Back Pain

Everyone would experience an episode of Back Pain at least once in a lifetime.

Due to our sedentary lifestyles, our bodies are often slouched on the office chair, the sofa or in bed; from my observation, most people do not get sufficient physical activity for a fit and strong body due to a stressful city lifestyle.

Symptoms of low back pain ranges from mild discomfort, to severe distressing pain that affects a person’s daily activities. Sometimes the pain could be so severe that it causes sharp pain radiating down to the leg such that one cannot walk with even steps.

There are many factors that contribute to back pain. The following are some common examples:

  • • Sedentary lifestyle
  • • Lack of exercise (3 hrs of Cardiovascular exercise per week)
  • • Poor body posture such as poking chin, rounded shoulders, hunching
  • • Weakness and/or tightness of muscles especially abdominals & back muscles which support the front part of    the trunk
  • • Wear and tear of joints age greater than 40 years
  • • Osteoporosis
  • • Trauma / Falls/ Sports Injuries
  • • Poor set up of office workstation, eg. incorrect selection of chair

Ways To Cope With Back Pain

  • 1. Rest: the best way to reduce back pain is to rest immediately in bed with legs elevated at 90 degrees on 2     pillows. Or if you have access to a swimming pool, float for 15-30 mins so that the effects of gravity is     minimised.
  • 2. Heat therapy: using of hot moist pack is an easy and quick way to promote relaxation of the muscles. The heat     will promote healing by improving blood circulation to the affected area, hence reducing the tension in the     muscles. Taking a hot bath/ shower will produce a similar effect of a lesser efficacy.
  • 3. Non-steroidal anti-inflammation drugs (NSAIDs): Painkillers and NSAIDS can temporary reduce the pain.     Check for drug allergy. Those who are allergic to drugs can have the option of acupuncture for pain-relief.

Next seek Treatment from a healthcare professional eg General Practitioner / Physiotherapist especially if you feel a tingling sensation or numbness in the legs.

Diagnosis would be made by special tests and investigations, which might be ordered by your physician, such as X-ray or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to visualize the internal structure by actual images.

Tips on Prevention of back pain

  • Exercise: strengthening the abdominal and back muscles can help to reduce and prevent the recurrence of   episode of lower back pain as stronger muscles mean more stability of the spine.
  • Stretches: for neck and back
  • Education of posture by physiotherapist
  • Ergonomic advise by physiotherapist

Contributed by: PhysioWorks

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