Lower back pain has affected many if not everyone, once or more in a lifetime. Research says back pain is the second most reason for disability not only among the aged but the young too.
There are many reasons for back pain, from lifting heavy weights to poor sleeping positions. In this article, we highlight what back pain is and its causes and how you could improve and prevent the same.
Watch: Back Pain Breakthrough Video
What is Back Pain?
Back pain happens when your back experiences both mild and severe strain which leads to pain. This pain could affect either the lower or upper back.
The strain on various parts of the back like nerves, muscles, ligaments, or the spine could cause pain. Lower back pain is the most common back pain experienced today and it could affect anyone.
However, back pain could be associated with other diseases and could be symptoms of diseases like:
- Kidney problem
- Cancer of the spine
- Raptured hernia
Back pain can also be categorized differently. Acute back pain and chronic back pain. Acute back pain refers to pain that lasts less than four weeks while chronic back pain usually lasts for more than twelve weeks or more.
Lower back pain mostly develops into chronic pain and mostly affects individuals from the age of 30 to 60. This is because of the aging effect on the human body.
Scientifically, fluid that helps the vertebrae in the spine reduces immensely making the disks easily irritable. The fact that muscles are also lost as aging takes place makes the back weaker.
Why is Back Pain at Night a Red Flag?
Experiencing back pain at night could be very uncomfortable. Night back pain, also known as Nocturnal Pain, could bring along extreme pain no matter any adjustments you make during your rest or sleep.
An individual could easily experience no pain during the day but have severe night back pain. Changing sleeping positions could even worsen the situation.
It is not clear what causes night back pain but some common causes include spine and back discs issues, long-term injuries and fractures that may be due to an accident or fall, and serious diseases and infections like kidney stones, arthritis, cancer, and endometriosis.
Night back pain is usually a red flag for severe spine injury and should be checked immediately by a medical professional. The red flags could include bone tumors, bone infections, signs of cancer history, weak bones and immunity, history of trauma, and bowel issues.
Luckily, nighttime back pain is not always a cause of serious health issues, especially if the pain lasts only a day or two. Sometimes, the causes could be as a result of strain, for instance, lifting heavy weights at the gym or during manual labor.
What are the Causes of Back Pain?
Back pain, whether upper or lower pain, could attract various causes.
Can Constipation Cause Back Pain?
One could easily assume that constipation cannot cause back pain, but in reality, constipation does cause lower back pain. When the intestines swell due to constipation and fecal matter, discomfort is caused around the abdomen and lower back area. This could easily make the lower backache.
When the intestines swell and are pressed against the back, pressure affects the discs of the back which eventually cause pain. Engaging in exercises and activities and drinking lots of water could help release constipation which will eventually reduce the pain.
Can a Hernia Cause Back Pain?
Yes, hernia causes back pain. A hernia occurs when tissue comes out of the muscle and skin which could result in blood flow problems and pain.
There are two types of hernia: Inguinal Hernias which occur in areas surrounding the groin and thigh and Ventral Hernia which occurs around the abdominal areas. Both these types of hernias cause back pain, especially in the lower back.
On the other hand, many individuals confuse hernia with herniated discs. A herniated disc means there is a tissue tear around your back discs which can be caused by either wear and tear or strain on the lower back, either due to heavy lifting or poor posture.
Can IBS Cause Back Pain?
IBS refers to irritable bowel syndrome and many patients with IBS are prone to both acute and chronic back pain.
Although science has not officially proven this, some medical practitioners believe issues with the bowel, particularly the large intestines could affect the lower back. Patients with this condition mostly report cases of lower back pain, especially during the night.
Can Trapped Wind Cause Back Pain?
Trapped wind refers to the build-up of gases around your abdominal area which affects the stomach and back. Trapped wind causes the stomach, largely the intestines to press against the lower back which causes pain.
The gases could be due to digestive issues. Some remedies to ease trapped wind include:
- Taking a walk.
- Massaging the lower back and abdominal area.
- Drinking lots of water.
- Yoga exercises.
- Ingesting apple cider to help ease the gases.
- One can also use Simeticone medicine as an antiflatulent.
Can Indigestion Cause Back Pain?
Indigestion, also known as Dyspepsia, causes food to remain in the stomach for a long time. This causes the expansion of the digestive tract which presses against nerves and tissues surrounding the lower back which eventually causes pain.
Ingestion of lemon water, apple cider, and ginger could help relieve this indigestion which will release the pressure on the lower back.
Can Acid Reflux Cause Back Pain?
Acid reflux causes heartburn which is a digestive disorder that causes back pain. Symptoms of acid reflux include chest sensations and middle back pain. The pain radiates from the esophagus to the middle and lower back.
Eating sparingly and slowly may ease the effect of acid reflux. Losing some weight could also help in such situations for the long-term treatment.
Can Anxiety Cause Back Pain?
Many patients who experience anxiety report cases of back pain, especially lower back pain. This happens when anxiety causes muscle tension which affects the back mostly. When adrenaline and cortisol are released, it causes tightening of muscles.
