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What is back pain – Know about Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Its Treatment

Every person may face back pain in their lifetime whether it is of lower back pain (Lumber area) or in the middle back pain (Thoracic area) or the upper back pain (Cervical area). Usually, people face lower back pain as it holds most of the body weight.  It could be the result of injury, bad posture, strain or tension.

The occurrence of the back pain may be acute subacute or chronic depending upon the duration of the time. Some of the back pain could be the result of the tiredness which goes its own by taking some rest. But if it took long up to 30 days then you need to seek for medical attention.

What are the Symptoms of back pain?

  • Muscle ache which can e worse with the activity.
  • Pain that radiates down towards the front or back of your leg.
  • Pain that improves with bending or stretching.
  • Feel numbness or weakness in the leg which receives the nerve supply.
  • Unable to raise upwards your toe or stand up on your toe.
  • Unable to bring your foot downwards.
  • Feel numbness around the genitals, anus or the buttocks

What are the Causes of back pain?

The back pain can be a result of poor posture, injury, strain or other medical conditions. The human back is made up of the different segments like muscles, ligaments, tendon, disk and 33 small bones which are plated on one upon another. All these segments support the body to move, sit-stand or twist. Damage or problem with any of these segments can lead to back pain.  The causes of back pain are:

  • Strained or tensioned muscles or ligaments.
  • Damaged, bloating or rupture disk.
  • Injury or fracture
  • Very heavy lifting improperly.
  • Long sitting, standing or driving hours without break.
  • Twisting or stretching suddenly.
  • Inappropriate mattress.
  • Some medical conditions like cancer in the spine, pelvic disorder, bladder or kidney infection, sleep disorder, etc.
  • Osteoarthritis, Skeletal irregularities, and Osteoporosis conditions can also lead you to the back pain.

What are the Risk Factors of Back pain?

  • Lack of exercise or unused muscles
  • Improper activity & physical exercise
  • Smoking
  • Older age
  • Poor lifestyle or fitness
  • Pregnancy
  • Excess body weight
  • Genetic or medical conditions like cancer or arthritis.

What are the Prevention of back pain?

You must improve your physical activity to keep your back healthy and strong by below-mentioned prevention:

  • Quit Smoking
  • Build up your muscles strong and flexible
  • Exercise daily and proper manner
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Move your body parts properly and smart

How will you diagnose back pain?

Usually, a doctor only can diagnose the back pain after taking some physical examination and asking details of the symptoms. A doctor may ask you the following question:

Is the pain constant?

  • Did you ever get injured?
  • Is there any inability due to the pain?
  • What are the exercises you do?
  • How often you get depressed?
  • How often do you do lifting the objects?
  • Have you ever tried any home treatment?
  • Do you have any case history of cancer or arthritis?

Other lab tests or imaging scan can be required for more information:

  • X rays: To see alignments of the bone and any damage in bone, muscles, cord, nerves or disk.
  • Blood test: To detect the infection or inflammation.
  • MRI, CT Scan: Problem with any tissue, nerves or disk can be seen through MRI or CT scan,
  • Bone scan: It can detect the bone tumors or fracture in the bones with the help of a special camera.
  • Electromyography or Nerve study: Through electromyography nerve compression can be detected which could be occurred due to the herniated disk or spinal stenosis.

What are the treatment options for Back Pain?

The treatment and medication only depend on the type of back pain.  Mostly back pain gets better from the home treatment and if it doesn’t go itself even after a long period of time then you should consult the doctor.

1. Home treatment

  • Use of heating pad or ice pad to get relief from pain.
  • Need to keep a healthy weight.
  • Continue with the light daily routine activity.
  • Stop the activity that increases your pain.
  • Do some yoga exercises that may strengthen your muscles with care.
  • Do some stretching exercises.
  • Give up smoking.

2.Medications for back pain

3.Physical therapy and exercise:

A physical therapist can apply different therapy like heating pad, icing, ultrasound,  electrical stimulation, and muscle release technique to reduce your pain and to soften the tissue. Once the pain is reduced then the therapist may teach you some other exercise flexibility and strengthing exercise for back and abdomen muscles. These techniques improve your posture and prevent back pain recurrence.


A few patients, who have constant pain and nerve compression which can lead to nerve compression or radiating the pain to leg, go for the surgery.  It might be beneficial else the surgery is only assigned for the pain related to the structural problem like a herniated disk or narrowing spine.

The different surgeries for back pain include:

  • Spinal Fusion: The most common surgery Spinal Fusion is used to join two vertebrae together, with a metal plate and screw, to form a single unit. There is a significantly greater risk for arthritis to subsequently develop in the adjoining vertebrae.
  • Disk replacement: A surgeon removes the damaged disk of the vertebrae and inserts an artificial disk.
  • Diskectomy: A portion of a disk is removed which irritates or presses the spinal nerve. The diskectomy surgeon cuts the cushion, part of the disk, that presses the nerve and causes the pain so that there will be proper space for the nerve. The surgeon can be able to do it with the small incision so that a microscope can be inserted and then discectomy can be opened. It also can be part of larger surgeries like laminectomy, foraminotomy or spinal fusion
  • Laminectomy: During the surgery, the surgeon removes the part of the bone, bone spurs or ligaments of the back that give the pressure to the nerve. This will relieve the nerve and ease the pain. Doctors will also recommend doing it with a spinal fusion because the laminectomy surgery can make your spineless stable.
  • Foraminotomy: The compressed nerve in the spine gets relieved by foraminotomy. The surgeon cut away the part of the bone to give space to the nerve. This will relieve the pressure on the nerve and ease the pain. This surgery is also done with the spinal fusion so that
  • Interlaminar implant: In this Interlaminar surgery, the surgeon implants u shape device in between two defected vertebrae in the lower back so that there will be space to move and reduce the pressure on the spinal nerves. This implant provides stability to your back to move almost normally. Yet you may not be able to bend backward.

Conclusion : Every Back pain having own kind of symptoms and need very specific treatments. You should follow your consultants instructions before any treatment at home.

Last Edited : 23/03/2020