Category Archives: Back Pain

The Best Stretching Exercise to Relieve Sciatic Nerve Pain

Relieve Sciatic Nerve Pain

Sciatica pain is one of the most distressing nerve pains to suffer with. Sciatic pain in almost all cases haunts you on any activity you are doing. Simple things like a turn of the head or looking in another direction are nearly impossible when suffering from sciatic nerve pain.

Conventional treatment of Back pain usually doesn’t really solve the problem and you are ‘stuck’ with these treatments for a long time to get at least a little relief.

The most common treatment that people are taking is medication in form of pain killers. These pain killers will give you relief for a short time, but don’t even attempt to solve the problem. If you are only taking pain killers against your sciatic nerve pain, then you will be stuck with them forever. Not to forget that some of them can have heavy side effects when taken regularly.

The second common treatment is searching the help of a chiropractor. Do not get me wrong here. Chiropractors are doing great work. In most cases directly after the treatment, you will feel great and the pain will be gone. Unfortunately after a few days the pain will be back and you will have to get treatment again.

In my opinion the only treatment that will help you to get rid of your sciatica pain for good are stretching exercises. The stretching exercises are done daily from the convenience of your own home and it doesn’t cost you a penny to do them. After you have done the exercises regularly you will feel the pain subside and very likely after a few weeks or months it will be gone for good.

Here is a great sciatica pain stretch that will remove the pressure tension from you lower back:

Lie down on a flat surface on your back. Try to get your knees as close to your chest as possible while still lying down. Hold for 20 seconds. Repeat 10-20 times. This will take pressure out of your lower back and your muscles get stretched. Do this exercise at least once daily.

Pilates is a wonderful method to get your muscles stretched and in shape. If you are serious in getting rid of your sciatica and back pain, then you should start with Pilates.

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All About Back Surgeries

Back Surgeries

Surgery is the word that no one wants to hear when they are looking into treatment for back pain. No one wants to have surgery unless it’s absolutely necessary, so it’s comforting to hear that most cases of back surgery are elective.

That is, if you choose to have back surgery, you can. However, it’s not necessary.

The main concerns with back surgery for patients are the great risks involved in operating in this area. Since the spinal cord is such a delicate part of the back, it’s always a possibility that the cord could get severed during surgery and the patient could end up paralyzed.

This doesn’t happen often, but there is always a risk.

The kind of back surgery you might have will depend, of course, on the kind of back issue you have.

There are several goals when you have back surgery:

• The decompression of a nerve to alleviate pain
• Correct curvature – i.e. scoliosis
• Correct abnormal growths
• Stabilize a deformity, like a loosened disc
• Help prevent discs from rubbing together by shaving away pieces of spine

Here are some of the back surgeries that can be performed to help with back pain:

• Spinal Fusion
As the name suggests, this is a surgery in which the spine is fused together to prevent movement. This is often done when there is a natural curve in the spine that the patient wants corrected, or from an injury. The spine is fused together with plates and rods.

• Cervical Decompression
When you have herniated discs, a doctor can help to alleviate pain by removing the herniated areas and replacing them with hardware.

• Microdisectomy
This is a smaller surgery in which the neck is primarily involved. The surgeon is trying to help alleviate pressure on the nerves, but they can not move the spinal column too much as there is not as much space in the neck area as there is in the back.

• Cervical Laminectomy
In cases where the patient has stenosis or hardening of the spinal column, the patient can opt to have the lamina (the material that covers the spinal cord) removed in order to allow for more movement of the spinal column.

• Vertebroplasty
An outpatient procedure in which the surgeon places a cement mixture into the vertebrae to stabilize the bones and prvent pain.

• Intradiscal Electrothermal Therapy (IDT)
This is a fairly new surgery that uses a heated wire that is threaded through the disks and an electrical current is sent through the wire in order to promote collagen fiber strength.

• Disc Replacement
Of course, if you have discs that are weakened, you can always have them replaced with metal hardware.

• Trigger Point Therapy
While this isn’t necessarily considered a surgical procedure, as it is done in an outpatient setting with a local anesthetic, you will need a surgeon or other health care professional to administer the treatment. Small needles are simply injected into the muscles in order to hit certain proven trigger points (much in the same way that acupuncture and acupressure do) and release the muscle tightness. Some treatments will include a shot of steroids along with the needles, but other physicians opt not to include any additional medications.

All of these surgeries come with great risks, but for those who have been dealing with back pain for all of their lives or who have been in catastrophic accidents, these may be the only way to reconfigure the body and make them healthy again.

Surgery is something you will want to discuss extensively with your physician. Not all surgeries are for everyone and all surgeries carry risks like:

• Potential reactions to anesthesia
• Further damage to the back
• Loss of feeling in areas of the body
• Blood loss
• Infection
• A need for subsequent surgeries
• Pain
• Potential for death

Getting second and third opinions is recommended in the case of back surgeries. You want to make sure that the medical field concurs that it is your only and your best option for recovery.

