What to do if your back and back hurt?

back pain symptoms

If we exclude obvious causes, such as injury, muscle tension or hypothermia, back pain in adults is more often associated with degenerative changes in the structure of the intervertebral joints and the vertebral body itself.

This process is called differently in different countries, but the essence does not change: with age, due to metabolic disorders, as well as asymmetric or excessive loads, the cartilage, which is located between the vertebrae and ensures their mobility, thins and thickens. This leads to microtrauma and inflammation of the intervertebral joints and surrounding tissues.

Inflammation can be extinguished quickly with the help of drugs, but the regeneration of cartilage is a long process: cartilage wears out faster than it is restored. Therefore, having arisen once, pain in the spine, as a rule, returns periodically.

What to do: get an MRI and see a neurologist, get your bones cracked by a chiropractor, take pills or use alternative medicine?

First of all, see a neurologist!

This is where you should start when your back first hurts. The doctor must exclude all the causes of pain that are really dangerous, for example, compression fractures (sometimes they happen without being noticed), tuberculosis of the spine, or tumors.

Most likely, the doctor will limit himself to a simple examination and prescribe treatment for 3-5 days, and then give recommendations for lifestyle correction. In the future, if the pain recurs, you will be able to cope with it yourself.

Doing a spinal MRI on your own initiative is a waste of money and time. In most cases, the results of the study will not affect the choice of treatment, tactics and prognosis, and therefore, your well-being.

You should definitely see a neurologist: if the back pain is accompanied by weakness in the legs, arms, if there is a problem with the sensitivity of the body below the pain point (numbness, crawling, tingling) or the function of the pelvic organs is affected (urinary problems, erection, etc. ). In this case, a more in-depth examination will be required.

Enduring pain is dangerous

Pain causes muscle spasms, which increase pressure on the spinal nerves and pain receptors in the joints, and also limit movement. To recover faster, you need to break this chain.

Therefore, in case of severe pain, bed rest is indicated for the first 1-3 days. Everyone chooses for themselves a position where the pain is minimal, but more often it helps to lie on your back, on a hard base with a bolster under your knees and lower back, with your head on a low pillow. Sometimes it's easier in the fetal position: on your side, with your back rounded and a pillow between your bent knees.

Medicines include pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs for 3-5 days. As a rule, after 1 injection it gets better. You can also take these drugs in tablets: the strength of the action will not change, but the effect will come later.

Vitamins B1, B6, B12 are indicated along with painkillers. They help overcome pain, inflammation, and improve metabolism in nerve tissue.

A neurologist or therapist may prescribe muscle relaxants. They help relax the spinal muscles, reduce pressure on the source of inflammation and pain, but can have serious side effects, so it is better not to take them without expert advice.

If everything is done correctly, the pain will subside within 3-5 days. The future of your back is in your hands. How much your quality of life will change now does not depend on the qualifications of the treating doctor, but on whether you are ready to work properly on your muscles and joints!

How to make yourself move?

There is a rule developed by natural selection: to avoid pain, thereby protecting damaged body parts from destruction. But back pain is an exception.

During a week of bed rest, you can lose up to 20-30% of muscle strength, and this significantly reduces the chances of full recovery in the future.

Why train muscles?

first,strong back and abdominal muscles are able to take the largest part of the load when absorbing movement, as well as stabilize the spine in the correct position - so that the intervertebral joints take the optimal configuration and experience less wear and tear. It has been proven that people with underdeveloped muscles are more likely to suffer from chronic back pain.

Second,training the back muscles increases the density of the vertebral bones. This is an excellent prevention of osteoporosis and compression fractures, which is very important for women over 45 years of age. And when moving, joint lubrication is produced, blood circulation improves, and the regeneration process in the cartilage runs faster.

third,proper physical activity makes the ligaments that hold the vertebrae relative to each other stronger. This is an important element in the prevention of chronic back pain in people with joint hypermobility: those who can reach the thumb of the hand to the bone of the forearm of the same hand or can hyperextend their arm at the elbow and knee.

Therefore, the best prevention of back pain is movement, but the right movement!

The three rules of physical therapy

The ideal option is to undergo a physical therapy complex under the supervision of an instructor: physical therapist, kinesiotherapist, neurologist or chiropractor. After learning this technique, you can practice on your own without the help of an expert.

It is important to follow three rules, without which no training will work!