Other than the back which is hugely affected, other parts affected include the neck and the shoulder region. Prolonged tightness of these muscles could cause severe back pain. Ensure to manage your anxiety levels in order to avoid experiencing lower back pain.
Can Gerd Cause Back Pain?
Gastrointestinal reflux disease causes a burning sensation on the chest with discomfort trickling down to the middle back. This pain also transfers to the shoulder blades if severe.
To treat GERD, a procedure known as Nissen fundoplication is done. This involves wrapping areas around the esophagus that emit these gases that cause back and chest pains.
Can a Prolapse Cause Back Pain?
Back pain is a common symptom of many patients with prolapse. In many women with uterine prolapse, this is reported alongside vaginal and pelvis pressure. Prolapse can also happen to back discs which would cause lower back pain. This is caused when the prolapsed disc presses against the nerve areas on the back.
Luckily, there are ways to ease the pain of prolapse. Engaging in activities that exert minimal pressure on the muscles. One can use these exercises to strengthen the pelvic muscles too. Moreover, one can use over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen to relieve this pain.
Can Gastritis Cause Back Pain?
Gastritis causes sharp and stabbing-like pain in the middle and upper back. This pain goes to the abdomen too, especially the upper left side.
To ease gastritis which will ease the back pain, try ingesting anti-inflammatory diets, essential oils, and green tea, ensure to also keep your stress levels down as they cause not only gastritis but could easily fuel the back pain.
Can Diverticulitis Pain Radiate to Back?
This is a condition where bulging pouches develop in your digestive tract. These pouches cause poor digestion or indigestion. These pouches also become inflamed or infected which causes pain around the digestive system.
This pain trickles to the lower back and is usually sharp and uncomfortable. Other areas affected by this pain include the legs, groin, and abdomen.
To ease diverticulitis, incorporate vitamin D in your lifestyle, exercise more and regularly, and eat foods rich in fiber.
What Causes Pain Under Right Breast Radiating to Back?
People experiencing pain under the right breast often complain of back pain. This pain could be an indication of infections, inflammations, or intestinal issues.
Moreover, it could indicate problems with the back due to strain or injured muscles. These injured muscles cause back pain due to shred nerve systems.
Easing pain from your right breast, you will need to rest more and exercise too. Yoga could be a good form of exercise and stretch for the muscles.
This involves the narrowing of the spinal canal. The narrowing causes pressure to fill the nerves and spine thereby causing pain. However, this happens mostly to the aged, especially those above the age of 60.
Injuries are also common in causing back pain. Further, Injuries could come from accidents, sports game falls, or lifting heavyweights.
The spine is considered the epicenter of the body’s activity. If the spine is strained or injured in any way, back pain is inevitable. Depending on the severity of the injury, the back pain could ease on its own or require therapy.
Irregular Spine Structure
Irregular spine structures can be caused by conditions like Scoliosis, kyphosis, and lordosis. These conditions cause poor posture which eventually affects the back causing pain.
One could feel the pain either at the lower or middle back. This is due to pressure being exerted on the muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
In addition, there are other causes of back pain linked to an individual’s lifestyle. These include:
- Over weight
- Lifting heavy weights on a daily routine.
- Wearing high heels on a daily basis
- Poor seating posture
- Seating at your work desk the whole day without taking a break to stretch.
- Smoking and alcohol consumption which could lead to arthritis causing back pain
- Poor hydration which causes the kidneys to strain causing lower back pain. Lower back pain due to dehydration can be severe.
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What Does Back Pain Signify?
Back pain can signify a lot of issues, some being severe while others mild and no cause of alarm. Moreover, continuous back pain could be a sign of serious diseases.
Is Back Pain a Sign of Covid-19?
Scientists have associated Covid-19 with several symptoms including fever, dry cough, tiredness, sore throat, headache and aches, and pains. Although aches and pains can occur on different parts of the body, the back may also experience the same.
Chest pains and pressure being symptoms of this virus could easily lead to strain of the back and cause pain too. If you experience back pain alongside other covid-19 symptoms, it is important to present yourself to a medical doctor for a diagnosis.
Is Back Pain a Sign of Labour?
Back pains range from lower to middle and upper back. Ligaments in the body soften and weaken in preparation for labor during pregnancy. This further puts strains and pressure on joints which weaken the lower back.
The lower back experiences regular pains due to these effects. During labor, the force exerted in the womb also causes lower back pains.
Is Lower Back Pain a Sign of Early Pregnancy?
Pregnancy is a common cause of back pain. This affects different women differently thus, for some, it could begin during the early days of the pregnancy while this might only affect some during the late stages of it. However, some women might experience back pain during the whole pregnancy.
Weight changes during pregnancy can result to back pain during pregnancy because of the fetus. This can also result due to hormonal changes and mood swings which affect the emotional status of the woman carrying.
Mood swings could easily lead to stressful situations and increase anxiety which would eventually cause back pains.
What Exercise is effective for Back Pain?
