What is Back Pain?
As the name emphasizes, the pain in your back is known as back pain. However, chronic back pain is a form of back pain. It is usually the pain in the lower portion of your back. Lower Back pain is one of the most common reasons people see a doctor or miss days at work. People can’t stand, can’t sit, can’t sleep, or even can’t work due to lower back pain. It varies in the intensity of pain from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp, or shooting pain. Two types of back pain are as follows:
Acute Pain (short-term) Back Pain
Acute back pain (short-term) can endure for a few days to a few weeks. With self-care, it typically goes away on its own in a few days without a permanent loss of function.
Chronic Back Pain
Back pain will be chronic if it lasts more than 12 weeks or longer. It can be frustrating if you don’t know the cause of the pain. It comes and goes, sometimes stays for a long time, and sometimes stays for a short period. Temporary relief from the pain makes you believe that the pain is gone forever, but it comes again, followed by frustration. It can be treated by surgery, but in this article, we will be discussing only the nonsurgical ways of treating chronic back pain.
Causes of Chronic Back Pain
Before rushing for treatment, we must know the cause of chronic back pain. After knowing the cause, the doctor will be able to treat your pain well. Following are some of the common causes of chronic back pain:
Genetic and Aging
Chronic back pain is usually age-related but can also occur from prior injury. Our bodies change as we age, and aches and pains may appear more frequently. We lose spine disc space and muscular strength. As a result, there occurs pain in our back, and when it stays for a long period, it becomes chronic. It is also genetic sometimes; our elders may also experience chronic back pain. We may get that disease from them like other diseases.
Muscle atrophy is also known as muscle deconditioning. It is the most common cause of chronic back pain. It happens when your back muscles lack the strength and stability to support you properly. It usually happens when there is a lack of physical activity. All of your muscles need exercise to remain active and healthy. When you do not indulge them in physical activity, they lack the power to support you and weaken them, causing pain. In that case, you have to avoid activities like heavy weight lifting that will help you heal quickly. Yet, excessive inactivity can weaken and shrink muscles. When this occurs, your back’s muscles might not be able to support your ligaments and vertebrae the way they typically could, which could cause pain or increase your risk of injury. The most common cause of muscle weakness is aging, but healthy physical activities will reduce the danger of chronic back pain.
Another common cause of chronic back pain is improper posture. If you are an office worker and you have to sit on a chair for a long time. Make sure you sit properly, sit straight, take breaks, and stretch your body to avoid back pain. This excessive curving of the spine is often associated with chronic back pain. Proper mechanics are your best line of protection against persistent back pain if your profession involves frequent lifting or repetitive motion.
Any kind of accident can also increase the risk of chronic back pain. It may cause injury to your back, which results in back pain in the future.
Repetition of Everyday Activities
Little things that we repeat in everyday life can significantly impact the amount of stress we put on our bodies, like sitting or sleeping in odd positions, bending over, doing wrong exercises, and lifting heavy or small weights.
Medical Causes of Chronic Back Pain
Spinal arthritis causes the cartilage to gradually thin out in the spine.
Narrowing of the spinal canal known as spinal stenosis may cause nerve pain.
Disc issues, such as a bulging or herniated disc.
Myofascial Pain Syndrome
Undiagnosed aches and pains in the muscles are known as myofascial pain syndrome.
Nonsurgical Treatments for Chronic Back Pain
It is the first step towards the treatment of chronic back pain because it includes exercises. It is a good practice that you should try this under the guidance of your doctor and physical therapist. The chances of success are more if you also maintain the exercise routine at home. Exercise for every person is not the same. Exercises must be tailored to your specific symptom, condition, and pain intensity. Physical therapy for chronic back pain could consist of practicing better posture, examination of the level of pain, exercises for flexibility and stretching, exercising aerobic endurance, and core strengthening.
Meditation and Psychological Treatment
Everything involves psychology. Chronic back pain is disturbing you both physically and mentally. Doctors suggest you consult a rehabilitation psychologist for mind training. Chronic back pain stays for a long time, and it becomes frustrating and irritating for a person causing depression as a result. The psychologist recommends meditation, yoga, and other cognitive and relaxation strategies to keep your find from focusing on pain. This technique is very effective if a person is willing to take part in it.
Back discomfort and stress can result from being overweight, obese, or rapidly gaining considerable amounts of weight. Maintaining a healthy diet by consulting your doctor can reduce back pain. Also, maintain a healthy weight to reduce pressure on your spine which will lessen your back pain.
One of the best ways to reduce back pain is by taking notes of your daily activities and taking out the activities that are causing pain. Once you identify those activities, try to avoid them the next day. These simple tasks will have a bigger impact on your body to reduce pain. Giving up smoking is a crucial lifestyle adjustment to try. Scientific research has shown that nicotine increases pain and slows healing. So, if you are a smoker, quit smoking as soon as possible.
Various injection-based treatments are available for chronic back pain, including nerve blocks, epidural steroid injections, nerve ablations, and more. They are utilized when the cause of the pain is understood, and if the treatment doesn’t work, they may occasionally assist in ruling out particular causes. While injections may temporarily cease or diminish pain, they are not meant to be long-term remedies and shouldn’t be taken on their own. You must consult your doctor before taking any injection because you can put yourself in danger if you try to do self-medication.
Chronic back pain may also benefit from acupuncture, in which thin needles are placed in the skin for about an hour. Acupuncture has been shown to provide significant pain relief for people. Massage increases blood flow and speeds up the healing process, such as biofeedback therapy, laser therapy, electrical nerve stimulation, and other nonsurgical spine treatments. See your spine doctor about any potential benefits of alternative therapies. All of these treatments are effective, but the specialist will decide which treatment is best for you according to your condition and the intensity of the pain. These are all nonsurgical back pain treatments, so don’t fear their complex names.
Medications such as muscle relaxants, analgesics, and anti-inflammatory medicines can all be used to manage chronic back pain. Unfortunately, the majority have negative side effects and are not meant for long-term use. Opioids typically shouldn’t be used as the first, sole, or ongoing form of treatment for persistent back pain. Many of them are habit-forming and don’t deal with the real source of your suffering. Only after a thorough examination by a professional and in cases when other medications have proven ineffective may opioids be supplied. It might be time to get a second opinion if you find that you need to take opioids to get through the day. These treatments are not used often because of their side effects, as the person gets addicted to these medications due to their drug nature. However, they can be used with the consultation of your doctor if you don’t have any other option.
To keep the back healthy and strong and to avoid chronic back pain, you must do the following things:
- Exercise daily to strengthen your back muscles and allow them to work properly.
- Build muscle strength and flexibility to support your body and strengthen the core.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Heavy weight will put pressure on your back, causing
- Smoking increases the risk of lower back pain, so quit smoking as soon as possible.
- Avoid movements that twist or strain the back. Sit straight, stand straight, and lift smartly. Avoid lifting heavy objects, but if it’s a need, properly lift them, avoiding any damage to your back.
Chronic back pain becomes frustrating and irritating as it stays long. People have to leave their work because of back pain. Sometimes, it also becomes difficult for the doctor to identify the cause of back pain; hence, they cannot provide the patient with a suitable treatment. Knowing the cause of back pain and then going for treatment is essential. In this article, you have learned about the causes of chronic back pain and some nonsurgical ways to treat chronic back pain. Surgery is risky, so I consider it a last option. Surgery is typically only contemplated after every other option has been tried. Numerous noninvasive or minimally invasive treatments can reduce pain for most people. So, consult the specialist for alternative nonsurgical methods before going for surgery.