Did you know that a back ache may originate from the muscles, nerves, bones, joints or other structures in the spine? The pain may be have a sudden onset and it can be caused by acute or chronic pain. That is, it can be felt constantly or intermittently.
Back pain may be in one place or refer or radiate to other areas, especially the extremities. It may feel like a dull ache, or a sharp, piercing, or burning sensation. If the pain is sharp, it's a call to action.
Pain that you feel in your neck can radiate into the shoulder, arm, and hand. Pain in the upper or lower back might radiate down to the leg or foot. Sciatica pain follows the nerve path of the sciatica nerve. Other symptoms may accompany the pain you have such as weakness, numbness, or tingling.
Back pain is a very frequent complaint. In the US alone, acute lower back pain is the fifth most common reason for absenteeism from jobs. About nine out of ten adults experience back pain at some point in their life, and five out of ten working adults experience back pain at least once every year.
What Causes Back Ache?
Large nerves that originate in the spine and extend down to the legs and arms is called 'radiating pain' or 'referred pain'. The discomfort you feel happens because your spine is a complex, interconnecting, network of nerves, joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. They are ALL capable of producing large amounts of pain.
It is interesting to note that transient (temporary) back pain is likely one of the first symptoms of influenza.
Muscle strains (which are generally 'pulled muscles'), and muscle imbalances are common causes of back pain for most people. Pain from either type of injury often remains as long as the strain or imbalance persists. A muscle imbalance causes a mechanical problem with the skeleton, which builds up pressure at various points along the spine. Those weaknesses cause back ache.
If your pain is sharp or sudden, or if you have developed loose bowels or diarrhea, seek a physician's care immediately. These are clear signs that something is NOT normal. However, if your back pain is associated with soreness or simple strains, here are some tips to implement right now.
7 Tips for Back Ache Relief
Get Rid of Your Bed - For the longest time I had a problem with back pain and neck aches. Then I figured out my bed was the culprit!
Turns out the mattress I was sleeping on was causing the problem. So the first question you must ask yourself is if you're sleeping on the right mattress?
Use NSAIDS! Ibuprofen especially has a dramatic effect on muscle aches and spasms but aspirin also works short term. Both are classified as an 'anti-inflammatory' or NSAID. Most of the time, is fine to combine them with most prescriptive drugs, however it's good advice to check with your doctor first.
Acetaminophen is not an anti-inflammatory so that won’t work, even though is it often highly recommended!
Cushion your curve! - Try cramming a small cushion or pillow into the curve or 'small of your back'. This will make your back bend in the right direction. It's the way your back's supposed to be naturally aligned.
Putting a cushion behind your back forces the spine in correct alignment. Or get a chair that's ergonomically correct! Both are a great idea to do while you work at the computer or in the car too! The image just above is what a normal spine should look like.
Of course you can always use this optional method to help realign your spine! Works great and many, many people have thanked me!
Align Your Spine!
Sit upright with your shoulders down and back and your spinal column straight. Head should be upright. Your chest should be out, stomach in and hips flexed slightly backwards.
Try staying in this position for a while! Over long extended periods of time, it can really help!
Try sleeping with proper alignment too! Did you know that your back should also be aligned when you sleep? Even if you sleep on your side? Keeping your spinal column straightened out, elongates and wards off back ache before it starts. You can move your feet any way you like, just sleep with your back in good alignment. Do it enough times and it becomes habit. You'll wake up feeling energized instead of exhausted! Promise!
Know Your Aches! - Sometimes, heat feels great but so does ice! Either of these treatments can bring soothing relief but it's recommended to know which one to choose.
Try using your ice pack for 10 minutes or so and when your back is warmed up again, try using heat. (Wet heat or infrared is always recommended over dry heat but use what you have handy.) Which one feels better?
Sit on the Floor - Old worn out cushions on chairs and sofa's can contribute to back ache, which is why it's good for your spinal column to have to adjust to a hard floor. The differences between them can help realign the spine, even when it's uncomfortable at first to do. If you want, you can use a mat or small cushion if the hard floor seems too intolerable. When you're laying low, so to speak, you have to look up to view the rest of the room, which forces you to sit up. You remember how right?
When You Stand - Balance your weight between the toes and the heels, ignite core muscles, and push your buttocks out. This forces you hips back and lowers them (pelvic tilt), which tightens abs, forces shoulders back, and pretty much forces your spine to align correctly. Over time, it takes a load of stress off your spinal column and reduces the chances of back ache. You must be conscious of your posture however. If you start hunching forward or leaning backward, correct your stance again.
When your pain is tolerable or under control again, you may want to try some gentle stretches to help elongate the muscles. If your back ache gets worse, seek immediate care. It's important enough to never put off!
Always consult your physician before using natural remedies, especially for anyone with preexisting conditions or anyone currently taking prescription medications. Although many efforts are made to ensure that the advice given on this site is professionally sound, the advice is not intended to replace a mutual relationship with a medical provider.