What is Back pain? | Causes, Diagnoses, Treatment, Precautions, and Home remedies

Overview: Back Pain

Experts have estimated that 80% of the world population will experience back pain at least once in their lifetime. Well, we can’t deny it, can we?

Back pain can be regarded as a common pain in any household. Most pains are mechanical, which means it can arise due to minor injury or a sprain in the ligament while other kinds of pain can be caused due to inflammatory arthritis, fracture, cancer or infection. Such painful back pains don’t go away quickly, it is more of an indication of an underlying disease.

Frequent back pain can also arise due to bad sitting posture, working for long hours and an unhealthy diet. It can harm the overall health and disturb the day-to-day work schedule of a person; hamper concentration and focus at work. Both men and women have equal chances of developing back pain. Factors like age, bone density, lifestyle, and calcium concentration in the bone are also responsible for back pain.

What is Back Pain?

A pain that erupts at the back or spine area of the body is known as back pain. This kind of pain can be mild or severe at times. Back pain causes discomfort and difficulty in performing a task, in a lot of cases it heals within a day or two but if the pain continues it is important to consult with the doctor and take follow the medication and exercise recommended.

The back portion of our body comprises of a complicated bone structure joined by ligaments, muscles and joints. A sprain in the ligament, muscle, irritate joints can lead to back pain. At times back pain arises as a symptom of another underlying disease like a blood clot, bone loss, calcium deficiency, kidney stones or kidney infections.

Back pain rarely requires a surgery; it can be cured with the help of home treatment like taking a hot water bag and resting for a while. When a person is undergoing a back pain it is very important to avoid lifting heavy objects and reduce the amount of physical activity of the day-to-day life.

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Symptoms of Back Pain

Only a small percentage of people may experience disability due to back pain. Maximum people get relief within a few weeks or at times within a day or two.

If back pain is caused due to an injury, slip disk it might last for a month; the symptoms of back pain may vary from person to person. List of some of the symptoms of back pain are-

  • Weakness or numb feeling in the leg
  • Worsening of pain at night
  • Inability to sit for prolonged hours while travelling or working
  • The decrease in flexibility of the back
  • Increase in pain while performing day to day task
  • Not able to stand up straight without feeling pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Sudden pain
  • Pain that affects the leg causing difficulty to walk, stand, bend, or lift things

Causes of Back Pain

The most common cause of back pain is an injury in the soft tissue or mechanical issue, the pain is felt in the lower back area. A torn muscle or ligament can also raise back pain. Some of the causes of back pain are-

  • Ruptured disk
  • Ligament or muscle strain
  • Osteoporosis
  • Skeletal irregularities
  • Kidney diseases
  • Bladder infection
  • Ovarian disorder
  • Pregnancy
  • Pelvic infection
  • Musculoskeletal pain syndrome
  • Spondylitis

Risk factors of back pain

Back pain has no age limit, it can occur in any age group from children, teenagers to adult. Although it is a fact that with age our body ability to regenerate and repair decreases and therefore more wear and tear occurs which increases the chances of body pain like back pain. Other factors that put a person at risk of developing back pain are-

  • Excess weight

People with weight issues are indeed more prone to back pain. Unhealthy lifestyle and eating habits can increase a person’s body weight in a short period and call home a lot of diseases. Back pain is one such illness, but that does not mean that skinny people can never suffer from back pain. Thin people with eating disorders and osteoporosis are equally affected by back pain.

  • Diseases

Certain types of cancer and arthritis can cause back pain. It can arise as a symptom or after-effects of the disease.

  • Psychological conditions

People suffering from mental health issues like anxiety and depression have a greater risk of developing a back pain

  • Addiction to smoking

Smoking has an adverse effect on our health. It affects the health of the lungs, reduces blood flow to the lower spine thus preventing the body from transferring adequate nutrients to the disk present at the back. Smoking is also known to slow down the process of healing.

  • Lack of basic exercise

It’s important to involve in some kind of basic exercise like walking, skipping, running etc. Doing so improves the health of our muscles. If we don’t involve in any such physical activities the weak and unused muscles in the back and abdomen may cause back pain.

  • Improper lifting

Lifting heavy objects or using the back support for too long can lead to back pain

Sports involves rigorous physical activities and while practising or playing a game one might get an injury that can sprain a muscle or ligament which can cause back pain.

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Diagnosis of Back Pain

Normally back pain does not last for long but if it does, it is important to get medical help. Diagnosis of back pain is determined by a series of test and examination. The first thing that is looked upon by the doctor is medical history. The medical history of the patient is important to properly examine the cause of the pain as other diseases can also lead to back pain. The other type of test involves-

  • Blood test- indicates whether inflammation is present in the body or not
  • Physical examination- to check if there is a nerve defect/damage in the body
  • X-ray test– to see if there are any kind of complication involved
  • Bone scan- to detect and monitor fracture, infection or any kind of disorder present in the bone
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans- helps to see clearer images in cases where doctors suspect infection in the spinal canal, tumour, fracture, or bone infection
  • Nerve test- Electromyogram or EMG test is performed to predict the amount of damage caused in the nerve root.

