Back pain is a symptom of a medical condition, and not a diagnosis. It is ache, pain, tension that affects the muscles or bones of the back from the base of the neck to the hips.
Back pain is categorized into two types:
- Acute pain starts suddenly and lasts for up to 6 weeks.
- Chronic or long-term pain develops over a longer period, lasts for over 3 months, and causes ongoing problems.
The back comprises the vertebrae, intervertebral disc, spinal cord, muscles, ligaments and tendons. The vertebrae are bony structures include 7 cervical, 12 dorsal, 5 thoracic, 5 sacral and 4 coccygeal vertebrae. The intervertebral discs are flexible, cartilage structures. One intervertebral disc lies between two vertebrae. These intervertebral discs act as cushions to absorb shock and maintain flexibility of the spine. The vertebrae collectively make the vertebral column with the vertebral canal running through its length in the center. The spinal cord is enclosed between the vertebral canal. The cause of back pain can lie in any of these structures that form the back. The lower back, however, is most vulnerable.
Causes of back pain
- Muscle or ligament strain: Repeated heavy lifting or a sudden awkward movement can strain back muscles and spinal ligaments. If you’re in poor physical condition, constant strain on your back can cause painful muscle spasms.
- Structural problem: A number of structural problems may also result in back pain.
- Ruptured disks: Each vertebra in the spine is cushioned by disks. If the disk ruptures there will be more pressure on a nerve, resulting in back pain.
- Bulging disks: In much the same way as ruptured disks, a bulging disk can result in more pressure on a nerve.
- Sciatica: A sharp and shooting pain travels through the buttock and down the back of the leg, caused by a bulging or herniated disk pressing on a nerve.
- Arthritis: Osteoarthritis can cause problems with the joints in the hips, lower back, and other places. In some cases, the space around the spinal cord narrows. This is known as spinal stenosis.
- Abnormal curvature of the spine: If the spine curves in an unusual way, back pain can result. An example is scoliosis, in which the spine curves to the side.
- Osteoporosis: Bones, including the vertebrae of the spine, become brittle and porous, making compression fractures more likely.
- Kidney problems: Kidney stones or kidney infection can cause back pain.
- Movement and posture: Back pain can also result from some everyday activities or poor posture.
- Coughing or sneezing
- Muscle tension
- Bending awkwardly or for long periods
- Pushing, pulling, lifting, or carrying something
- Standing or sitting for long periods
- Straining the neck forward, such as when driving or using a computer
- Long driving sessions without a break, even when not hunched
- Sleeping on a mattress that does not support the body and keep the spine straight
- Cauda equina syndrome: The cauda equine is a bundle of spinal nerve roots that arise from the lower end of the spinal cord. Symptoms include a dull pain in the lower back and upper buttocks, as well as numbness in the buttocks, genitalia, and thighs. There are sometimes bowel and bladder function disturbances.
- Cancer of the spine: A tumor on the spine may press against a nerve, resulting in back pain.
- Infection of the spine: A fever and a tender, warm area on the back could be due to an infection of the spine.
- Other infections: Pelvic inflammatory disease, bladder, or kidney infections may also lead to back pain.
- Sleep disorders: Individuals with sleep disorders are more likely to experience back pain, compared with others.
- Shingles: An infection that can affect the nerves may lead to back pain. This depends on which nerves are affected.
Sign and symptoms
- Pain in lower portion of the spine
- Pain may radiate down the front back of the leg due herniated disc. this condition called as sciatica pain. This condition called as radiculopathy
- Numbness in leg.
- In severe compression of spinal cord /spinal canal stenosis neurological symptoms seen this condition called as myelopathy
- Myelopathy we see paralysis of the limb, bladder dysfunction leads to incontinence of urine and stool
- Difficulty in walking
Anyone can develop back pain, even children and teens. These factors might put you at greater risk of developing back pain:
- Age: Back pain is more common as you get older, starting around age 30 or 40.
- Lack of exercise: Weak, unused muscles in your back and abdomen might lead to back pain.
- Excess weight: Excess body weight puts extra stress on your back.
- Diseases: Some types of arthritis and cancer can contribute to back pain.
- Improper lifting: Using your back instead of your legs can lead to back pain.
- Psychological conditions: People prone to depression and anxiety appear to have a greater risk of back pain.
- Smoking: Smokers have increased rates of back pain. This may occur because smoking prompts more coughing, which can lead to herniated disks. Smoking can also decrease blood flow to the spine and increase the risk of osteoporosis.
A doctor will usually be able to diagnose back pain after asking about symptoms and carrying out a physical examination.
An imaging scan and other tests may be required if:
- Back pain appears to result from an injury
- There may be underlying cause that needs treatment
- The pain persists over a long period
An X-ray, MRI, or CT scan can give information about the state of the soft tissues in the back.
