Healthy Living

What Is Back Pain: Get The Facts

What Is Back Pain: Get The Facts

Every now and then, you hear people complaining about constant back pain. According to statistics, about 80% of Americans will suffer from back pain at one point of their life.

Back pain can be caused by many things, but it is most commonly triggered by incorrect sitting or standing positions, not lifting things properly, and improper bending. Back pain might sometimes be quite painful, although even a mild case make you feel very uncomfortable. Although anybody can get back pain, people from the ages of 35 to 55 are more likely to experience it.    


Back Pain is common and normal

Strains and sprains are experienced in our day-to-day activities. In most cases, people recover fully within a short period of time, from between two weeks to three months. A very small percentage of people might develop lasting injury or disabling issues.


Scans are rarely needed

When a patient comes in for back pain, medical professionals usually recommend a scan so as not to miss anything in treating the patient. Evidence has however shown that scans only get really important in something like 5% of patients.

While it is advisable for you to visit a healthcare expert who, from your symptoms and medical history, will recommend a scan, this advice comes with a caveat.  

Interpreting scans should come with a health warning

When it comes to scans for a patient's back pain, one consideration to bear in mind is that scans usually highlight things that are not necessarily associated with the pain. Studies have revealed that people without back pains have the following things: 52% of people have bulging discs, 90% of people have deteriorated or black disc, 28% have herniated discs, while those who have visible changes due to arthritis are at 38%.  

Persons with back pain, however, are informed that these things show that they have damaged backs. This can lead to more fear, distress, or reduced-to-no activity. Yet most of these things revealed by scans are actually due to aging or genetics, and don’t necessarily lead to any pain.


Back pain is not caused by something being out of place

A bone or joint that is not in the correct position does not necessarily result in back pain, and neither does a pelvis that is not aligned. The majority of persons with back pain show no indication of disc, joint, or bone misalignment. Neither is back pain likely to be associated with changes in spinal alignment. 

Most people who undergo manipulation of the back feel relieved, but actually, this perceived progress is simply the result of a temporary reduction of pain, fear, and muscle tension, and not because of body structure realigning. 


Bed rest is not helpful

When you first experience pain in your back, stay away from activities that can aggravate the pain. However, do stay active and go back to your normal duties and daily routines gradually, as this will aid your recovery.

Continued bed rest, on the other hand, is known to aggravate the pain and can result in a longer period of recovery. 


More back pain does not mean more back damage

As strange as it may seem, more pain does not necessarily mean more damage. Two people with the same injury do not necessarily experience the same amount of pain. Various factors determine the amount of pain experienced by an individual. Among these factors are stress levels, fears, mood, location of the pain, earlier pain experience, how you cope, and your health. Environment also matters--for example, a soldier or an athlete does not experience much pain in the thick of action. The pain hits them only later in a situation that is not as intense.

As well, the ability of our nervous system to regulate pain varies. Hypersensitivity in some people might last even after the condition has become stable. Sensitivity of the nervous system might cause a person to sense pain when they move or turn, even if no damage to the spine is being caused. It is important for a back pain sufferer to be aware that feeling pain is different from an actual back injury or problem.    


Surgery is rarely needed

Only a very small percentage of persons with back pain need surgery. Most cases of back pain are manageable through the sufferer's being active, understanding better what back pain is, and getting to know the factors that instigate or worsen their pain. This will help them in continuing to perform their daily chores and activities without necessarily resorting to surgery. Looking at it from the medium to long term perspective, exercise has better results as compared with surgery.


Schoolbags are safe

Many people hold the notion that heavy schoolbags might cause back pain in children. However, research has found no link associating the two and shown no difference between children who carry heavy bags and those who do not, as to who develops back pain. If a parent or child is worried about back pain resulting from carrying a heavy schoolbag, the child will most likely have back pain, highlighting how fear can influence back pain development.

On the contrary, parents should consider that children who carry heavy schoolbags get exercise thereby, which helps improve their health. 


The perfect sitting posture may not exist

Sitting upright doesn’t prevent or minimize back pain as popularly believed. Everybody has their own sitting position. Some people even complain of back pains because of sitting straight or slouching. However much negative press slouching gets, we don’t have scientific proof supporting this notion. As a matter of fact, persons who have back pains can assume very stiff postures with it not making any difference.

For persons with back pain, it is important to have varying postures alongside learning how to walk in a confident, stress-free, and variable way.


Lifting and bending are safe

In contrast to avoiding lifting heavy objects and bending, people should practice safe bending and lifting procedures as these activities are not dangerous nor should they be avoided. These safe bending and lifting procedures help strengthen ones back, just as an athlete who resumes running after spraining an ankle can more quickly get back on track.


Avoiding activities and moving carefully does not help in the long-term

It is not unusual to see someone alter their movements in the first couple of days of the back pain. Though it is hard at first to go back to your normal activities due to pain, there is actually no problem with it. Most people change their movements and activities to avoid aching after an incident of back pain, although this should really not be done. These altered movements are actually unhealthy and can cause strain on the back. 


Poor sleep influences back pain

Lack of sleep can be caused by pain, and too much sleep can also cause future back pains. It operates both ways as lack of sleep can result in headaches, weariness, as well as persistent back pain. So to help reduce pain, get adequate sleep.   


Stress, low mood, and worry influence back pain

Our mood and stress can easily trigger the pain we experience. These factors can be associated with other unhealthy conditions like irritable bowel disorder, cold lesions, and fatigue. Managing stress by engaging in things that we love and relaxing will greatly help reduce back pain.   


Exercise is good and safe

Exercising is the last thing on our minds when we have back pains. But one of the best activities to engage in is exercise, as not only will it help you keep your body healthy and fit, but also do away with the pain and discomfort. When we exercise the body regularly, our immune system is strengthened, the muscles relax, and our moods change. Feeling uncomfortable after exercising is normal for previously dormant, un-exercised muscles. Simple exercises like cycling, walking in the park, running up the stairs, and stretching will help ease the stressed muscles in your body.


Persistent back pain CAN get better

Back pain can be linked with a varied number of factors that differ between persons. Undergoing therapy and taking medication but still getting back pains may cause one a lot of frustration and discouragement. It is important for the doctor to correctly determine the factors correlating to the patient's back pains and prescribe a treatment regimen aimed at the specific factors causing the back pain in an individual.