At some point you will no doubt have looked for back pain relief in the form of pills or gel! In fact the majority of UK people have been affected by back pain at some point.
In fact research by the BMJ (British Medical Journal) showed almost 50% of adults have reported some kind of back pain at some point. And it's everyday activities like stairs and shopping that can be most difficult you are affected by a sudden attack or long term problems.
The area that casues the most problem is the lower back region called the 'lumbar' area. The back is divided into five regions and this area is by far the most susceptible to injury due to it bearing the full weight of the upper body and also being the area that facilitates twisting and bending.
There are two main types of back pain - acute and chronic. Acute back pain is short term and can be due to injuries. Often the simplest route to treat is with pain killers and alternative treatments like acupuncture or physiotherapy.
Chronic back pain is defined as pain that persists for longer than three months. Although treatments like physiotherapy can be beneficial pain is likely to remain in some form. Chronic back pain is more likely in the over 50s than younger age groups.
Although chronic back pain can be debilitating it is important for sufferers to receive the support of family, friends or fellow sufferers. Help available at specialist hospital pain clinics.
One of the most common causes of back pain is lifting or attempting to lift something that is too heavy. The good news is that a few simple steps can greatly reduce the risk of injury:
- Ask for help when lifting heavy items.
- Bend your knees and keep your back straight.
- Get a firm grip on the item being moved.
- Avoid twisting movements and take breaks if lifting over a long distance.
There is also a well-established link between poor posture and back pain. To ensure a healthy back, stand and sit up straight, with your head up and shoulders back. This reduces strain on the back's supporting muscles. It is also important to remember to maintain good posture when driving and when relaxing, for example when watching the TV.
Medical advice varies but it is generally accepted that for minor problems one of the best treatments is to keep active, even if you experience some minor pain, Like all muscles, they need exercise to remain strong and healthy. Prolonged bed rest can make matters worse, as inactivity itself can be a leading cause.
Vigorous exercise, such as walking and swimming, can help to prevent further problems and will improve general health and fitness.
As it's very common and most cases are not serious, if the pain persists or worsens it is important to seek a professional help.