Back pain (synonymous with dorsalgia) is one of the most common reasons for visiting a doctor — the second after acute respiratory diseases. Most often, people go with back pain to doctors such as a neurologist, therapist or general practitioner. The number of people with back pain has increased dramatically in recent years and decades. Among the main back pain causes are:
- pathology of intervertebral discs, including hernia;
- narrowing of the spinal canal;
- the consequences of injuries;
- spondylitis — inflammatory processes in the intervertebral joints.
- sprains of ligaments and muscles associated with heavy loads;
- inflammation of muscle tissue — myositis;
- illnesses of the internal organs;
- pathology of large vessels etc.
While doctors studying back pain, they identify the common back pain causes that can provoke the development of pain syndrome:
- severe physical overload, resulting in overstretching of muscles and ligaments;
- uncomfortable or static postures that a person takes for a long time;
- untrained muscles and their overload, inactivity;
- trauma and microtrauma;
- diseases of the internal organs;
- joint pathology;
Back pain signs need to be taken seriously. The reason for going to the doctor should be situations when the pain does not go away for several days.
Back pain in various parts of it
Localization of painful sensations can tell a lot about their cause. The upper back pain can result from spine illness, trauma, muscle spasm, cardiovascular disease, tumors, diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. The most common localization is the lower back pain. If the epicenter is in the lower left back pain or lower right back pain, the list of probable causes includes, in addition to sickness of the spine:
- kidney pathology;
- disruption of the intestines;
- spasms or inflammation in the pelvic organs;
- physiological reasons, in particular pregnancy;
- pinching of the sciatic nerve.
The left-side back pain or right-side back pain may indicate damage to the root of the spinal cord, kidney.
Back pain symptoms
The symptoms of dorsalgia depend on the cause, mechanism of development, and the presence of concomitant diseases. For nonspecific pain, the following back pain symptoms are characteristic:
- aching or pulling pain, sometimes tightening,
- aggravated by stress or movements of the spine, as well as in certain postures,
- may decrease when kneading or rubbing muscles, as well as after resting in a comfortable position;
- possible pain in the sides of the back or middle back pain,
- when probing, compaction, changes in contours, tension are determined, but there are no disturbances in sensitivity in the painful area.
When the nerve root is compressed (radiculopathy), the pain differs in its intensity, can be shooting, often radiates to the leg, and in the limb it can be stronger than in the back.
What is the Back pain treatment?
If the localization of pain and the source of pain impulses could be identified, then local therapy is used — blockades, intradiscal influences and other procedures. Its main goal is to reduce the intensity of pain syndrome and maintain the quality of life.
Also, as in acute pain, drugs from the NSAID group are prescribed, including Motrin, other analgesics, muscle relaxants, and B vitamins. Antidepressants are recommended as needed. Back pain treatment should be carried out by a qualified specialist, exercise therapy is prescribed. Psychotherapeutic and physiotherapeutic methods of treatment are used.
FAQ about Low Back Pain and Sciatica
How do I know if my lower back pain is sciatica?
Inflammation of the sciatic nerve is mainly manifested by pain in the back of a sharp, shooting character. Unpleasant sensations can suddenly appear and last from half an hour to several hours. Any movement begins to bring unbearable torment to a person, which is why a patient prefers to freeze in a pose in which an attack has come. Sciatica is also characterized by pain in the buttock and on the posterior surface of the leg. In addition, due to the involvement of a large area of innervation, patients may be concerned about:
- dysfunction of the pelvic organs (urinary or fecal incontinence, difficulties in sexual life);
- weakness of the muscles of the lower leg and foot;
- when the disease become chronic, there may be a decrease in the volume of the muscles of the lower limb on one side;
- voluntary jerking of the leg;
- burning sensation, increased sensitivity of the lower limb or perineal area.
The described symptoms are very common and occur in a wide variety of diseases, so accurate diagnosis is the key to your successful treatment.
What helps sciatica and lower back pain?
There are different ways of curing sciatica:
Firstly, one of the best ways to cure the illness is manual therapy and osteopathy. These methods of treatment allow you to quickly eliminate functional blocks in the spine. In addition, physiotherapy treatment may be useful in curing lower back pain, which begins with magnetic laser therapy. Emitters are placed on the affected spine and on the painful area along the sciatic nerve. The course of treatment is 10 procedures, 15 minutes each day. Other means of treatment include laser therapy, electrophoresis with anesthetic and anti-inflammatory drugs and vacuum massage.
Secondly, spinal traction is an effective treatment for sciatica, but this type of traction are recommended after acute pain subsides. Special therapeutic massage is an irreplaceable method of sciatica therapy. With the help of massage we achieve relaxation of spasmodic muscles, anti-edema, anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. It is necessary to massage the entire back, focusing on the problem area of the spine, as well as massage the affected limb.
Thirdly, drug therapy may be used to relieve lower back pain and inflammation. For this purpose, the doctor prescribes non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), local anesthetics in the form of blockades. In the most difficult situations, several steroid anti-inflammatory drugs, vitamins of B group or medicines that improve microcirculation can be prescribed.
How do I relieve sciatic nerve pain?
If the sciatic nerve pain suddenly, you can relieve your condition using domestic therapy:
- Choose a body position where the pain syndrome will be least pronounced, usually on the back or on a healthy side with a straight leg that experiences pain.
- Limit physical activity.
- You can take analgesics: in the form of tablets or rubbing ointment (in the absence of contraindications).
- Seek emergency medical attention if you experience unbearable pain.
If the painful feelings worsen, it is not recommended to actively move: in case of severe pain, you need to limit physical activity as much as possible. If there is a suspicion of inflammation, then you can’t either warm, or rub the sore spot. Try to sleep on a hard mattress on one side during this time. And, of course, you shouldn’t take prescription medications and anti-inflammatories without a doctor’s recommendation. Remember that sciatic nerve pain cannot be cured at home: even if the symptoms have stopped, the disease will not disappear anywhere. Hence, after relieving the exacerbation, you will have to visit a neurologist.
What is chronic low back pain with sciatica?
Sciatica is a disease that is essentially a variant of lumbosacral sciatica, when the inflammatory process spreads to the sciatic nerve. This can be understood from the name of this disease. Sciatica is a syndrome caused by various reasons, the main symptom is pain along the sciatic nerve. You need to understand that this is most often not a simple inflammation of the sciatic nerve itself, but the result of any traumatic factors affecting the nerve. Inflammation of the sciatic nerve is a very common cause of back pain and can occur at different times in a person’s life at any age. The causes of sciatica can be both vertebrogenic (associated with diseases of the spine) and non-vertebrogenic (pregnancy, metabolic disorders, traumas, hypothermia, infectious processes).