- X-rays can show the alignment of the bones and detect signs of arthritis or broken bones, but they may not reveal damage in the muscles, spinal cord, nerves, or disks.
- MRI or CT scans can reveal herniated disks or problems with tissue, tendons, nerves, ligaments, blood vessels, muscles, and bones.
- Bone scans can detect bone tumors or compression fractures caused by osteoporosis. A radioactive substance or tracer is injected into a vein. The tracer collects in the bones and helps the doctor detect bone problems with the aid of a special camera.
- Electromyography or EMG measures the electrical impulses produced by nerves in response to muscles. This can confirm nerve compression, which may occur with a herniated disk or spinal stenosis.
Homeopathy is known to effect magical recovery in back pain cases whether resulting from disc complaint, arthritis, injuries or muscle strain. It offers a wide range of highly effective remedies prescribed after detailed analysis and evaluation of symptoms. They are natural and therefore, safe for consumption by all age groups.
Homeopathic medicines offer excellent relief from low back pains. Homeopathic medications can relieve the spasms of the back muscles and provide effective pain relief without any side effects. The working of a homeopathic remedy is like the working of nature itself; it relieves the patient from the sufferings and helps the return to health in treatment for back pain. Homeopathic treatment for back pain induces the healing force to bring about a healthy and natural long-lasting relief to the individual.
Rhus Tox is a top-grade medicine for treating back pain. Some characteristic symptoms indicating its use are the back pain arises from muscle strain due to overstraining or overstretching or from lifting heavy weight, it worsens with rest while the person feels relief from walking or motion. Also, in cases where the back pain gets better with hard pressure, Rhus Tox is the appropriate choice of medicine.
Bryonia Alba is another majorly indicated medicine for treating back pain. A prominent symptom that decides in favour of Bryonia Alba as the best medicine is that the back pain gets worse with motion. Walking also worsens back pain. Rest brings relief. Bryonia Alba is also the most suitable medicine for treating back pain that becomes more severe with stooping and standing.
Aesculus Hippocastanum is a major medicine for back pain affecting the sacrum region. The pain may extend to the hip along with sacrum back. Walking and stooping increase the pain. For some persons needing Aesculus Hippocastanum, rising from a sitting position is a challenge. Intense stiffness is observed in the sacrum and hip region along with the pain.
For back pain in women after childbirth, Kali Carb is considered to be very effective. The pain may get worse on walking and there is a need to stop and take rest before starting to walk again. There is a desire to lie down for relief from back pain. Stiffness or excessive weakness in the back may also attend the pain. Kali Carb is also useful for back pain in women during menses or after a miscarriage.
Helps any type of backache that comes on after a back injury or overexertion. The pain gets worse with motion. The pain improves when the person lies down and rests.
Useful when the person experiences stiffness in the back, especially after sitting still for a long time. Back pain becomes worse at night.
It indicated for lower back pain that radiates down the right lower limb. The pain can vary from sharp, shooting, lightning-like or cramping in nature. Warm applications may offer some relief from pain.
Indicated when pain in nape, back, loins. Backache is better by pressure lying on back. Acts upon periosteum and cartilages.
Useful in compressed injuries punctured wounds. Pain in spine due to concussion, injury to coccyx. Jerking twitching of muscle. Useful in radiculopathy, myelopathy, spinal canal stenosis, disc compression
Useful in pain in lower part of the back, fullness burning pain. Pains due to early degeneration, caries necrosis of the discs. Pains after operations. Tendency to form adhesions, tumours in spine. Indicated in spinal tumours, lumbar spondylosis, ankylosing spondylitis.
Burning pain in back 3 to 4 am. Must sit up in order to turn in bed.
Chief action on fibrous tissue, adopted to rheumatism, gout stiffness in back, lower limbs, stiffness in neck sore shoulder. Left sided sciatica. Pains motion, cool climate, touch.
Suited to sciatica, neuralgic pains. Neuralgia associated with gastralgia.
Sciatica associated with numbness on right sided sciatica. Back pain better by resting on back.
Stiffness between shoulders and dull pain in neck. Sciatica with numbness. Contraction of tendons. Unsteady walking.
Weakness in small of back restless in all limbs, back pain before menses. Back pain associated with pelvic inflammatory diseases.
Cobaltum is used where pain in the back is worse in the sitting position. The pain usually radiates from the lower back down the legs and feet. Weakness in the legs may be felt. Walking may relive the back pain.
Phosphorus is indicated where prolonged sitting leads to back pain. Weakness in the back may also be felt. Burning sensation in the spine is another feature that may attend.
Colocynthis is helpful for back pain radiating down the limbs on the left side. The person needing Colocynthis may get relief from pressure. The pain can be tearing or drawing in nature.