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Understanding Back Pains

Back pain is unsurprisingly one of the most common issue people face these days, although the diagnosis and treatment can be extremely complex and challenging. The main reason of underdiagnosis or overdiagnosis of back pain is because of referral pains or overlapping symptoms. There could be a plethora of reasons for a backache, accordingly, the treatments vary.

Apart from the differential diagnosis, management and intensity of treatment are different from one individual to another. Crudely, the type of pain can be divided into subcategories as:

1) Mechanical or Axial Pain: It is a sharp or dull pain which is inconsistent and could be pulsatile. Majority of such pains are muscle strains.

2) Referred Pain: Such pains are achy but they tend to shift from one area to another with variable intensities, such as degenerative spinal discs show referred pain in the posterior thighs and hips.

3) Radicular Pain: This is one of the most excruciating and alarming back pain caused by nerve compressions/inflammation or spinal nerve root injury along with weakness or numbing sensations in the limbs (hands/legs). Other than spinal compression, radicular pain is also associated with disc herniation, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis.

4) Pregnancy-related pain: Extra weight in the abdominal region leads to a strained back, hence creating uncomfortable back pain.

5) Fibromyalgia: It is a musculoskeletal pain coupled with fatigue and discomfort across the body, majorly in the shoulder and the back.

6) Cancer: Cancer in the spine or closeby organs cause excruciating back pain.

All the above-mentioned pains are correlated with anatomical aberrations which can be diagnosed by employing different techniques and tests. However, not all pains have visible changes, even psychological problems such as depression or insomnia can result into a severe backache which often gets misdiagnosed.

Potential Risk factors for Back pain:

Starting from an unhealthy lifestyle to posture, there are multiple factors that pose as high risks for Back pain such as:

1) Sedentary Lifestyle: Inactive lifestyle and sitting all day in one posture can create stiffness in the back causing pain while bending or moving beyond a certain degree.

2) Overweight: People on heftier sides tend to experience more pain in the lower back as compared to the leaner ones.

3) Aging: Age-associated degenerative changes, arthritis, disc dislocation in the back cause back pain to a much extent.

4) Genetic factors: Some of the spine related problems have genetic involvement such as Spinal muscular ataxia, which is inherited by the next generation. These individuals are predisposed to back pain.

5) Occupational factors: Occupations related to high-impact activity makes people more susceptible to injuries and back pain.

Pain as such is a biological alarm for an abnormal physiological state of the body indicating that something is wrong with the body. These alarms are not supposed to be ignored in any way. The best approach is to observe the symptoms, consult a related specialist and follow the treatment. It’s better to act sooner than to regret later!