Backache (also known as " dorsalgia ") is a pain felt in the back that usually originates in the muscles, nerves, bones, joints and other structures of the vertebral spine.
The pain can be divided into neck pain, upper back pain, back pain and coccyx. It can begin suddenly or it can be a chronic pain, it can be constant or eventual, stay in one place of irradiate to other places. It can be a flash pain, a hard feeling or a piercing pain. The pain can irradiate to your arm and hand, in the upper part or lower back (and can go from the leg to the foot), it can also include different symptoms like weakness, numbing or tingling.
The backache is one of mankind’s most frequent complaints. Close to 9 out of every 10 adults experiences backache at some point in their life and 5 out of every 10 adults that work suffer from backache every year.
Backache can be a sign to a much bigger medical problem, although this isn’t usually the underlying cause:
- Classic warning signs of a potentially deadly problem are intestinal and/or bladder incontinence, or progressive weakness in the legs.
- Sever backache, (like the pain that is so bad as to interrupt your sleep) which occurs with other grave signs (such as, fever, inexplicable weight loss) can also indicate a more serious underlying medical condition.
- A backache can occurs after a trauma, like a car accident or a fall, it could indicate a fracture of the bone or another kind of lesion.
- Backache in people with medical conditions that could put them at higher risk of suffering a spine fracture, like osteoporosis or multiple myeloma, demands immediate medical attention.
- Backache in patients with a history of cancer (there are known cases of transmission to the spine from breast, lung and prostate cancer) should be evaluated to rule out metastatic cancer in the vertebral spine.
Backache can go from a mild and constant pain to sharp, sudden spikes that make it difficult to move. The pain can appear suddenly, after a fall or by lifting something heavy. It can also increase little by little.
¿Who can suffer from backache?
Anyone can have backache, but there are several factors that increase the risk of suffering from them, such as:
- Aging. Backache is more common as you get older. The pain can begin between your 30s and 40s.
- Having poor physical condition. Backache is most common among people who don’t exercise regularly. (Sedentary).
- Weight gain. A diet that’s high in calories and fats can make you gain weight. Being overweight can make your back work too hard and cause pain.
- Hereditary problems. Some causes for backache, like ankylosing spondylitis (a kind of arthritis that affects the vertebral spine), can have a hereditary component.
- Suffering from other diseases. Some types of arthritis and cancer could cause backache.
- Doing some types of labor. Lifting, pushing and pulling at the same time as bending the spine can cause backache. If you work in a desk all day and don’t sit straight, this can also lead to backache.
- Smoking. If you smoke, it’s possible that your body can’t carry enough nutrients to your disks. Smoker’s cough can also lead to backache. Smokers have a harder time recuperating, so the backache could last longer.
Another factor could be race. For instance, African-American women have twice or three times more opportunity to develop a dislocated disk.
¿What are the causes of backache?
Backache can have many causes. Problems related to the workings of the back can cause pain. For example:
- Spinal disk lesions.
- Muscle tension.
- Disk hernia.
Lesions caused by sprains, fractures, accidents and falls can result in back pains.
Backache can also occur along with other conditions and diseases like:
- Lumbar Stenosis.
- Kidney stones.
Infections, tumors and stress can also cause back pains.
¿Can backaches be prevented?
The best preventive measures against backache are:
- • Exercising regularly.
- • Maintaining a healthy weight, or losing some if you are overweight. To keep your bones strong, you need enough calcium and vitamin D every day.
- • Maintaining a good posture by standing straight and avoid lifting heavy objects. If you must lift something heavy, bend your knees and keep your back straight.
¿When should I see a doctor?
- You should consult with your doctor if you feel:
- Numbness or tingling.
- Intense pain that won’t go away with rest.
- Pain after a fall or lesion.
- Pain accompanied by of the following problems:
- Difficulty peeing.
- Numbness in legs.
- Weight loss without dieting.
PAILL Laboratorios gives you three interesting tips:
- "Bed rest is not sufficient treatment for a backache, on the contrary: if it last longer than 4 days, it can lead to loss of strength and increases difficulty to rehabilitate the patient. Even if the intensity of the pain forces some patients to stay in bed for a few days, this is a consequence of the injury or pain, not a treatment.".
- "It’s convenient to maintain the degree of activity the pain allows, doing as much as you can, and slowly increase the activity as the pain improves, so you can return to work or normal life as soon as possible.".
- You have to be as active as you can, without forcing the back, applying the rules for posture care.