What are the causes of back pain

Back pain

Back pain (ICD code M54) has become a common ailment. They mostly arise through overload of tendons and ligaments on the spine or Signs of wear and tear on vertebrae and intervertebral discs. Accidents and diseases of the spine are less common. Back pain is differentiated according to duration, location and trigger. No clear cause can be found in 85% of all back pain patients.

The most common causes of back pain

One-sided physical strain, a sedentary lifestyle, obesity and competitive sports are the most common reasons for back pain. Pregnancy is also often accompanied by back pain in the last trimester, as the extra weight puts a strain on the spine. Since the spine is constantly under strain and stability and mobility are required of it, the muscles must work together well. With many movements, individual muscle groups are overstrained. These tend to be tense and shortened. The opponents remain neglected, wither and are overstretched. Both lead to discomfort with everyday movements and pain.

Acute back pain

Most acute back pain has harmless causes and occurs, for example, as a result of incorrect movement. The so-called "lumbago" in the lower back can still be very painful. Standing and sitting are difficult, and lying down is also very uncomfortable. Relaxation and pain relief can be brought about, for example, through the stepped positioning. The sick person lies on their back and legs at right angles on a stool or on piled pillows. The pain subsides as soon as there is less pressure on the intervertebral discs and nerves. Medication, massages, heat or cold applications and physiotherapy help to loosen up the cramped muscles.

Acute back pain from pinched sciatic nerve

Even a normal movement can cause irritation or pinching of the sciatic nerve. The same can happen with disc damage and osteoarthritis. The sharp pain in the lumbar spine radiate over the back of the leg to the foot. Self-help exercises for sciatica pain are only intended as first aid. Pressing the pain point on the back extensor can also provide relief. As a preventive measure, those affected should take care to maintain a good posture, i.e. do not make a hollow back, load the legs evenly and never fully push the knees. Severe pain requires specialist therapy.

Acute back pain from a herniated disc

Even if back pain can rarely be traced back to a single cause, there are clinical pictures that cause acute pain. With increasing age, the intervertebral discs wear out and become brittle. The soft nucleus of the intervertebral disc shifts towards the fibrous ring and presses on the nerves. The result is a stabbing pain that radiates into the arms and legs. Most of the herniated discs subside within three months with painkillers and physiotherapy, i.e. conventionally.

How does chronic back pain arise?

The doctor differentiates between chronic and acute pain according to its duration. Pain that lasts up to six weeks is considered acute, longer periods are referred to as chronic complaints. Only 10% of acute back pain later becomes chronic. The history of the development of this clinical picture is complex. Chronic back pain is often the result of overload and also occurs as a side effect of emotional stress. These psychosocial factors are called "yellow flags". They mean that the pain lasts longer and is also felt more intensely. Environmental factors also play a role.

Osteoarthritis of the supporting apparatus causes chronic back pain

Just like our knee joints, the vertebral bodies also wear out with age or with obesity. Osteoarthritis is found in the cervical spine as well as in the lumbar spine. The pain radiates from the lower back to the legs and feet, complaints in the upper back lead to tilted posture as well as headache and neck pain. The wear and tear on the joints cannot be prevented, but it can be stopped. Patients who lose excess weight and avoid improper exercise have good prospects of freedom from pain. First of all, anti-inflammatory drugs will help. In addition, those affected should incorporate more exercise into their everyday life, because this has a very beneficial effect.

Are the psyche and back connected?

This question must be answered with a resounding yes. Many people react to emotional stress with headaches, neck and back pain. Since strong emotional tension directly affects the autonomic nervous system, it also increases muscle tension. So it often happens Tension in the shoulder and neck area. Due to the pain, the person concerned takes a relieving posture, i.e. moves even less, which increases the pain. If the muscles are tense over the long term, the bones and joints are also more worn. The nerves also suffer from the constant pain.

Is there a connection between feet and back pain?

Poor posture, a common cause of back pain, is often related to the feet. For example, if the feet roll inwards while running, the body becomes unbalanced. The legs also turn inwards and the pelvis tilts slightly forward. This results in a stronger and painful curvature of the spine. When standing for long periods of time, many people experience lower back pain. These can be alleviated by wearing insoles. The soles correct the posture and also compensate for differences in height between the two hips. In the long run, however, it makes more sense to strengthen the foot muscles and all of the skeletal muscles.

What symptoms should you see a doctor for?

The orthopedist is the right contact for back pain, but the family doctor can also help in many cases. If a change in posture does not reduce the pain and it is with you Difficulty breathing or bowel and bladder problems connected, a doctor's visit is always necessary. The same goes for pain that lasts for more than a week with no noticeable improvement. In the case of acute pain, the person affected will intuitively consult a doctor. The therapy for back pain always depends on the cause.

Treatment of back pain

The therapy of back pain aims at Fight pain and Loosening tense muscles, then open Muscle strengthening. Physiotherapy plays a major role in this. With physiotherapeutic exercises, excellent results are also achieved in the case of herniated discs. An operation is only indicated if absolutely indicated (muscular paralysis, bladder or intestinal paralysis) and unsuccessful conservative therapy attempts. Strengthening exercises affect the muscles in the abdomen, back and legs. The abdominal muscles are antagonists of the back muscles. A firm stomach supports the upright posture. In the back school, the patient learns to avoid harmful movements such as lifting heavy loads incorrectly or getting up suddenly from sitting or lying down. For long-term prevention, it is advisable to make the workplace back-friendly.

Rehabilitation for back pain

Rehabilitation measures are arranged individually and are often necessary because those affected have a whole spectrum of symptoms. Many chronic pain patients have already had various unsuccessful therapies. As part of a rehab, you receive optimal treatment that is based on several pillars. Also standing in a rehab clinic Physiotherapy and medical training therapy for muscle strengthening in the foreground. The psychologists are also part of the pain concept in order to contribute to pain relief and a healthier way of dealing with stressful situations.

It is not possible for the doctor at home to offer these services for a fixed period of time. In the clinic, patients also learn suitable behaviors to avoid pain. Chronic pain is often about that Reintegration into workbecause sick people were unable to work for a long time. Rehabilitation measures can also help here.

last changed on: May 2nd, 2019

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