  1. Exercise should be a daily habit, not a firefighting measure. Choose 4-5 exercises for flexibility and movement coordination that can be done within 15-20 minutes after waking up every day. According to statistics, the people who most often suffer from back pain are "weekend athletes" - people who do not have time to play sports on weekdays and only have the opportunity to catch up on lost time on weekends.
  2. The second part of the activity is a set of strength exercises. They aim to strengthen the muscles of the back, abs, arms, legs and stabilize the spine, so they should gradually become more complex. If you finish a workout without feeling tired, then you're wasting your time: muscles that aren't tired don't grow. Strength training takes more time, but also provides a more lasting effect. Therefore, it is enough to allocate 1 hour for them 2-3 times a week. If you have diseases of the cardiovascular system and lungs, it is important that the intensity of exercise is controlled by a physical therapist, at least in the initial stages.
  3. The biomechanics of the spine is very complex. Therefore, there is no universal exercise to correct all types of pain. A good specialist will quickly narrow down the options. But if you practice on your own, be guided by your feelings. Exercise should gradually increase the pain-free range of motion in the back. If this does not happen, or the pain, on the contrary, is increasing, then you are doing something wrong.

A set of approximate exercises for acute, subacute and remission periods - when the back practically does not bother you, can be downloaded on the Internet.

Do you need to stop exercising?

It is advisable to replace some types of activities with similar ones. For example, instead of running on rough terrain, it is better to try a treadmill, instead of a road bike, try an exercise bike.

It is advisable to avoid exercises with pure hanging on the bar in the beginning, replacing them with exercises with support for the back or legs. Exercises with dumbbells or barbells are performed in a lying position on your back or stomach, without vertical loads.

Playing sports associated with jumping and sudden twisting movements can trigger painful attacks: volleyball, basketball, soccer, tennis, dancing. But this does not mean that it is time to abandon your favorite activities. To get back in shape, you need to properly train your back and abdominal muscles under the guidance of a doctor and choose shoes with good shock absorption. And of course, before any activity you need to warm up properly.

For many, the ideal sport for back pain is swimming, as well as water aerobics. However, some people with spinal joint instability may experience increased lower back pain after swimming. In this case, you need to start with dry exercises to strengthen the muscles of the torso.

The main causes of chronic back pain are excess weight, stress and poor posture. An active lifestyle allows you to solve all three problems at once.

How to check your posture?

The spine has 4 curves - 2 forwards and 2 backwards. Normally, they are balanced and soften the vertical load on the vertebrae when walking and other movements. If you bend excessively or extend your lower back excessively, your weight is distributed incorrectly and the load on individual vertebrae becomes prohibitive.

For example, if you tilt your head forward and round your back—the standard office worker posture—the stress on the neck joints and upper thoracic spine increases 6-fold.

To check your posture, stand with your back to a wall. Normally, the back of your head, shoulder blades, butt, game and heels should touch the wall. In the lower back, your fist should easily pass between the wall and your back, turning flat.

Sit up straight with your lower back supported. You can place a small pillow or a folded sweater under your lower back. To get rid of the habit of crossing your legs, try placing a low stool or office tool box under your feet. Try to change your body position more often, walk around the office regularly, stretch your muscles to relieve tension. For example, as in thematic videos on the Internet.

How not to burden yourself?

Follow safety measures if you need to carry something somewhere.

Calculate your moves and order of actions in advance. Can you use surrounding objects for support? Where should the load be carried?

Assume the pose: bend your knees and hips slightly, but don't lean forward. Tighten your abdominal muscles to protect your pelvic organs. When lifting something heavy, your legs should work, not your back.

Hold the weight at your waist or chest, with the weight end facing you.

If you need to turn, plant your feet, but don't lean to the side or twist your spine.

Keep your head straight. When you pick up a load, look in front of you, not at it.

Know your limits! There is a big difference between what you can lift and what you can lift without harming your health. If in doubt, ask someone to help you.

Do not pull. . . If you need to move a heavy object on the floor, it is better to push it than to drag it behind you.

Distribute your weight evenly. When carrying shopping bags or luggage, try to carry the same weight in each hand.

What else will help heal your back?

Physiotherapy, acupuncture (reflexology), various types of massage, manual therapy and even taking antidepressants are quite effective methods used to treat various types of chronic back pain around the world. Their mechanism of action is simple: relieves muscle tension, improves blood circulation and metabolic processes in tissues, corrects the biomechanics of movement.

This method works in the hands of experts and can be useless and even dangerous in the hands of fraudsters. Therefore, always pay attention to the reputation of the clinic and the reviews of the doctor you contact.

And most importantly, all these types of treatment have only added value. The main thing is correct posture, daily muscle work, proper nutrition and careful use of your spine.

Using this service, you can make appointments with neurologists, physical therapists, chiropractors and any medical service. You can get an online consultation with a neurologist using the mobile application of the medical center in your city.