Complete Back Pain Resource

Everything You Need To Know About Back Pain

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With millions of Americans reportedly suffering from back pain it can be difficult to separate what is true and what isn't when it comes to diagnosing and treating back pain. Due to this pervasive misinformation, back pain is now one of the leading causes of missed work days, visits to the doctor and reduced productivity in the workplace.

The fact is that nearly three-fourths of Americans will experience back pain at some point in their adult lives, and given this fact you can see how important it is to have access to accurate information regarding back pain. By recognizing symptoms of back pain you will seek out treatment sooner and prevent chronic back pain.

So how do you distinguish between a simply backache or real back pain? The only thing that can tell you that is time. You can experience back pain anywhere-upper, middle or lower back and left or right side pain-but the key to a proper diagnosis is noting how long the pain lasts. Where your pain is located and the severity of the pain depends on how your back was injured.

Causes of Back Pain

There are many different ways that back pain can sneak up on us. The most common cause of back pain is injury or trauma, which of course is pretty easy to determine because you know exactly what happened to cause the pain. This makes diagnosis and treatment much easier.

The larger problem with figuring out what caused your particular back pain is that it could be a simple lifestyle factor such as poor posture due to improper lifting or too much time sitting at a desk. It could even be something as benign as the way you sleep. Do you curl yourself into a ball or sleep on your arm? These simple things to improve your sleep comfort could also contribute to your current back pain.

Although exercise is considered a great preventative measure for back pain, it can quite easily become a cause for back pain. If you lift weights that are heavier than you can handle or lift improperly, a simple workout can turn into excruciating back pain.

Recognizing the Symptoms

One of the most difficult things for back pain sufferers to understand is the symptoms they experience. While some symptoms-like radiating pain and tingling-are common among most sufferers, some depend on the cause of the injury.

Muscle stiffness, for example, is something most back pain sufferers experience but not for the reasons you might think. The muscle can be stiff simply because a muscle is contracted, but most of the time it is due to our response to pain. Since the pain seems to be less when our muscles are tight, we tighten them to make it through the day, which leads to muscle stiffness.

Other symptoms such as a sharp or dull pain are quite common whether you suffer from sciatica, a herniated disc or degenerative disc disease. The pain often spreads from its initial location up to the shoulders and neck or down the buttocks and legs.

If you notice any of these symptoms lasting longer than a few days chances are good that you have a serious back problem and need to seek out treatment. If however you are lucky enough to be in between back pain at the moment, you should be focused on taking steps to prevent back pain.

Preventing Back Pain

Remember how mom used to always nag you to eat your vegetables and go play outside? Well it turns out that, like with most things, mom was right. A healthy diet and an active lifestyle can go a long way in preventing back pain for several different reasons.

Exercise can help you reverse or stave off obesity, which is a common cause of many forms of back pain. More importantly however, exercise improves posture to give you a healthy and straight spine, along with strong back muscles.

A healthy diet of course gives you the energy you need to remain active and maintain a healthy weight.

Often we think of massage therapy or yoga as a back pain treatment, but they can actually do a lot to prevent back pain. If you do a lot of heavy lifting for work or you spend hours at a time behind a computer screen, your muscles will be tight and grow stiff over time. A massage here and there is not only incredibly relaxing, but it also relives the tension from those muscles so they never get so stiff that a chronic problem develops.

A weekly or bi-weekly massage along with yoga or other muscle stretches can help make back pain but a distant memory, particularly when combined with a semi-firm pillow and mattress and other tools such as ergonomic office equipment.

There are many tools in your arsenal to prevent back pain; use them. These tools are far less costly and painful than treating persistent back pain. After all, wouldn't you rather have a back pillow than back surgery?

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