Back Pain: The Basics

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  • Overview
  • Symptoms & Causes
  • Testing & Diagnosis
  • Treatment
  • Living With Back Pain

What is lower back pain?

Pain in the lower portion of your back is due to a problem with the spine, soft tissues or muscles in that area. Back pain is often temporary and goes away on its own in two to four weeks; a trip to the doctor isn’t typically necessary. Light stretching, pain medication and hot/cold presses are all common self-treatments for back pain that you can do at home.

How can I manage back pain?

Back pain is most commonly caused by straining or injury to the muscles and ligaments in the back. This is easily self-treatable with rest, heat presses and pain relief medication. It should typically disappear within a few days, though it may last as long as a month.

What should I do for a sore back?

Most cases of back pain will go away naturally with time and plenty of rest. You can take pain relief medication or physiotherapy to speed the healing process.

What causes severe back pain?

The most common cause of back pain is injury to the ligaments supporting the spine. The pain typically clears up on its own after a short period. If lying down and resting the muscles don’t relieve the pain, or your back pain is accompanied by numbness or pain in other areas of your body, you should consult an expert. Severe back pain may be caused be a problem affecting the spine or spinal nerves, such as fractured vertebrae, herniated spinal disc or spinal cord. Kidney problems such as a kidney stone can cause severe back pain. Severe back pain should be checked by a medical professional.

What causes hip pain?

Pain located in the outer hip, outer buttock, or thigh is commonly caused by a problem affecting the muscles, tendons, ligaments, or tissues around the hip joint. Some disease and other health conditions may also cause hip pain.

Why does my upper back hurt so much?

Upper back pain is typically caused by straining or injury to the muscles in the upper back. It may also be related to a problem with your spine, nerves, or spinal discs that sit between the vertebrae and support the back. A medical professional should be consulted for upper back pain that is severe.

What causes lower back and hip pain?

Back pain relating to the spine can also affect the buttocks and hips. A herniated spinal disc might cause a sciatica—a pinched nerve, which can create pain in the back of your hip down through to the legs.

Does scoliosis cause back pain?

Scoliosis doesn’t typically cause back pain. If back pain is present with scoliosis, it is usually related to stress on the spinal discs, nerves, muscles or joints due to curving of the spine. The abnormal curving itself isn’t usually the cause of the pain.

Does stress cause back pain?

High levels of stress can affect the muscles in your back. Your muscles may tense due to stress, eventually triggering back pain or exacerbating existing back pain.

What causes SI joint pain?

Sacroiliac joint dysfunction is inflammation of the SI joint, also known as sacroiliitis. Sacroiliitis can be caused by a number of conditions including osteoarthritis, anklyosing spondylitis, gout, and pregnancy.

Can back pain cause chest pain?

Back pain does not necessarily cause chest pain, but certain spinal conditions that cause back pain may also be accompanied by pain in the chest. The spinal discs can refer pain from your back straight on through your chest, making coughing or sneezing painful. If you have known coronary artery disease, the pain in your back could be bad enough to give you angina or chest pain.

What causes middle back pain?

Overuse or strain of the muscles in the back, or injury to the muscles, ligaments and discs that help support the spine are all common causes behind middle back pain. Pressure on the spinal nerves due to an irregularity in the bone or tissue, such as a herniated disc or fractured vertebrae, might also be the culprit.

What causes severe lower back pain?

Severe lower back pain is typically caused by injury to the muscles and ligaments that help support the back. Muscle spasms or a tear in the muscles may be the source of the pain.

What can cause lower back pain in a woman?

Though lower back pain is most commonly caused by injured ligaments or tendons in the lower portion of the back, women may also experience lower back pain associated with pelvic inflammatory disease, premenstrual syndrome, endometriosis and early pregnancy.

Why does my lower back hurt so much?

Lower back pain is commonly caused by injury to the ligaments and tendons in the lower back, typically due to prolonged or excessive strain applied to the muscles. This strain may be caused by lifting heavy loads or sitting with bad posture for long periods of time. Lower back pain is sometimes caused by problems with the spine, spinal cord, nerves or spinal discs.

What causes lower back spasms?

The most common cause of back pain is injury to the ligaments or soft tissue in the lower portion of the back. This is usually due to poor posture or any activity the puts prolonged or excessive strain to the muscles and ligaments. A ruptured or bulging spinal disc vertebrae might also be putting pressure on a nerve, causing back pain.

Is lower back pain a sign of pregnancy?

