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General Practice 2023

Back pain: 10 main causes and what to do

Back pain: 10 main causes and what to do
Back pain: 10 main causes and what to do

Back pain is very common and usually gets better in a few weeks or months. This type of pain can be associated with different causes such as poor posture, repetitive strain and also more serious problems such as herniated discs, fractures or tumors. The type of back pain also varies according to the region affected.

The treatment of back pain depends on the type and location of the pain and can be done with anti-inflammatory drugs or muscle relaxants, physiotherapy or hydrotherapy and, in the most severe cases, surgery. In milder situations, often changes in lifestyle habits such as light physical activity, relaxation and weight loss can alleviate symptoms.

Spine pain should never be ignored and only the orthopedic doctor can make the diagnosis and indicate the most appropriate treatment. It is important not to do any physical exercise without first consulting a doctor.

1. Pelvic imbalance

The pelvis is the structure that connects the trunk to the lower limbs, being very important for postural balance. Any imbalance in the pelvis, such as muscle weakness and difference in size of the lower limbs, can generate muscle instability and cause poor posture, leading to spinal injury, back pain or herniated disc.

The most common causes of pelvic imbalance are shortening of the pelvic muscles, overweight and obesity, and also pregnancy.

What to do: in the case of pelvic imbalance, the best treatment is prevention by strengthening the pelvic muscles. Thus, stretching and Pilates, or even insoles, are recommended. In the case of acute pain, physiotherapy or hydrotherapy are recommended to strengthen muscles and reduce pain, in addition to the use of analgesics and anti-inflammatories.

2. Sedentary lifestyle and smoking

Some unhe althy habits, such as a sedentary lifestyle and smoking, are also common causes of back pain. A sedentary lifestyle, for example, increases the risk of developing back pain due to weakening of the abdominal, pelvic and back muscles and is usually associated with low back pain.

Smoking contributes to the wear and tear of the intervertebral discs, leading to friction between the vertebrae and muscle inflammation, which results in back pain.

What to do: you should choose he althy lifestyle habits and move your body to strengthen your back muscles. Thus, physical exercises oriented to work the musculature are recommended, such as swimming, RPG (Global Postural Recovery), pilates, stretching or yoga. See 5 tips to fight a sedentary lifestyle.

3. Obesity

Obesity and overweight are major causes of back pain.Pain occurs due to weight overload on the vertebrae of the spine and also on joints such as knees and hips. In addition, obesity causes inflammatory processes throughout the body, degeneration of the vertebral discs and reduces blood flow in the spine due to atherosclerosis. In this case, back pain is usually associated with low back pain.

What to do: in the case of obesity, follow-up with an orthopedist is recommended for the use of medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs and physical therapy to reduce pain. In addition, losing weight is essential for the he alth of the spine and for the body as a whole, and for this, it is recommended to follow up with a nutritionist and endocrinologist. Check out a diet to lose weight fast and he althy.

4. Wrong posture

The correct posture allows the balance between muscles and bones, when this does not happen, structural changes can occur in the spine and also stiffening of the joints and shortening of the muscles.Poor posture can cause lower back pain, mid-back pain, and neck pain. Learn more about the pain caused by poor posture.

What to do: In this case, it is best to try to maintain the best possible posture in everyday activities. When carrying out domestic activities, it is important to avoid working with the trunk fully tilted. At work, it is recommended to keep your forearms on the table, sit properly, keeping your feet flat on the floor and with a straight spine. At bedtime, you should lie on your side and place a pillow on your head and another between your legs. Check out 5 tips to achieve the correct posture.

5. Repetitive efforts

Works that require very intense repetitive physical efforts can cause tension or muscle injuries causing pain in the spine in the region related to the area of ​​effort. Some professions confer a higher risk of back pain due to repetitive strain, such as construction workers, mechanics and nurses, for example.

What to do: the ideal is to avoid carrying heavy weights. If this is not possible, you should share the weight, use a cart or ask a colleague for help. Stretching before starting work is also important because it helps prepare your muscles for work. Check out the best stretches for back pain.

6. Excessive Stress

Stress is a physical and emotional way of reacting to everyday events. In situations of excess stress, the body releases hormones into the bloodstream, such as cortisol, which can cause muscle stiffness or tension. Thus, pain in the spine, especially in the lower back, may be related to stress.

What to do: It is important to have a medical evaluation to rule out other causes of pain. In addition, follow-up with a psychologist can help identify and resolve the cause of stress. Trying to do activities that give you pleasure such as walking, painting, yoga, for example, help reduce stress.Check out 7 tips to control stress.

7. Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition in which a person is more sensitive to pain in various parts of the body. There is no specific cause, however, some conditions such as stress and poor sleep quality can trigger fibromyalgia, causing muscle stiffness, which is one of the causes of back pain that can occur in any region of the spine.

What to do: Fibromyalgia treatment should be done with antidepressants and analgesics prescribed by the doctor. In acute pain, physical therapy helps to relax the muscles and control the pain. Changes in life habits, such as having a balanced diet and practicing physical activities recommended by the doctor or physical educator, allow you to reduce stress and improve sleep, which helps to prevent the onset of pain. Learn more about fibromyalgia and how to relieve symptoms.

8. Disc herniation

A herniated disc occurs when the lining of a spinal disc is damaged as a rupture, causing pain in the spine. When this occurs, the contents of the spinal disc can leak out and cause nerve compression, which leads to pain in the legs or arms, depending on the region affected. A herniated disc is most common in the lower back, but it can also occur in the neck region. Learn more about herniated discs.

What to do: Herniated disc symptoms may disappear in 1 to 3 months. However, pain can be controlled with painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs prescribed by the doctor, physiotherapy, osteopathy and exercises indicated by the physiotherapist to realign the spine and strengthen the muscles. Although little indicated, in some more severe cases, surgery may be necessary.

9. Ankylosing spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammation of the spine, large joints, and fingers and toes.It is a form of arthritis in the spine that is more common in men than in women. Back pain is usually worse at night and in the morning, due to stiffness in the back muscles.

What to do: you should consult an orthopedist or rheumatologist to start the most appropriate treatment, which is usually done with anti-inflammatory drugs, analgesics and muscle relaxants, in addition to rehabilitation techniques that improve mobility and help with pain management. See how ankylosing spondylitis is treated.

10. Scoliosis, kyphosis or lordosis

Scoliosis is the abnormal curvature of the spine that usually occurs in childhood and, when undiagnosed and untreated, can cause back pain.

Kyphosis is the arching of the spine, also known as a hunchback. Some factors can cause kyphosis such as carrying excessive weights, poor posture, excessive physical exercise and excessive cell phone use.In addition, osteoporosis, trauma, and tumors can also cause kyphosis.

Lordosis, like kyphosis, is the arching of the spine, but the curvature is inward of the spine. The causes are varied, such as obesity, osteoporosis and infections in the vertebral discs, for example.

What to do: the treatment of scoliosis, kyphosis and lordosis is physiotherapy, RPG or pilates to strengthen the spine and muscles. In some cases, it may be necessary to use orthopedic braces or insoles to keep the spine in the proper position. In cases of acute pain, anti-inflammatories and analgesics prescribed by the doctor can be used.

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