In this week’s edition of our blog, let us examine the structural problems that result in back pain and physiotherapy as an option for back pain treatment. These aspects of back pain were a part of the issues discussed in Medical News Today. Back pain is a very common complaint. According to the Mayo Clinic, USA, approximately 80% of all Americans will have low back pain at least once in their lives. Back pain is a common reason for absence from work, or visiting the doctor’s.
Structural problems – the following structural problems may also result in back pain:
- Ruptured disks – each vertebra in our spine is cushioned by disks. If the disk ruptures there will be more pressure on a nerve, resulting in back pain.
- Bulging disks – in much the same way as ruptured disks, a bulging disk can result in more pressure on a nerve.
- Sciatica – a sharp and shooting pain that travels through the buttock and down the back of the leg, caused by a bulging or herniated disk pressing on a nerve.
- Arthritis – patients with osteoarthritis commonly experience problems with the joints in the hips, lower back, knees and hands. In some cases spinal stenosis can develop – the space around the spinal cord narrows.
- Abnormal curvature of the spine – if the spine curves in an unusual way the patient is more likely to experience back pain. An example is scoliosis, when the spine curves to the side.
- Osteoporosis – bones, including the vertebrae of the spine, become brittle and porous, making compression fractures more likely.
Back pain can also be the result of some everyday activity or poor posture. Examples include:
Bending awkwardly, Pushing something, Pulling something, Carrying something ,Lifting something ,Standing for long periods, Bending down for long periods, Twisting, Coughing, Sneezing, Muscle tension, Over-stretching, Sitting in a hunched position for long periods (e.g. when driving), Long driving sessions without a break (even when not hunched)
Amongst various treatments methods, let us examine the physiotherapy option.
Physical Therapy is the application of heat, ice, ultrasound and electrical stimulation, as well as some muscle-release techniques to the back muscles and soft tissues may help alleviate pain. As the pain subsides the physical therapist may introduce some flexibility and strength exercises for the back and abdominal muscles. Techniques on improving posture may also help. The patient will be encouraged to practice the techniques regularly, even after the pain has gone, to prevent back pain recurrence.
In this context it is worthwhile to mention the benefits of using medical devices, for instance, Disk Dr. Waist WG30. Disk Dr. Waist WG30 not only widens and supports lumbar vertebrae but it also forces muscles around the waist to exercise more.
Here are some measures that can be adopted in our day to day lives to address back pain.
- Do not lift and twist at the same time. If something is particularly heavy, see if you can lift it with someone else. While you are lifting keep looking straight ahead, not up nor down, so that the back of your neck is like a continuous straight line from your spine.
- Moving things – remember that it is better for your back to push things across the floor, rather than pulling them.
- Shoes – flat shoes place less of a strain on the back.
- Driving – it is important to have proper support for your back. Make sure the wing mirrors are properly positioned so you do not need to twist. The pedals should be squarely in front of your feet. If you are on a long journey, have plenty of breaks – get out of the car and walk around.
- Your bed – you should have a mattress that keeps you spine straight, while at the same time supporting the weight of your shoulders and buttocks. Use a pillow, but not one that forces your neck into a steep angle.