or twisting of your back for the first 6 weeks after the pain.
6. Do not exercise in the days right after the pain begins. After 2 to 3 weeks, slowly begin to exercise again.

A physiotherapist can teach you which exercises are right for you.

                                                           

A complete exercise program should include aerobic activity (such as walking, swimming, or riding a stationary bicycle), as well as stretching and strength training. Follow the instructions of your physiotherapist.

Begin with light cardiovascular training. Walking, riding a stationary bicycle, and swimming are great examples. These types of aerobic activities can help improve blood flow to your back and promote healing. They also strengthen muscles in your stomach and back.

Stretching and strengthening exercises are important in the long run. Keep in mind that starting these exercises too soon after an injury can make your pain worse. Strengthening your abdominal muscles can ease the stress on your back. A physiotherapist can help you determine when to begin stretching and strengthening exercises and how to do them.

Avoid these exercises during recovery, unless your doctor or physiotherapist say it is okay:

Jogging
Contact sports
Racquet sports
Golf
Dancing
Weight lifting
Leg lifts when lying on your stomach
Sit-ups

TAKING MEASURES TO PREVENT FUTURE BACK PAIN

To prevent back pain, learn to lift and bend properly. Follow these tips:

If an object is too heavy or awkward, get help.
Spread your feet apart to give you a wide base of support.
Stand as close as possible to the object you are lifting.
Bend at your knees, not at your waist.
Tighten your stomach muscles as you lift or lower the object.
Hold the object as close to your body as you can.
Lift using your leg muscles.
As you stand up while holding the object, do not bend forward.
Do not twist while you are bending to reach for the object, lifting it up, or carrying it.

Other measures to prevent back pain include:

Avoid standing for long periods. If you must stand for your work, place a stool by your feet. Alternate resting each foot on the stool.
Do not wear high heels. Wear shoes that have cushioned soles when walking.
When sitting, especially if using a computer, make sure that your chair has a straight back with an adjustable seat and back, armrests, and a swivel seat.
Use a stool under your feet while sitting so that your knees are higher than your hips.
Place a small pillow or rolled towel behind your lower back while sitting or driving for long periods.
If you drive long distance, stop and walk around every hour. Do not lift heavy objects just after a long ride.
Quit smoking.
Lose weight.
Do exercises to strengthen your abdominal muscles. This will strengthen your core to decrease the risk of further injuries.
Learn to relax. Try methods such as yoga, tai chi, or massage.



(courtesy-NIH-US)


If the symptoms doesn't improve contact PAIN FREE PHYSIOTHERAPY CLINIC.

Dr. Roshan Jha(PT)
Sr. Physiotherapist
Pain Free Physiotherapy Clinic