Back pain is an incredibly problem. Roughly 80% of all people have dealt with back pain at least once in their life. The thing that makes it so difficult to diagnose, treat, and prevent is the fact that it can come at any age, in virtually anyone. You will find statistics, that indicate that back pain most commonly impacts people age 35 and older. This is usually attributed to the way that muscle tissue and bones begin to weaken as you grow older – although there are other complicated known reasons for back pain.
The Structure Of Your Back
The back of the body is incredibly sophisticated, and is made up of many interconnecting pieces. The main parts of your back are the bones, ligaments, tendons, nerves, muscles, and joints. This is all supported by your spine, which functions as a central link. Your spine consists of 24 bones called vertebrae. Your spine also contains the coccyx and sacrum.
Between the vertebrae, there are shock-absorbing discs that allow your spine to move while remaining stable. These are what allow you to twist, bend, and perform normal daily activities. Without them, your back would not be able to take the strain and would very quickly become injured. Your spinal column acts as a conduit, connecting your brain to all of the nerves that spread out to your body. These nerves permit the transmission of signals between the brain and the body. They allow for the transmission of the signal for pain, for example.There are many nerves that pass through the spine. The four types of nerves are Cervical Nerves, Thoracic Nerves, Lumbar Nerves and Sacral Nerves. You can find many nerves in each nerve section.
Each nerve controls a separate body part. As an example, the Cervical Nerves correspond to the head and neck, and the Lumbar Nerves correspond to the Legs. As a result of this, it’s extremely difficult determine the origin of a particular pain. Similar to an aching tooth, it can be difficult to determine the cause of pain. After centuries of study, the most frequent cause of back pain seems to usually be related to a strained muscle. Other causes of pain can be strained tendons and ligaments, or damage to the core structures of the back.
Serious back problems are not likely if you don’t meet at least one of below criteria:
- You are above the age of 35 and are experiencing back pain for the very first time.
- You suffer from other conditions that are commonly linked to the back.
- You experience other symptoms, including weight loss, fever or discomfort throughout the body.
Common Symptoms Of Back Pain
As with other medical conditions, there are many symptoms associated with back pain. Many of the most common symptoms associated with back pain are also associated with other problems – which can make the initial diagnosis frustrating.
If you’re currently experiencing back pain that originates from the lower back area, you could be experiencing general soreness, tightness or a pressure. I would recommend not being too concerned. In 90% of lower back pain cases, the pain subsides without treatment, and you will likely experience an obvious improvement within 5 – 7 weeks. We call this pain as “non-specific” pain because underlying cause can be very diverse. For instance, you might have overworked your muscles – leading to pain.
Back pain can be categorized into three different categories which can help you and your physio determine just how serious the pain is. The categories are acute back pain, sub-acute back pain, and chronic back pain. You will be able to self-diagnose your pain category using the following list:
- acute back pain – pain that lasted less than four weeks.
- sub-acute back pain – pain that exceeded the four weeks, but didn’t last past 12 weeks.
- chronic back pain – pain lasts for more than 12 weeks, and that continues to be on-going.
Even though the above can be used for self-diagnosis, it’s important to know that if you experience other symptoms, you should speak with your physician. Some symptoms which may indicate a more urgent problem include:
- unexplained weight loss, that is not due to a lifestyle choice.
- numbness and/or pain in your legs, whether in the thighs, calves or buttocks.
- loss of bladder and/or bowel control.
- constant pain that is so severe as to keep you awake awake through the night.
- pain through your entire spine, rather than one specific locations.
If you are exhibiting the above symptoms, talk with your Doctor or GP immediately. If conditions worsen, do not hesitate to dial 911.
Common Causes Of Back Pain
For many, there isn’t a single reason for back pain. Back pain can come from everyday from your daily activities, for example, overexerting your body. This can happen very often when individuals visit their doctor’s, as their physician may not be able to quickly analyze the primary reason for the pain. If your Doctor can’t determine the cause, that is known as non-specific lower back pain.
Either way, it’s good to know that some activities can make back pain more likely. Likewise, if you currently suffer from back pain, the following can exacerbate the pain – aggravating the issue. Probably the most common causes include:
- standing, sitting or bending down for long periods without stretching the muscles.
- performing difficult exercise for long stretches of time – for example, pushing, pulling and carrying heavy objects.
- walking or running with poor posture.
- being overweight as a result of a unhealthy lifestyle.
- a non-serious or serious accident or injury.
In any case, the reason for your pain might be associated with some harm that has come to your spinal column. Probably the most common injuries to the spine includes:
- herniated discs; when one of your spinal discs is bulging, and putting increased pressure on your spinal nerves.
- osteoporosis; a condition where your bones weaken and compress as a result of your bones losing density.
- fractures; any crack that exists in one of the bones found in your back.
- osteoarthritis – a type of disease that affects the joints of your spine, causing gradual wear-and-tear.
Different reasons for back pain can be severe, for example an infection or cancer. These causes are very uncommon, so don’t worry. As mentioned before, approximately 80% of Americans experience back pain at some time in their life.
How To Diagnose Back Pain
In general, I do not recommend you diagnose yourself without speaking to a qualified Doctor. Talking to your Doctor will be easy and he or she will be able to provide you with a definitive answer. When you schedule your appointment with your doctor, he or she will diagnose your back pain based upon how you describe your symptoms.
Your GP will exam you, and may prescribe you with a medication. After this, you won’t likely need to communicate with your doctor any further unless your pain continues. Usually, if you still have back pain, your GP may recommend that you hospital for tests. The most common tests include:
- an MRI scan; a detailed scan using radio waves and magnets. This allows the health practitioner to be able to see the inside of your body in detail – allowing for a diagnosis.
- an X-ray; a type of scan which reveals your inner body.
- blood tests; taking a sample of your blood.
There is a good chance that your GP will ask you to do tests and/or movements to determine where the pain is most severe. If pain only shows up during specific movements, your physician might be able to diagnose the root problem without further tests.
Treat Your Back Pain
Your GP might prescribe you with a medication, or offer some other form of treatment. But, these options are unsuitable for most individuals. In addition to this, because back pain isn’t easy to treat or diagnose, mistakes can sometimes be made in the process. Your doctor will try to offer the best available treatment. He or she will give you the option to either accept or decline the recommended treatment; in which case your physician will recommend another method of treatment.
In the majority of cases including back pain, your physician will usually suggest self-help treatments. Since back pain is common, your physician may request that you use an inversion table to see whether symptoms are reduced after a few weeks. Inversion therapy is becoming more and more common as a self-help option.
Inversion tables are medical treatment devices that allow a user to suspend themselves upside down. They are very good at reversing the harmful effects of gravity, and they provide your body with an opportunity to deal with the root cause of back pain. Studies and clinical research shows inversion tables to be highly effective at treating many different problems – such as herniated discs, lower back pain and even fractures. Inversion tables can be bought at any major retailer, and can be used at home.
On this site I have provided a list of all of my favorite inversion tables after reviewing them. So far, my favorite brand by a wide margin have been Teeter’s inversion tables, although other manufacturers including Ironman and Body Max have both produced very well-made products.