This article has been authored by Dr. Saurabh Rawall, who is a spine surgeon at Jaypee Hospital Noida. He has done his MBBS from AIIMS, New Delhi followed by MS Orthopaedics from AIIMS, New Delhi, India. To know more about Dr. Saurabh Rawal or book an appointment, please call 0120 – 412 2222
DO NOT IGNORE BACK PAIN
Back pain has become a common problem among the young and elderly. Understanding the cause of back pain is important inorder to cure it. Pain is usually experienced in the lower or upper back. The causes for both can be different. Our back has many structures that are inter connected like the muscles, nerves, ligaments, tendons and the whole spine with its vertebrae, column and discs.
The upper back, especially around the neck is a sensitive area. Our neck moves practically all day. And if not, like in the case of desk jobs, the neck due to lack of movement becomes stiff. The lower back supports the weight of upper body and provides support for movement like bending, twisting. Muscles in the lower back provide mobility and also support the spinal column. Any form of injury to the muscles, ligaments, joints, or discs can cause back pain. There is a substantial mesh of nerves in the lower back and it is difficult for our brain to identify the exact point of pain. For example, slip disc spasms in the initial stage might feel like that of a muscle pull.
It is best to understand the symptoms and seek medical attention as soon as possible. There are some symptoms that can be a sign to see a specialist.
- Our body reacts to injury by activating an inflammatory response. If you find that you experience back pain and there is inflammation around the pain area it might be a reason for concern.
- If a sharp shooting pain emerging from the lower back travels down the hips to the thighs of one or both legs, then it is a sign of pressure on the nerves.
- Pain that is associated with numbness or a tingling sensation or weakness in the limbs, especially below the knees or around the buttocks could be a case of sciatica
- With age our bones become calcium deprived, weak and brittle. Brittle bones cannot take shock or jerks and tend to fracture easily. Weak bones can be a situation among the young too. This happens due to lack of proper nourishment and too much of junk food.
- If the stiffness and pain arise in the lower back like a spasm and increases with movement or walking, this might be due to slipped disc.
- Along with back pain in case you are facing a problem related to bladder control as in, difficulty to control, hesitancy in passing urine or related constipation, then this could be a sign of spinal disorder. When the spinal cord comes under pressure due to injury or disc prolapse or maybe a tumour, the spinal canal begins to narrow down. This causes loss of bowel or bladder control.
- The upper back region, at the bottom of the neck is very sensitive area. You might feel occasional stiffness around this part which extended to the shoulders. If this discomfort is followed by pain or dizziness in the head, it can be sign of cervical spondylolisthesis.
At times back pain due to fatigue subsides after appropriate rest and external application of menthol spray or ointment. Hot and cold packs also help in getting relief from back pain. However if the pain persistently lasts for more than 2-3 days or the intensity of pain increases, you should know that you have get the cause diagnosed from a specialist.