The bark of the “back ache” is always stronger than its bite. The pain makes it much worse than it actually is.
One in every four people has had a back ache at some point of time in his life. Its a professional hazard for dentists, engineers and farmers. Pain in the lower back starts off as a regular occurrence and people generally tend to move on with it by popping pills on and off. So, are these pills capable of eradicating back aches? Do we need to worry at all, or rather when should we start taking our back pain seriously?
- Postural back ache is the most common form of back ache in the younger lot. Inappropriate postures, sitting for long hours, stooping or bending forwards worsen the pain. Attention to postures and back strengthening exercises can go a long way in keeping postural back ache at bay.
- There are cases when the occurrence of pain is sudden, probably after lifting a heavy load, and the pain itself is sharp and gets worse with sneezing or coughing with the pain radiating from the lower back to the legs, known as “sciatica“. Before rushing to get some expensive tests done which are not always needed, it’s better to consult a physician. These kind of pains usually get better with time.
- Pain in the lower back can be a harbinger of chronic arthritis of the spine in younger individuals, more so often, in men. This kind of pain is felt in the mornings or wee hours in the night and is associated with stiffness of the spine. People experiencing this pain may find it difficult to get out of bed, but the pain seems to subside after some activity. The problem is usually hereditary and such symptoms call for a “Ankylosing Spondylitis” check. HLA B27 is a useful test under such conditions, as a positive result increases the probability of AS manifold and thus visiting a rheumatologist becomes imminent.
- There are other kinds of back pains which get triggered during the nights and are experienced by the elderly with brittle bones, which could indicate fracture, or in some cases an underlying cancer.
- A vast majority of back pains in the elderly are results of osteoarthritis. These pains are more age-related and often caused due to wear and tear of joints and are best managed conservatively.
In addition to these different kinds of back aches, there are certain other symptoms that people have to watch out for. Weakness or stiffness of arms and legs, numbness and problems with urination are a few important ones.
I hope I have demystified those agonizing back pains to a certain degree. I would be happy and more than willing to answer any questions or queries in this regard. Please post your questions in the comments and I will do my best to answer all of them.