Slight lower back pain is just one of the possible symptoms of early pregnancy. However, lower back pain itself isn’t necessarily indicative of a pregnancy.

Why does my lower back hurt when I walk?

Lower back pain during upright activities like walking and running is commonly related to over-arching of the spine, known as hyperlordosis. This is a posture-related issue that is easily diagnosed and corrected.

What causes lower right back pain?

Lower back pain located specifically in the lower right area of the back might indicate an issue with your right kidney, such as infection or kidney stones. A kidney-related condition can cause dull to significant pain in the lower right or lower left back.

What causes lower left back pain?

Back pain isolated to the lower left area of the back could be a sign of infection in the left kidney. Other kidney related problems, like kidney stones, are also a possible cause.

What causes lower back pain?

The most common cause of lower back pain is a tear in a muscle or ligament. Other common causes of back pain are mechanical issues and injuries to soft tissue in the back. These include injury to the intervertebral discs, nerve root compression and improper movement of joints.

Why do I have back pain?

Pain in the lower portion of the back is commonly associated with problems in the spine, spinal discs between the vertebrae, nerves and spinal cord, or the muscles and soft tissue in the lumbar area.

What causes back pain?

Lower back pain is symptomatic of an irregularity in the bony lumbar spine, lumbar discs, ligaments around the spine, spinal cord, nerves, internal organs or lumbar area skin.

Should I go to a doctor for my back pain?

Back pain doesn’t usually call for a trip to the doctor. In most cases, a strained or injured muscle or ligament in the back is the cause and will typically go away within a few weeks. You may need to have a doctor look at it if the pain is severe, lasts for more than four weeks and does not improve after some rest and pain medication.

What should I do if I have lower back pain?

Significant back pain that makes it impossible for you to move and sleep, or causes loss of bladder and bowel control, should immediately be looked at by a doctor. In the majority of cases, the pain should disappear on its own. Resting your back, applying heat or cold to the affected area, light exercise or use of pain relievers are all ways to self-treat back pain.

How can I stop lower back pain?

If your lower back pain is severe enough that it affects your ability to perform basic actions like walking, you should have it looked at by a doctor. In most cases, the pain will disappear on its own within a month. You can relieve the pain during the healing process with heat presses, light exercise, physiotherapy and pain relief medication.

What should I do if I have severe back pain?

Acute back pain is typically associated with a serious condition such as bulging or rupturing of the spinal discs or fracture of the vertebrae. If your back pain is severe enough to affect your ability to perform basic daily actions, you should consult a trained medical expert. The problem may not be self-treatable.

How do you treat lower back pain?

Most cases of lower back pain disappear on their own in two to four months. Your doctor may recommend physiotherapy or pain killers to help. Physical therapy, massage and acupuncture can also relieve the pain. Light exercise and heating pads can be used for self-treatment.

What medications can I take for back pain?

Non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory pain relievers like ibuprofen, naproxen or acetaminophen can make the healing process much less painful for you.

What helps lower back pain?

Light stretching can help relax the muscles in the lower back and relieve back pain. Physiotherapy and pain relief medication are also common ways of treating back pain. A hot or cold press applied to the pain can make the healing process more tolerable. In most cases, just taking a break and resting your lower back help a lot to relieve the pain.

How can I get rid of lower back pain?

Lower back pain generally disappears within a month. The healing process can be made more tolerable with pain relievers or expedited with physiotherapy. Persistent back pain should be checked by a medical professional. Some cases may require surgery.

How can I get rid of back pain?

Most cases of back pain disappear naturally within two to four weeks. Pain relievers and physiotherapy can help the healing process. Applying heat or cold to the area can also help relieve the pain and expedite the healing process. Depending on the underlying cause, light exercise can also be effective. Significant back pain that hinders your ability to perform basic activities should be looked at by a medical professional.

How can I help my lower back pain?

Applying hot or cold presses to the area of pain can help temporarily relieve lower back pain. Physiotherapy and pain relief medication can also help. If your pain lasts for longer than a month, or it affects your ability to perform basic actions, then you should have it looked at by a medical professional.

How can I avoid back pain?

Maintaining good posture and performing back-straightening and stretching exercises twice a week can help protect your back and prevent back pain. Avoid heavy lifting if possible. If it is not doable, make sure you are lifting correctly.

How should I sleep with back pain?

To relieve back pain, sleep on your side, placing a pillow between the knees to ensure the spine rests in a neutral position. If you must sleep on your back, place a pillow below your knees. Anti-inflammatory drugs or other pain relievers may be needed. If the pain persists a visit to your physician is in order.

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