Back pain can be frustrating, and also potentially very dangerous if it is not treated. There are a number of different causes for back pain, some of which can be avoided. In many cases, it will resolve after several days of rest and gentle treatment, although this is not guaranteed. Anyone who is experiencing extreme or prolonged pain should consult a medical professional immediately.
One of the leading causes of back pain is strain. Improper body mechanics, posture, and lifting practices can lead to strain, especially in the lumbar or lower back. A ruptured or herniated disc can also cause pain, as will a slipped disc. Elderly individuals may be at risk of arthritis and osteoporosis, both of which can cause back pain. In addition, older people are more prone to spinal stenosis, a tightening of the spinal canal. Some infections and inflammations can result in back pain as well. Severe trauma such as falls and car accidents is another source.
For simple back pain, rest is sometimes the best cure. Applications of ice and heat may also help, as will some topical rubs. For more extreme pain, surgery, medication, and physical therapy may be in order. A medical professional will decide on the best course of treatment to pursue once he or she has determined what is causing the problem. Sometimes, this may require an exhausting round of tests, since the spine is very complex and the reason behind pain is not always readily apparent, especially when the patient has limited information.
Several things can help patients avoid back pain. For people in positions which require lifting, proper training should be received on how to lift and handle material. Appropriate braces may need to be worn as well to support the back. Regular exercise and a healthy diet to keep the spine strong and flexible are also useful. Some healthcare professionals may recommend regular massage or physical therapy as well, to help patients keep fit.
By taking good care of the body, many people may be able to avoid back pain, especially serious cases. When someone experiences a mild case of back pain, he or she should rest in bed and try to minimize strain on the back. Prolonged or intense pain is a sign that the person needs to seek professional help, as is numbness or tingling in the extremities. People should not hesitate to seek professional attention for pain, since it is better to be safe than sorry.