Four in five Americans are affected by backache at some point of time in their life. Backache can occur in several forms, including lower back pain, middle or upper back pain, and lower back pain with sciatica.
Back pain that comes on suddenly and lasts no more than six weeks (acute) can be caused by a fall or heavy lifting. Back pain that lasts more than three months (chronic) is less common than acute pain.
is the most common mechanical cause of backache. This condition means that the discs located between the spinal vertebrae are disintegrating with age. As the cushioning ability of these discs goes down, the back pain grows. Wear and tear of facet joints is another cause of backache. Facet joints are large joints with which the vertebrae are connected. Ruptured discs, muscle tension and spasms are other mechanical causes of backache.
Injuries to the spine such as a sprain or a fracture can cause temporary or chronic pain.
Signs and symptoms of back pain can include:
Anyone can develop back pain, even children and teens. These factors might put you at greater risk of developing back pain:
You might avoid back pain or prevent its recurrence by improving your physical condition and learning and practicing proper body mechanics. To keep your back healthy and strong:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and your medical history. He or she will examine your back muscles and spine and will move you certain ways to check for pain, muscle tenderness or weakness, stiffness, numbness or abnormal reflexes. For example, if you have a disk problem, you may have pain in your lower back when the doctor raises your straightened leg.
Your symptoms and the physical examination may give your doctor enough information to diagnose the problem. However, with back pain, your doctor may only be able to tell you that the problem is not serious. If your doctor determines that your back pain is caused by muscle strain, obesity, pregnancy or another cause that is not urgent, you may not need any additional tests.
However, if he or she suspects a more serious problem involving your vertebrae or spinal nerves, especially if your back pain has lasted longer than 12 weeks, you may need one or more of the following tests:
Some medications are formulated to ease the pain, while some others induce sleep to make the patient comfortable. However, it may not always be a prudent idea to go for over the counter drugs because they are not meant for long term use. If the backache is recurring, it is important to consult a doctor. Over the counter
People with back pain are encouraged to return to their normal activities gradually, and to temporarily avoid heavy lifting, prolonged sitting, or sudden bending or twisting.