Back pain is one of the most common problems seen in doctors’ surgeries.
While it’s true that in most cases it’s possible to treat it with simple care, it’s no less true that it can eventually become a chronic condition requiring specialised attention.
What is back pain?
It’s a feeling of physical pain in any area of the spine or back.
Among the types of back pain that can manifest are:
- Acute pain, which occurs suddenly and usually lasts less than six weeks; or
- Chronic pain, which may last for more than three months, or even indefinitely.
On the other hand, the intensity of back pain varies from mild discomfort to a severe level that could limit our mobility.
Some areas of the back are more prone to pain than others.
Middle and upper back pain (from the base of the neck to the bottom of the rib cage) is less common than lumbalgia (low back pain, between the base of the ribs and the beginning of the thigh).
This is because the bones in the upper and middle areas do not flex and move as much as the corresponding bones in the lower back.
There are many causes of back pain.
Carrying out everyday and work-related activities
- Executing repetitive movements such as lifting heavy objects or making a sudden wrong movement.
- Sitting or driving the vehicle for long uninterrupted periods.
- Standing for long hours.
- Bending over abruptly.
- Fatigue or stress.
- Assuming improper postures.
Back pain causes.
Diseases or injuries
- Osteoporosis, when the vertebrae are exposed to fractures as the bones are porous and fragile.
- Arthrosis, which affects the back at the joint level.
- Muscle strain or other injuries to the muscles, ligaments or discs that support the spine.
- Pressure on the spinal nerves, caused by various problems, most commonly a herniated disc.
- Trauma due to accidents…
Back pain rarely occur as a result of infections, cancer or gallbladder disease.
What are the symptoms of back pain?
Among the most common symptoms of back pain are the following:
- Localised throbbing pain or pain radiating down the leg.
- A tingling or burning sensation.
- Muscle tightness or stiffness.
- Discomfort in the leg, hip, knee or sole of the foot.
How to treat it
In general, the treatment of How to relieve back pain is simple and can be carried out at home, except for certain medical diagnoses that require special care.
What can be done at home to treat back pain?
In most cases, it’s possible to control mild to moderate back pain with simple home care and practices.
Here we explain how to get rid of back pain, or at least mitigate it:
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever, although we always recommend that any medication is supervised by a doctor.
- Take a temporary break.
- Place a cold compress or heating pad on the affected area. Heat helps to reduce stiffness and pain, while ice helps to reduce swelling and can also reduce pain.
- Massage yourself with your hands, using moderate strokes, focussing on the painful areas.
- Hold correct posture at all times. Stand upright when standing and sit without slouching or slumping.
- Sleep on your side or on your back, with your head resting on a pillow. Placing another pillow under your knees if you’re on your back is recommended, or between your knees when sleeping on your side.
- Learn how to manage stress. Try meditation, deep breathing and relaxation.
- Perform exercises, especially those that stretch and strengthen your back, shoulder and core muscles.
Exercises to strengthen your back
If planning an exercise routine for back pain, you should include the following:
- Lying on your stomach, support yourself with your forearms and feet, keeping your back straight.
- Your arms should be at an angle of 90 degrees to the floor.
- Hold this position for 20-30-40 or even 60 seconds and rest.
- Try and repeat this 3 – 4 times.
- Similar to the previous exercise, but support using one forearm and one foot only, on the same side, with a straight back.
- Hold this position for the same length of time as the previous one, depending on your physical condition.
- It’s best to try and do it 2 or 3 times.
- This exercise consists of lying face down on a mat to stretch the joints of your arms and legs.
- You have to simultaneously raise your arms and legs slightly, to lift them off the floor.
- After approximately 5 seconds, lower your arms and legs.
- Three or four sets of 10 repetitions each are recommended.
- One arm is raised and the opposite leg is lifted.
- Your arm and leg will be completely horizontal.
- Then perform the same exercise with the opposite arm and leg.
- We recommend 3 or 4 sets of 10-15 repetitions each.
Lifting your head and chest, lying face down
- Lying face down, with your belly against the floor, raise your head and chest, supporting your weight with your forearms.
- Then arch your back until your arms are straight and support your weight with your hands.
- Hold this position for about 10 seconds and rest.
- Try and repeat it 4 or 5 times.
Other tips and recommendations
To conclude, let’s remember that the back is our vital axis, we need to take care of it much more than we unfortunately tend to do, and incorporating techniques that correct our posture such as Pilates can also help to keep our back health in optimal condition.
- “El dolor de espalda. Prevención y tratamiento” Dr Claus Knapp 1999.
- “Remedios naturales para el dolor de espalda” Knowlegde Treasure Collection.
- “El dolor de espalda” Jean-Yves Maigne.
- Aportaciones y experiencia personal.
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