Treatment of Back Pain

The treatment of back pain depends on whether the pain caused is acute or chronic. Depending on the type of pain, the doctor recommends pain relievers, muscle relaxants, injections, antidepressants, narcotics, or topical pain relievers. Only in extreme cases where there is nerve damage, surgical procedures are recommended to correct it. The other treatment of back pain involves-

  • Application of hot or cold packs

Apply a hot or cold pack to relax the muscles, but make sure to cover the pack with a thin, soft towel to prevent damage to the skin

  • Resting and minor activity

It is important to let your body rest and not involve in a restless schedule. Also don’t stay in the bed for the long duration; as it can make the muscles stiff and increase the pain. Try to move about or perform a little bit of your daily work. Minor activities can help improve the flexibility of the body.

  • Exercising

Exercise is very important to strengthen the muscles of the back. Consult with a physical therapist if you are not sure about the exercises that need to be done.

  • Physical therapy

Physical therapies like ultrasound, electric stimulation, apply ice or heat can help a lot to relax the back muscles and soft tissues. Work on your body posture and try not to sit in one place for long hours.

  • Medications

Some back pains are not responsive towards pain killers, try using muscle relaxants or talk to the doctor and take the prescribed medicines.

  • Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a pain-relieving technique that originated in China. The procedure involves inserting fine needles to specific points in the body. Acupuncture is known to help the body to release natural painkillers (endorphins) and stimulates muscle tissue and nerve.


Prevention of Back Pain

Exercise to relieve back pain
Exercise to get relieve back pain
  • Carry less baggage
  • Don’t bend low or try to perform a heavy task
  • Strengthen your core
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine
  • Improve your body posture
  • Wear comfortable shoes
  • Stretch-don’t sit a position longer than 20 minutes. Try to move and stretch your body. For those experiencing too much body pain try doing yoga.

What to eat during Back pain?

Some food can contribute to back pain as they have inflammation properties, following an anti-inflammation diet while suffering from back pain can help and manage your pain.

Food ingredients that you can have during a back pain-

  • Flax seeds or chia seeds
  • Fish like salmon, tuna, or trout
  • Green leafy vegetables and carrots
  • Fruits like watermelon, pomegranate, cherries etc
  • Olive oil
  • Herbs and spices like cinnamon, garlic, onion, oregano, ginger and turmeric
  • Herbal tea/green tea
  • Calcium and vitamin D rich food
  • Nuts and beans

Home remedies for Back Pain

Home remedies to cure back pain are effective and has shown great results for many. Mild stretching and physical activity can provide relief. Few other home remedies for back pain are-

  • Sleep with a pillow between your knees to provide comfort; you can also lie on your back by placing the pillow under your knees.
  • Apply pain relief ointment and use hot water bad
  • Maintain a proper posture while sitting
  • Avoid resting for too long
  • Take a hot bath. Add some salt to it before using the hot water. Salt bath eases body ache and is highly effective.
  • Sleep in a mattress with medium firmness


Que 1. What causes back pain in a female?
Ans-Back pain in female may arise due to several conditions such as piriformis syndrome, spinal osteoarthritis, endometriosis, spinal osteoporosis fractures, sacroiliac joint dysfunction and coccydynia which affect the tail bone

Que 2. Does gas cause back pain?
Ans- Yes, gas may cause back pain when the intensity of it increases. The intense pain that may occur due to gas can make the abdomen feel tender and full. This pain can spread to the back and cause bloating or back pain.

Que 3. What organs can cause lower back pain?
Ans- If a person is experiencing back pain then it can be an indication that you’re experiencing some problem in the abdominal organ which may include kidney infection, ulcerative colitis, pancreatitis, kidney stones or gynaecological disorders such as fibroids or endometriosis

Que 4. How do I know if my back pain is muscular?
Ans- Feeling intense pain with movement, pain that hits in the low back or sore fell can result from a pulled lower back muscle or any type of lower back strain

Que 5. How long can a back pain last?
Ans- Medically back pain is regarded as acute if it lasts for less than a month. Back pain usually goes away with or without treatment many times but if it persists for more than a month than you need to reach out for medical help and undergo a proper check-up.

Que 6. What happens if back pain is left untreated?
Ans- If back pain is left untreated there is a high possibility of developing more serious medical consequences that may affect other parts of the body.

Que 7. Is bed rest good for back pain?
Ans- Though taking rest might be an ideal action while experiencing back pain, it must be remembered that long-term best rest can provide reverse effect thus making recovery slower. Laying on bed one posture for too long can also lead to other diseases while swelling of the skin or a sore back. Try walking slow or move about at regular intervals.

Que 8. Should I go to work if my back hurts?
Ans- You can reduce your working hours, stopping physical activity once and all can be bad. Try to involve yourself in minimum physical activity and take regular breaks while working, don’t sit for prolonged hours.

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