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How Doctors Test To Determine Back Pain Causes

Back Pain Causes

In order to accurately diagnose your back pain, doctors and other medical care workers are going to need to run tests if they cause can not be accurately determined by questioning the patient. Here are some of the most common tests that doctors will request when you visit about your back pain troubles.

Physical Exam

During a physical exam, the doctor is going to probe your back and your neck to see if they can feel any abnormalities in the surface and the structures beneath.

Often, a tense muscle will be easy to palpate upon examination, but deeper back pain causes may not be able to be felt. The doctor will also examine the back from a distance to see if the sides are similar in structure or if there is any asymmetry when you stand up and when you bend over.

They will also note the height of your shoulders and whether they are the same height.

This is also the time when you will be asked questions about your lifestyle and your activity levels. You will also be asked if you’ve had any recent illnesses or infections.

You want to be as honest as you can about things that you’ve noticed prior to and leading up to the back pain. Any theories that you have should be discussed as you are the one that’s been feeling the problems, so you’re the best person to diagnose yourself.

Your reflexes may also be tested to see how your nerve function is and if any of the physical tests warrant further examinations of other parts of your body, the doctor may perform those at the same time.

Unfortunately, if the doctor doesn’t immediately find someone in a physical exam, they may not be interested in pursuing more diagnostic testing.

Often, people with common back pain will see their pain subside within a month; so many doctors will simply prescribe muscle relaxants or pain medications to see if the patient improves.

If there is no improvement, further tests will be needed.


The most common diagnostic testing for back pain is a standard x-ray. Though it’s rare that people have troubles with back fractures and breaks, these x-rays can also point out other abnormalities in the bones surrounding the back and the spine area.

An x-ray can be easily performed within minutes and the results will come back within a few days of the test being read. It’s non-invasive and it doesn’t require that you do any preparations for the test itself.

If nothing shows up on the x-ray, and you still have back pain, further testing will need to be done.

In most cases x-rays aren’t going to turn up anything if you have general back pain. They are effective for significant traumas – accidents, falls, etc. – but in your everyday strained back situations, they’re not necessarily called for.

The current thinking in medicine is that x-rays are actually only useful if the patient has a history of osteoporosis or problems with spinal stenosis. Because the x-ray isn’t going to reveal anything as being wrong, more doctors are considering other testing options to help diagnose back pain.

However, if you enter the emergency room or you have been injured in a specific manner, x-rays are still the standard of care.

And while x-rays aren’t considered to be entirely effective, you will want to consider the reasoning of your doctor if they decide to order them anyway.


Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRIs, are the most expensive way to test for troubles in the back, but are often recommended when other testing fails to show any specific causes.

This test is performed with strong magnets that help to produce images of the internal structures of the body and create a clear ‘map’ of what may be going on in the back of the patient.

MRIs can be done without any preparation, though they can take time to process. You will need to lie still in the MRI to make sure that the images are clear for the radiologist or the orthopedist to read; otherwise the test will need to be redone.

You will lie in a tube-like structure while the magnets work to create images in the equipment. Some people find that this is slightly too claustrophobic for them, but there are many more open MRIs these days that make the process less scary.

The good news is that an MRI is very effective at finding things that are wrong in the body, often things that aren’t related to the back, but may be causing the pain.

For example, if you have kidney stones, this might show up on an MRI, though it will not show up on a traditional x-ray.

The main concern with the MRI is not the effectiveness, but often the price. Insurance may not cover an MRI until a certain battery of tests is done first to rule out other diagnoses.

CT Scan

Like the x-ray, a CT or computed tomography, uses 3D technology to get a bigger picture of what’s going on inside of your body.

The x-ray can only tell what your body is doing in two dimensions, so the CT is a favored test for checking out back pain issues.

Just like the MRI, you will be set up into a tube-like structure, though this is open and tends to be less frightening for the person inside of the machine. You will be injected with some sort of contrast, usually iodine, so that the contrasting images will show up on the images in the end.

This test only takes a few minutes to complete and it is generally non-invasive, though some people are sensitive to the contrast when it is injected into your body.

You may also need to have the test performed without contrast as well to show the differences in the images.

The CT is a relatively effective test as it can show internal issues, but generally only in cases when surgery is going to be the eventual treatment – this is a test that will point out severe back and neck injuries and disorders.


While slightly out of date since the invention of the MRI, myelograms are still done when back pain is being diagnosed.

Just like an x-ray, myelograms are radiographic studies that show a two dimensional image and are usually performed in conjunction with a CT if the patient is going to be having surgery in the near future.

Radioactive contrast is injected right into the spinal column to provide a clear picture of anything that might be taking place in the spinal space.

This helps detect any shifts in the patient’s condition as well as where the surgeon will operate.


When structural injuries and disorders are ruled out, some doctors will order an EMG nerve test for the patient. Electromyogram nerve testing is done in the cases of chronic back pain to help pinpoint the source.

Small needles are placed into the muscles of the body in the back and then electrical activity is measured to see where the activity may be disrupted. This can help to assess nerve damage and serious nerve conditions in the back and spine.

