Back pain; some treatment options you can explore

Back pain is said to be the most common cause of functional disability and absence from work in the world.  The prevalence of LBP in Nigeria is largely occupation-related and differs based on the type of occupation, population, or age group ( Bello and Bello, 2017). 

 The lifetime and annual prevalence of lower back pain in Africa are considerably higher than global lower back pain prevalence. ( Morris et al., 2018).

But what type of back pain is it?

Back pain is classed using different methods, however, it’s simpler for a patient to describe pain by where it is felt:

Upper and middle back pain: The upper back is the region below the cervical spine (neck) and above the low back (lumbar spine). The thoracic spine is connected to your ribs and sternum, making it rigid and stable – so it’s less prone to injury. This is why you can usually expect upper back pain to be related to the supporting muscles, not to the spine itself.

Lower back pain: You are most likely to experience back pain here. It is often caused by injury to a muscle (strain) or ligament (sprain).


Chronic and acute back pains


Regardless of where back pain occurs, the pain could be short-term and less severe (acute) or long-term (chronic), indicating underlying causes. You are most likely experiencing chronic back pain and immediate medical attention should be sought if you feel one of the following: 


  1. A sudden spike in pain, discomfort, weakness, or numbness.
  2. Loss of bladder function.
  3. Constant back pain even after resting
  4. High fever. (100°F and above)
  5. Severe stomach pain.
  6. Unexplainable weight loss.
  7. The pain results from a fall or severe blow to your back.
  8. History of cancer


Causes of back pain

Some back pain occurs spontaneously without a cause that your doctor can easily identify from tests. Identifiable causes of back pain  might include: 

  • Muscle or ligament strain
  • Bulging or ruptured disks
  • Arthritis.
  • Osteoporosis
  • Herniated disc(s)
  • Pinched/compressed nerves
  • The natural processes of aging
  • Tumors
  • Rest  


Some Treatment Options You Can Explore

Treatment for back pain is not set in stone. Our doctors at Cherry will choose the easiest method for you which might include:


Physical therapy: Luckily, some non-aggressive treatment options are deeply relaxing and will do you the overall benefit of easing stress.

Osteopathic manual therapy (OMT): An osteopath will move your muscles and joints with stretching, gentle pressure, and resistance.

Heat or Ice: Heat treatment is used within the first 48 hours of experiencing pain and is subsequently alternated with ice packs that are wrapped in a towel to prevent frostbite on your skin. 

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation:   Electrical impulses are sent to reduce pain signals going to the spinal cord and brain, which may help relieve pain and relax muscles.


Alternative medicine such as acupuncture and chiropractic care

Weight loss 

Anti-inflammatory diet 

Prescription medication

Healthy Habits to Stop Back pain

  • Work the muscles in your core with light exercise.
  • Ramp up on Calcium and vitamin D.
  • Wear the most comfortable shoes you can find.
  • Straighten up your spine when you sit and avoid slumping.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Mingle rather than stand in social gatherings. In addition to preventing back pain, it does wonders for your social networking skills.
  • Stop smoking
  • Lighten your load or to avoid overburdening your shoulders, move the load from shoulder to shoulder.
  • Make a habit out of stretching regularly. However, be sure not to overdo it
  • Sleep sideways. If you must sleep on your stomach, put a pillow under your lower belly.


Here’s One Thing You Should Never Do:

Avoid bed rest. When lower back pain strikes, people often think complete rest will relieve back pain. However, a review of many clinical studies found that patients who retreated to bed experienced more pain – and recovered more slowly ­– than patients who stayed fairly active.

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