Diagnosing the cause back pain is as easy as diagnosing the source of a headache—which is to say, it’s not easy whatsoever. The human back is a complicated structure, you can find out more in our spinal section. Consider all the things which could go wrong with your computer and you can start to understand why diagnosing the human body can be so challenging. This section will concentrate on the numerous conditions and situations which are possible sources of back pain. In lots cases, the same tests and treatments could be advised, such as physical, neurological, and imaging tests.
In this section, we will share with you the many reasons why your back may hurt. It’s good to get familiar with these because doing so puts you in the know and can help you prevent these conditions. But don’t become a hypochondriac. Chances are your back pain is probably due to sprain or strain, the most obvious reasons why backs hurt.
Common Sprains and Strains
A sprain or strain is usually not a significant problem, and no one is invulnerable to these back injuries—men, women, children, sedentary, and active alike. Basically, it just happens sometimes. The reasons behind these strains are almost endless.
This doesn’t mean your pain isn’t there, or that it doesn’t really hurt. Doctors generally refer to this as soft-tissue pain, and it’s painful due to an injury to a muscle or ligament.
A strain/sprain injury results in a pulled, twisted, or torn muscle, tendon, or ligament. A tendon is connective tissue found at the end of a muscle which attaches to a bone. A pulled muscle or tendon is known as a strain. A ligaments link bone to bone. If you pull a ligament, it is known as a sprain.
Sprain and strain injuries may be the result of a lift, a twist, or a sudden fierce jerking motion. Accidents and falls can produce ligament or muscle damage. Whichever way it happened, you overdid something somewhere along the line.
A strain/sprain injury may feel like:
- Tight or achy muscles
- Muscles which spasm
- Soreness to touch
- Range of motion restricted by pain
Most doctors will not advocate expensive testing early in the treatment. Unless there is a truly persuasive reason for you to undergo tests right away, you should take things steady, one step at a time. Prior to performing any major tests, medical professionals will need to know:
- Where it hurts
- How it hurts
- How much it hurts
- How long it has hurt
- What makes it better or worse
It is not unusual for intervertebral discs to bulge slightly, particularly as we grow older. For most people, this causes no pain at all. If a bulging disc is displayed on an imaging exam, a physician may be too quick to point to that as the cause of your pain. Surgery to mend the bulge might not solve your pain. It is for this reason why good doctors will ask many questions and perform some physical exams prior to imaging tests. And here are some typical scenarios which can result in such injuries.
A Word on Whiplash
Whiplash happens when your neck snaps rapidly back and forth, it is a common injury from a car crash. It may take a day or two to feel the effects of whiplash, as the tissue may swell over time. Symptoms include neck pain, stiffness, and restricted range of motion. Headaches and dizziness can also strike. The majority of these symptoms will disperse in a few weeks and may only require over-the-counter medications and heat/ice treatments.
However, should the jolt is strong enough to displace vertebrae and/or discs, these could impinge on nerves, resulting in a tingling or burning sensation in the arms. Seek immediate medical attention if this is the case.
It’s not a surprise to anybody that lifting weights incorrectly at the gym can cause sprains and strains. Using the correct form when lifting objects is not just for the gym, lifting heavy suitcases, boxes, or groceries incorrectly can also result in back pain. You can find more information on correct lifting and exercise techniques here.
A Cough or Sneeze
As mentioned earlier, an abrupt jolt can result in pulling your back. It is possible for a sneeze to have a velocity of up to 100 miles per hour. That’s a lot of force! The addition of the likely forward head thrust and you can understand how just a sneeze can be the source of a muscle or tendon pull. IN some cases a violent cough or sneeze can affect a vertebra or disc. However, in these cases the structure in question was almost always already weak, and the cough or sneeze was the last straw.
Exercise and Stretching
Exercise holds risks, and injury, injury to your back is definitely one of them. Typically, such injuries result from doing too much too fast or using incorrect form. Your back is exceptionally susceptible if you’re lifting and twisting at the once and not properly incorporating your abdominals to steady your spine, or if you’re exercising hard without first warming up. You can overdo even a basic stretch by just going too far.
When it comes to exercise, throw the “no pain, no gain” out the window. If it’s painful hurts, you need to slow down, back off, and check your form, simple as that.
Cutting a Rug
What’s better than a night out dancing? Add four-inch heels and a few cocktails and it’s even better! However, it just might twist or overextend your back.
Dancing is an excellent social and physical activity, but, as with all physical movements, it’s a good idea to prepare in order to avoid injuries. If you’re planning to go out to dancing in high heels, practice beforehand. And get some aerobic and core conditioning (advised for both men and women). All of this will prevent injury and allow you to look and be your best whilst you get your groove on.
Between the Sheets
We won’t into too much detail here when it comes to your back. It’s obviously very involved in intimate acts, and it’s common to overdo it during the heat of the moment. But don’t worry; as with most strains and sprains, time is the best healer. In the meantime, exercise alternative options which don’t involve your back so much.
As we said earlier, reaching, twisting, and lifting are sure-fire way to put your back out, except if your core is strong and your form is good. We know you want to clear that snow off driveway, quickly, but guess what? You can increase core strength and remove the snow from your sidewalk at the same time! Move less snow, and engage your abdominals as you do it, and cautiously twist and throw. This can be an excellent workout!