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Back Pain Management - Symptoms & Causes

Back pain is an incredibly common issue, affecting millions of people worldwide. It can arise from various causes, ranging from muscle strain to disc problems. The good news is that back pain often resolves on its own with a little time and self-care. However, for persistent or severe pain, seeking professional help is crucial.

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Back Pain Symptoms

Back pain symptoms are varied. You might experience a persistent, dull ache, while others encounter intermittent, sharp pains. This discomfort might be confined to specific regions like the lower or upper back, or it could extend to other areas.

Common symptoms accompanying back pain include:

  • Stiffness:

This can hinder your ability to move freely or maintain an upright posture.

  • Muscle Spasms:

These involuntary muscle contractions in the back can cause significant discomfort.

  • Weakness:

This may be felt in the legs or core muscles, potentially affecting your mobility and ability to handle physical tasks.

  • Numbness or Tingling:

These sensations may be present in the painful region or extend to the legs or feet.


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Back Pain Causes

Identifying the root causes of your back pain is key to addressing and managing it effectively. Here's an overview of common triggers:

Strains and Sprains:

Often due to improper lifting, poor posture, or inadequate exercise, these injuries to muscles or ligaments are frequent culprits of back pain.

Obesity:

Excess body weight can contribute to back strains and sprains, exacerbating pain.

Ageing and Arthritis:

As we age, our spines change. Arthritis and other age-related conditions can lead to back discomfort.

Serious Injuries & Conditions:

Spinal fractures, ruptured discs, and spinal cord tumours are among the more severe causes of back pain.

Infections:

Certain infections can unexpectedly trigger back pain.

Back Pain Conditions

Bone and Joint-Related Conditions

  • Osteoarthritis: Degeneration of joint cartilage and the underlying bone

  • Osteoporosis: Develops when bones become brittle and fragile from loss of tissue

  • Spondylolisthesis: Where a bone in the spine slips forward and out of place

  • Ankylosing Spondylitis: A type of arthritis affecting the spine


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Nerve-Related Conditions

  • Sciatica: Pain associated with the sciatic nerve, often causing lower back pain

  • Spinal Stenosis: Narrowing of spaces within the spine, which can put pressure on nerves

  • Herniated Disc: A problem with one of the rubbery cushions (discs) between the individual bones (vertebrae) that stack up to make your spine


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Muscular and Soft Tissue Conditions

  • Fibromyalgia: Widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory, and mood issues

  • Muscle Strains: Overstretching or tearing of muscles in the back


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Conditions Related to Other Body Systems

  • Kidney Issues: Including infections and kidney stones

  • Endometriosis: A disorder in which tissue similar to the tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus — the endometrium — grows outside your uterus

  • Osteomyelitis: Infection in the bones


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Other Specific Conditions

  • Pregnancy-Related Back Pain: Common due to hormonal changes and weight gain

  • Scoliosis: A sideways curvature of the spine that occurs most often during the growth spurt just before puberty


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