According to statistics, 84% of people have had a back pain at least once in their lives. The spine and its surrounding muscles are part of the musculoskeletal system. Therefore, their damage is often accompanied by pain, which can occur after bending or turning the head and body and weaken at rest. Anatomically, the spine is represented by alternating vertebrae and intervertebral discs.
The latter are subject to degeneration over time, which leads to the formation of protrusions and hernias. These structures themselves can cause pain, and can cause pain by squeezing neighboring structures – nerve roots and ligaments of the spine. In some cases, they can cause stenosis (narrowing) of the spinal canal (the space in which the spinal cord is located).
As a rule, physical pain leads to back pain, especially in cases when it is pronounced or intense, or when it is performed in an unnatural pose, or when it is associated with a long stay in a forced position, for example, driving a car or working at a desk. Of great importance are body weight and physical fitness of a person, since the severity of the load is always relative.
Among other things, the vertebrae are connected by paired facet joints, the structure is more rigid than the intervertebral disc. Their damage in 15-65% of cases causes back pain. Up to 30% of back pain is caused by damage to the sacroiliac joint – a paired structure connecting the sacrum and pelvic bones. Ultimately, any irritation increases the tone of the muscles around, which over time causes a separate myofascial syndrome.
When back pain should alert
Most often, back pain passes by itself and does not require more treatment than taking analgesics. However, it is advisable to inform the doctor at the next appointment that you are in pain and tell how you are managing it. However, sometimes, in difficult cases, the pain is accompanied by a neurological deficit, to which doctors attribute weakness or numbness in the limbs, as well as impaired urination or stool. In this case, a doctor’s consultation is required.
You should be wary if the pain is not associated with movement or is not relieved by analgesics for several weeks. Such pain can indicate a serious pathological process that requires additional examination.
How to understand that back pain is not related to the spine
Quite a few diseases can lead to back pain. Among them – urolithiasis, pancreatitis, peptic ulcer and hiatal hernia. It’s not easy to determine the exact cause. If the pain occurs after eating, going to the toilet, accompanied by nausea, discoloration of the stool or urine, pathological discharge and does not subside at rest, you should think about the disease of internal organs.
You need to be alert if a fever has begun, a rash has appeared on the skin, or an injury has occurred shortly before the onset of pain. Particularly careful should be people with a high risk of fractures and with suspected cancer. If conservative therapy does not help for a long time, this is also an alarming sign.
In all other cases, the prognosis is favorable, the diagnosis is minimal, and treatment is standard.
Which doctor should I treat for back pain and what kind of tests I need
Most back pains can be observed and treated by therapists. However, if standard therapy does not produce an effect, and the condition worsens, specialist advice, such as a neurologist, urologist, or gynecologist, is required. In complex cases, simultaneous participation of both a narrow specialist and a therapist will be required. This is necessary to assess the risks of intolerance to therapy and drug interactions.
The most informative studies remain methods of magnetic resonance and x-ray computed tomography, as well as electromyography.
How to prevent back and lower back pain
Once arising, back pain will give a relapse. This is due to the anatomical features and modern lifestyle. Our spine has been forming for millions of years in completely different conditions, it is not typical for a long time at the desk or at the wheel of a car. The situation is aggravated by the fact that in the last century the average body weight of a person and his life expectancy have increased. In addition, the perception of pain exacerbates stress, anxiety and depression.
The best prevention is the strengthening of the musculoskeletal system and weight loss. You need to normalize the regime of the day, get enough sleep, learn to cope with stress, lead an active lifestyle and play sports. In addition, it is important to consult a doctor on time in order to detect deformities and instability of the spine, treat injuries, infections, and also notice degenerative changes.