Back Pain

If you read this article, you will know that back pain occurs in about 20% of all Americans. Many of those people experience considerable discomfort, disability, and immobilization. Back Pain

The backbone consists of 24 separate bones (vertebrae). Cushioning the space between each vertebra and the next is a spongy, jelly-filled disk surrounded by a tough fibrous coating. The backbone also houses spinal cord, which runs through the spaces between the vertebral and serves as the main pathway for the central nervous system. Many different nerve roots emerge from the spinal cord that transmits messages between the brain and every other part of the body.

In some people with back pain injury, depending on the location, the result could either be paralysis, pain, or loss of sensation. Back pain can result due to a tumor, infection, abscess, and heavy lifting. Lower back pain is usually divided into 3 categories: herniated disk syndrome; spasms and strains; lumbarspinal stenosis. In the case of herniated disk, one of the disks cushioning the vertebral ruptures, and some jellylike substances ooze out and presses on a spinal nerve. It causes a kind of shooting pain (sciatica), which radiates through the back of the thigh and down the outer part of the leg. In the case of spasms and strains, a movement as simple as a sneeze, a sudden twist, or a stretch, may tear or pull the muscles of the back, causing pain, spasms and strain. In the case of lumbar spinal stenosis, an overgrowth of bone and other tissue into spinal canal compresses spinal nerves, causing the numbness, pain, weakness, and frequent feeling of heaviness in the legs.

People with poor posture and who are obese are likely to develop back pain. Individuals that do heavy lifting or expose themselves to vibration are also likely to develop some time of back pain at some point in their life. In women, back pain develops in the later months of pregnancy and in the first few months after the delivery; when body and weight mechanics are not normal and there is extra stress on the back from carrying and lifting the baby.

If symptoms of back pain persist for more than 2 weeks, people should contact a doctor for evaluation. The doctor will order different types of tests, such as x-rays, MRI, CT, blood, and urine tests to determine the exact cause of the complication.

Back pain is treated with antiflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, and mild exercises, which strengthen supporting muscles. Massage and moist heated applications may be helpful as well. In some cases corticosteroid injection is needed to relieve the pain. In severe cases of back pain surgery may be required. In order to prevent this condition, people should take breaks for stretching exercises when spending long time sitting or driving. Also, people should avoid lifting heavy objects and those who are overweight must try to lose weight.

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