What is Back Pain?
Back pain relates to the discomfort that is felt in the back area. The origins of pain come from the spinal cord and its structural functioning. The parts of the spine which may trigger the pain are muscles, nerves, bones, and joints. As the spine forms the central system in the back, any pain felt in the back pertains to the spine. Any dislocation in the joint, or stress in the spinal nerves or muscles, can make the pain occur. Upper or lower back pain can vary in severity and be intermittent.
The back pain relates to the different parts of the back, and the targeted area determines whether it is considered upper back pain or lower back pain. The back is a crucial part of the body’s structure, and any disorder which affects the functioning of the spinal system will most likely worsen over time if not treated, due to constant stress. Lower back pain relates to the lumbar spine, while upper back pain involves the thoracic spine.
Causes and Symptoms of Back Pain
The symptoms of back pain generally include pain in the muscles, pain that migrates down along the leg, being unable to stand properly, strain in the back, and limited movements of the back. The symptoms may also include referred pain into the buttocks and hip areas.
These symptoms can be caused by problems pertaining to any structural problem in the spine. The spine is made up of complex structures including muscles, tendons, joints, and disk cartilages. Any harm to any of these structures can lead to back pain. The common causes of back pain include any sort of strain in the complex structure of spine, including muscles and ligaments. Structural problems in the back also cause pain such as ruptured disks, bulging disks, arthritis, osteoporosis, and sciatica.
Treatment of Upper and Lower Back Pain
The treatment needed depends upon the type of back pain that is present. For the acute forms of back pain, the pain tends to resolve on its own with the practice of care and attention. Over the counter medicines are available, which can be used in these instances to help relieve the pain, and resting also proves useful.
Finding the root cause of chronic back pain can be difficult and requires serious treatment such as surgery. As back pain is often characterized by intermittent attacks, it gets difficult to ascertain the problem and hence, the treatment. However, medication will help in the relieving pain during the process, and thus, topical medications are helpful.
Role of Topical Agents
As the spine’s complex structure is difficult to come in contact with, the topical agents relieve pain of muscles and joints. This can useful in relieving pain so that the patient can resume daily activities, as the muscles often become inflamed. By applying the medication topically throughout the day, the back pain can be manageable. Although, these agents can be helpful, it is important to identify the root cause of chronic back pain and take measures to correct it, as it will only worsen over time.
Niemelainen, R., Videman, T., and Battie, M.C. (2006). Prevalence and characteristics of upper or mid-back pain in Finnish men. Spine, 31(16), 1846 – 1849. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16845362.