Back pain is a common condition especially in the elderly. The reason for back pain includes poor posture, lack of exercise and underlying medical conditions. Various factors also trigger back pain. The treatment of back pain depends upon the cause and severity.
- Osteoporosis: In this condition, the bones become brittle and porous which may cause a compression fracture. A compression fracture in the spine causes back pain. In osteoporosis,risk of fracture is high because of fragile bones.
- Muscles or ligament pain: Muscles or ligament strain iscauseddue to heavy lifting and awkward movement. This may result in back pain. If a person is physically weak then a slight strain may cause pain in the back.
- Arthritis: Arthritis on the lumbar or lower back region is known as lumbar arthritis. It may cause inflammation in joints and bone of the lower part of the back. The inflammation in joint and bones results in lower back pain.
- Cauda equina syndrome: In this condition, cauda equine gets damaged which causes pain in the back. Cauda equina is a bundle of spinal nerve root which is located in the lower end of the spinal cord.
- Shingles: It is an infection of spinal nerve which causesa painful blister on the skin. In this condition, patients feel burning and tingling sensation on the affected site. Shingles infection is a type of viral infection which is caused by the herpes virus. The condition may also result in back pain.
- Bulging and ruptured disk: Disk is cushion-like material which is located between spinal vertebrae. If this cushion bulgeor damaged, the nerve gets compressed causing pain in the back.
- Skeletal irregularities: Sometimes there is a curve in the spine which may also cause back pain.
- Cancer of spine: Back pain is a common symptom of spine cancer which may press against the nerve leading to pain.
- Age: Back pain is getting worse with age because, with age, the muscles lose their elasticity. The strength of bone continuously decreases with age, and spine loss their cushioning material due to regular wear and tear,resulting in back pain.
- Smoking: Smoking increasesthe chance of back pain as it reduces the level of calcium in the body and stops bone growth. In smokers, the risk of osteoporosis is significantly higher.
- Lack of exercise: Lack of exercise can worsen your back pain because of weak muscles and reduced flexibility of muscles.
- Improper lifting: Improper lifting is a common risk factor for back pain. the improper lifting such as heavy lifting, lifting on the ground and twisting spine can cause strain in the back.
- Some medical issues: Medical issues such as arthritis, spine cancer, spinal infection, andthe ruptured disk also have back pain as a symptom.
- Being overweight: Back pain is one of the most common causes of obesity. The extra weight of the stomach pulls the pelvis in backside which causes strain on the lower side of the back. The strain in the lower back causes lower back pain.
Medications: Your doctor will recommend you some medicines based on the type of your back pain;
- NSAIDs: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can relieve back pain. NSAIDs which are used to treat back pain are ibuprofen and naproxen.
- Antidepressant: Your doctor will prescribe you a low dose of antidepressant such as tricyclic antidepressant for back pain because they take affect the activity of neurotransmitters which are responsible for sending pain signals to the brain.
- Muscles relaxant: If the pain does not improve form NSAIDs then your doctor may add muscle relaxant in the prescription to relieve pain.
Physical therapy and exercise: A physical therapist provides many techniques and therapies to reduce back pain such as heat, ultrasound, muscles release techniques and electrical stimulation.
Physical therapists also advise certain exercises which increases flexibility and strength of the abdominal muscles and helps to relieve back pain.
Bioelectric therapy: In this therapy, the doctor will apply a bioelectric current to stop pain signals to the brain. In this technique, small electrodes are applied totheaffected part and connect them froma computer to measure the level of current. A high-frequency current is generated in electrodes which pass through the skin causing slight discomfort. During this treatment, patients feel relaxed by mild vibrating and tingling sensations.
Laminectomy: It is a surgical process which is used to relieve the compression of nerves. In this technique, the surgeon will make a small incision around the spinal cord and push them in the side. After this surgeon will cut ligaments, bone spurs which cause compression on nerves. The surgeon may remove a portion of spinal bones depending on the cause and severity of back pain. The surgeon will then close theincision with the help of stitches and surgical glue.