Back pain is one of the most common ailments experienced by Americans, which accounts for why it is the second most common reason for seeking medical attention in this country. The problem can range from mild discomfort to physical debilitation. Although many treatment options are available, it is important for sufferers to understand the nature of the condition before seeking assistance.
The Different Types of Back Trouble
A back problem can manifest itself in the form of pain or stiffness along the spine and anywhere from the lower neck area to the tailbone. It may be characterized by localized but very sharp pain in the upper back area. The aching may be concentrated in the lower back, especially after long periods of standing or sitting. In a more severe form, a back ailment may cause muscle spasms when standing straight.
Certain symptoms can point to something more serious. A sharp pain in a small area can be a symptom of heart trouble or, if occurring during urination, it can indicate an infection. Sciatica, which is a condition that affects the sciatic nerves that extend down the legs, if often marked by a burning sensation that may seem worse when sitting down or a sharp pain that makes it difficult to stand. Other symptoms of back problems include numbness or even weakness in the arms and legs.
Finding the Causes and Cures of Back Problems
The underlying reasons for back problems are often cumulative, perhaps involving a lifetime of poor health habits, including obesity and lack of exercise. Pain can also be precipitated by a single traumatic event, such as a fall. Lower back pain is usually associated with some type of strain, perhaps related to the lifting of a heavy object. Poor back health can also be related to arthritis.
In most cases, particularly those induced by strains, back pains will go away on their own. Other cases may need some outside assistance in the form of medications that are available without a prescription. Such generic medications as ibuprofen and acetaminophen have both proven useful in reducing pain. Prescription medications in the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) category are often prescribed as part of a back treatment regimen. In persistent cases, such as those involving sciatica, North American Spine reviews indicate that the AccuraScope procedure is a legitimate option to treat back ailments. In many other cases, such good personal habits as proper nutrition, good posture and regular exercise may be sufficient to help someone maintain good back health.