The human back has a sophisticated structure. Problems with any components of our back, such as discs, tendons, ligaments, and muscles can lead to back pain. In rare cases, the cause is difficult to identify.

Causes

Here are some notable causes of back pain:

  • Strained muscles, ligaments or a muscle spasm
  • Lifting something heavily or improperly
  • Ruptured or bulging disks
  • Sciatica
  • Arthritis
  • Unusual spine curvature
  • Osteoporosis
  • Cancer or infection of the spine
  • Sleep disorders
  • Shingles

Sometimes a bad mattress or a poor structure while sitting or standing also leads to back pain.

Risk Factors

Following are the risk factors for back pain, particularly in the lower back region:

  • Stressful work shifts
  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • Old age
  • Pregnancy
  • Obesity and overweight
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Intense physical activity
  • Smoking

It is also observed that back pain is more common in females than males.

Signs and symptoms

A dominant symptom of back pain is an ache or pain that is felt anywhere on the back and sometimes travels all the way down to the legs and buttocks. A few back issues cause pain in other parts of the body if it has affected the nerves.

Visit your doctor immediately if you notice any of these signs or symptoms with your back pain:

  • Persistent back pain
  • Inflammation
  • Fever
  • Injury or trauma to the back
  • Fecal and urinary incontinence
  • Numbness around the genitals, buttocks, and anus

In a large number of cases, all symptoms and signs fade away on their own within a short time period.

Treatments

Back pain is usually handled with over-the-counter medications. Applying an ice pack or a hot press is also helpful in relieving the pain. Resting also helps to reduce the intensity of the pain. However, too much rest can actually weaken the muscles that lead to future problems. Some muscle release techniques also alleviate pain and help soft tissues.

Moreover, a physical therapist can also introduce you to some basic exercise and postures to improve your back pain. Cortisone, which is an anti-inflammatory drug, reduces inflammation around the nerve roots and efficiently provides relief that lasts up to six weeks. Moreover, Cognitive behavioral therapy also helps patients to manage their chronic back pain. Other contemporary therapies are also helpful in relieving back pain. A chiropractor, an osteopath or a yoga instructor are popular for offering successful treatments that help you get rid of back pain permanently.

When to Request an Evaluation?

Contact your doctor immediately if you don’t experience any relief after medication or physical therapy. Back pain usually becomes worse at night when you lie down to sleep. If your back pain is causing numbness in one or both your legs, it’s time to see your doctor.

Preparing for Your Appointment

The doctor is likely to inquire about the symptoms and intensity of your back pain. Prepare the questions you need to ask your doctor, such as how to improve your posture while sitting in front of a computer. You will also have to give an account of how intense or dull your back pain is.