Most lower back pain is very common (800 out of 1000 of adults will experience back pain as some point in their lives) and whilst it may feel very painful, it is often not serious.
Back Pain can and will limit your movements. This can make the back seem as if it is ‘locking’ into place. If this tends to fix itself after some time, this is normally reassuring and not serious.
Your back is like a sophisticated skyscraper. Understanding how it is put together will enable you to fix the problem yourself once you appreciate how it is put together.
Most back pain will go away usually within 6 weeks if you follow some simple measures. However, it can reoccur repeatedly; so be patient and persistant.
If you have Back pain with the following symptoms, please make an APPOINTMENT WITH YOUR GP
- Back pain waking you from sleep
- Numbness/weakness in/around your legs/bottom
- Problems with your bowels/bladder
- Worsening pain over time
What causes lower back pain and what are the different parts?
- Muscles: strains (overstretched muscles) or tears can cause pain
- Ligaments: sprains; overstretched ligaments
- Spine Bones: rubbing togther
- Nerves: trapped/irritated
- Discs: bulging or thinning
Tests & why they are needed
Back X-Ray: to look at any bones that have collapsed or degenerated. Useful if you have had trauma also. X-ray cannot see nerve, muscle or ligament damage.
MRI: used to look for nerves that have been compressed or discs that might be damaged (usually you get leg: numbness/weakness & or bowel or urinary symptoms).
MRI or CT scan: only done in patients who develop ‘serious’ symptoms; Remember intensity of pain does not equal seriousness of problem in most cases of lower back pain
How to tackle back pain
Persitance, daily implementation and patience is the key to getting good results. A combination of any of the following can ease and eliminate pains.
- Gentle exercise including Yoga
- Increase blood supply (warm up lower back area and promote healing),
- Stenghten back structures
- Deep massages: to be done to the painful part of the muscles (if muscle strains is the problem) in the back continuously until the pain subsides (usually takes 10-15 minutes per painful area).
- Hot Presses: a hot water bottle or warm pack: increased blood flow to the area and helps the back relax
- Pain killers:
- Mild to moderate pain: Simple paracetamol: two 500mg tablets upto four times a day or Anti-inflammatories: e.g ibuprofen,
- Moderate to severe pain: Opiods: codeine, tramdaol, morphine, patches