An effective remedy for back pain is exercising. One could perform different exercises to ease the back pain and pressure. Here are some:
Bridge Pose Exercise
Performing bridge poses helps relieve the lower back from pain. This exercise supports and strengthens the gluteus maximus which supports the lower back. It involves lying on the ground and bending your knees upwards.
You should place your arms by the side and raise your hips upwards until the body is straight from the shoulder to the knees. You can do this for a maximum of 15 to 20 times with five seconds pose while up.
As the name suggests, cat stretch involves positioning yourself like a cat. You position your hands and knees on the floor while you slowly arch your back inwards and outwards. In between the arches, you could pose for 3 to 5 seconds for a maximum stretch.
Knee to Chest Stretch
This exercise is best for relieving pressure and strain from the lower back. It involves lying on the ground with both knees bent upwards. Using your hands, lift one knee towards your chest and press it gently against the chest.
Hold the knee for 5 seconds while breathing steadily and the abdomen tight while the spine is flat on the ground.
You then return to the original position and exchanging the knee, bringing it to the chest. This can be done repeatedly. Both knees can also be brought towards the chest while the spine is straight on the ground.
Rotation of the Lower Back
Performing this exercise involves lying on the ground with bent knees towards the side.
While the shoulder is firmly on the ground to help keep the upper body in position, slowly turn both knees from side to side, holding one side for 5 seconds.
Keep rolling from side to side for 20 repetitions and relax. You could do this twice a day.
Lying Leg Laterals
This exercise helps the hip abductors which support the back. This could easily relieve lower back pain. It involves lying on the side.
The lower leg will remain low while slightly bent while the upper leg will be raised up and down with a 2-second hold in between the raises. Repeat 10 times and change sides in order to lift the other leg.
The Superman Exercises
Developing a strong back helps reduce the risk of back pains. Superman exercises help develop a strong back. To perform this exercise, you will lie on the ground facing downwards, (face down), while stretching your arms and feet.
Raise both hands and feet off the ground and hold for two seconds before returning them down. Do this repeatedly, for 10 repetitions, and relax.
Lower Back Rotational Stretches
These stretches help stretch the back and relieve pain. One can do them either by standing or seated. It involves twisting your core from side to side, slowly and gently, holding for 5 seconds on each side. This can be done for 10 repetitions and twice a day.
Best Mattress for Back Pain
If you experience back pain, you should consider having a comfortable and hard mattress that will enable you to rest well and keep the spine in check. However, finding the right mattress for your back needs might not be as easy as it may seem.
You could visit an orthopedic who would easily recommend an orthopedic mattress for back pains.
The best mattress for back pain should:
- Keep your spine aligned
- Not be too hard or too soft
A good mattress should also come with good soft pillows that will enable your neck to rest well keeping the spine aligned.
How to Sleep with Lower Back Pain?
Sleeping positions matter when it comes to relieving back pains. Proper sleeping positions for back pain include:
- Fetal position on the side. Fetal position involves bringing your knees to your chest. It helps relieve back pain.
- Sleeping on the side with pillow between your knees. The pillows between your knees help with alignment of the spine.
- For those who sleep with the stomach, a pillow should be placed under the abdomen to ease the pressure exerted on the lower back. This also keeps the spine aligned.
- Sleeping on your back with a pillow under the knees. Placing a pillow under the knees helps keep the spine aligned.
- Sleeping on the back with a reclined posture.
How to Sleep with Upper Back Pain?
The best sleeping position for upper back pain is sleeping on your back with a pillow below your knees. This position ensures the spine is optimal and aligned.
Using a pillow under your head also helps keep the spine intact. You could also roll a small towel and place it under the lower back. This will ensure the spine is well aligned and sleeping will be easy.
Should I Run with Lower Back pain?
Although many individuals keep off running, it could actually be beneficial to help ease lower back pain. However, it is essential to run for a short distance at a slow pace. Rigorous running might strain the back further.
How do I Know if my Back Pain is Serious?
Back pain can be stressful and uncomfortable to an extreme extent. Even though there are some back pains that go away on their own after a while, there are those that can develop chronically.
You should consider visiting your doctor if you notice some of the following signs that come with back pain:
- Continuous back pain
- Stomach pain
- Back pains from injuries and accidents
- Sudden weight loss with back injury
Yoga for Back Pain
Yoga is not only a relaxing form of exercise for the kind but also to help relieve back pain. There are different forms of yoga exercises that help with back pain.
Actually, many individuals who experience back pain are encouraged to attend yoga classes and perform yoga exercises to help with the pain.
- Cobra pose
- Cat-cow pose
- Bridge pose
- Locust pose
- Lord of the fishes
- Sphinx poses
- Extended triangle
Why is my Lower Back Pain Worse in the Morning?
Worsened lower back pain in the morning could be a sign of herniated discs. Herniated discs mean tissue between the vertebrae breaks and causes inflammation. These pains mostly occur in the morning due to inactivity during the night while sleeping.
Watch: Back Pain Breakthrough Video
If you experience lower back pains during the mornings, ensure to stretch when you wake up in order to reduce the pain. Stretching could also relieve the pain.
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