February 2nd, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments
Peter sams asked:

Back pain is an all-too-familiar problem that can range from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp pain that leaves you incapacitated. It can come on suddenly – from an accident, a fall, or lifting something too heavy – or it can develop slowly, perhaps as the result of age-related changes to the spine. Regardless of how it happens or how it feels, you know it when you have it. And chances are, if you don’t have it now, you will eventually.

Lower back pain, also known as lumbago, affects 7 out of 10 people at some time in their lives. Low back pain means a pain or ache anywhere on your back, in between the bottom of the ribs and the top of the legs.

The pain can come on suddenly, slowly or be the direct result of a fall or injury.

There are many causes of back pain.

• The most common cause is a strain of the back, which is a small tear of the back muscles or ligaments. This usually results from a sudden or awkward movement, or from lifting a heavy object. But often, a person can’t remember a particular incident that brought on the pain.

• Other common causes include poor muscle tone in the back, tension or spasm of the back muscles and problems with the joints that make up the back.

The symptoms for back pain are:

• Persistent aching or stiffness anywhere along your spine, from the base of the neck to the hips.

• Sharp, localized pain in the neck, upper back, or lower back — especially after lifting heavy objects or engaging in other strenuous activity.

• Chronic ache in the middle or lower back, especially after sitting or standing for extended periods.

Types of Back Pain

Acute pain

One common type of pain is acute pain, currently defined as pain lasting less than 3 to 6 months, or pain that is directly related to tissue damage. This is the kind of pain that is experienced from a paper cut or needle prick. Other examples of acute pain include:

• Touching a hot stove or iron. This pain will cause a fast, immediate, intense pain with an almost simultaneous withdrawal of the body part that is being burned. More of an aching pain might be experience a few seconds after the initial pain and withdrawal.

Chronic back pain

Typically persists longer than the expected healing time for the identified cause of the pain—such as low back surgery—or persists after the identified cause of the pain has been treated.

Osteoarthritis

This is a long-term degeneration of the joints, which makes them less able to withstand stress. It’s a wear-and-tear problem that affects most of us as we get older and which can give rise to pain in some cases.

Exercises to minimize problems with back pain

You can minimize problems with back pain with exercises that make the muscles in your back, stomach, hips and thighs strong and flexible. Some people keep in good physical condition by being active in recreational activities like running, walking, bike riding, and swimming. In addition to these conditioning activities, there are specific exercises that are directed toward strengthening and stretching your back, stomach, hip and thigh muscles.

JAMEY

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