If you are having this test, it’s likely that all other tests have ruled out other injuries, so the doctor is trying to figure out whether the pain is coming from nerve problems or from the muscles themselves.

Other Tests

If your doctor is concerned that you might have other issues in your body outside of the physical area of the back, you might be advised to have a blood test, urinalysis, and possibility heart testing.

These tests will simply help to further narrow down the potential cause of your back and neck pain.

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The Three Common Causes Of Back And Neck Pain

Causes Of Back And Neck Pain

Finding the cause is the fastest route toward choosing an effective treatment program. While most back and neck pain can be narrowed down to certain causes, you might need to do more testing if none of these situations applies to you.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways for medicine to figure out how to stop your pain or at least minimize it so that you can lead a healthy life.


Most of us believe that any pain we experience must be due to something we’ve done in the past day or so.

We think that we must have moved the wrong way or that our muscles must have tightened because of something we’ve done – and we’re usually right. In more cases of back pain, activity is the root cause of the problems you’ve having.

But it’s not as simple as that.

Activity that’s directly related to the back pain is often simple to identify. You may have run a further distance than you have in the past and then noticed back pain when you got home and sat down later in the day.

Often this back pain is caused by:

• Muscle strain
• Overexertion
• Injury
• Muscle tears

Some of these cases of back pain are easy to understand. You bent down and then your back began to hurt. But other cases of pain can result over the long term, creating a little pain at first and then increasing into something more severe. In long term wear and tear, you may not even notice that you’re in pain until you’ve suffered a significant injury.

There are a number of reasons why exercise can affect your back.

Some of the cases are due to positioning in which you’re doing an activity that is straining your back in some way. This is often the case when you area doing repetitive movements at work or when you are bending over again and again.

You might also have troubles with your back and positioning when you are staying in one position and not supporting your back as you do. This can cause the back muscles to weaken and to cause troubles with the actual structure of the back itself.

What many people don’t realize is that the back contains only one set of muscles that supports your torso.

If you pull your stomach in tight, as though you were protecting your gut from a punch, you will notice that your back also tightens up – that’s because these muscles work together to support the torso and keep us upright when we walk and sit.

When our stomach muscles aren’t strong, they don’t tighten as well, causing our backs to be left unsupported. In fact, you’re going to be twice a likely to have back pain if your abdominal muscles are weakened – this is actually why the older you get, the more likely you are to have back pain. Since your muscles tend to atrophy as you older, especially when you don’t do weight bearing exercises, you will begin to have weaker back and abdominal muscles.

There are three sets of muscles that support the back in the abdominal area:

• Upper abs
Between the navel and the breast bone

• Lower abs
Under the navel to the pelvic girdle

• Oblique abs
Along the sides of the stomach area below the ribs

In order to properly support the back and prevent back pain from activity, you need to increase the strength of these muscles.

Most of the activity related back pain is related to weakened abdominal muscles or the failure of the participant to hold in their abdominal muscles as they are moving – thus supporting the back and holding it in the proper position.


Another common cause of back pain is injury.

Whether you directly hit or puncture the back, injury can directly affect the back, even when you hit the surrounding areas.

For example, when you’re in a car accident, you are restrained by your seatbelt, but as the car moves forward and you are hit, you can snap back into your seat, causing your spine to form a wave that sends the stress and the impact all the way down your spine and into your lower back and neck.

Even though the outside of your back looks fine, the internal alignment can be shifted; this causes nerve compression and even damage to the vertebrae.

Injuries can occur through:

• Sudden movements of the back and neck
• Impact from objects
• Car accidents
• Being thrown from horses or out of moving vehicles
• Exercise
• Repetitive movement

What’s interesting about neck and back injuries is that sometimes the actual injury does not reveal itself until long after the actual accident.

The spinal column is cushioned from impact by fluid, which helps to dissipate pressure. But when the fluid shifts back into place, it can cause damage to other parts of the spine, long after the impact.

Whenever there is a suspected back injury, the main concern is that there may be damage to the actual spinal cord. This is the cord that travels from the base of the spine, though the vertebrae and into the brain. This cord connects all of the nerves in the body and allows you to move, to think, and to breathe.

While this cord is housed in the vertebrae, it is very easy to sever, which will cause paralysis from that point of severing down to the toes.

In the case of an accident, it’s best never to move anyone if they report back or neck pain unless it’s dangerous for them to stay in the same area. Any slight movement can sever the spinal cord.

When you have repetitive injuries, these will present themselves gradually over time. You might notice that you have some pain from time to time, take some medicine and then forget about it.

But as the weeks go on and you continue to do the movement that caused the pain in the first place, it will continue to become more injured.

The muscles in the back can become torn and separated, plus the discs in the spinal column can become herniated and swollen. If you feel any pain after an injury or a movement, it’s simply best to have it checked out by a doctor.

Ergonomic Positioning

What many people don’t understand is that the way you sit at your desk is often the root cause of back pain.

Many of us simply sit at our desks without another thought. And it’s easy to get used to sitting in a manner that is not supportive to our backs and necks.

The human body was technically designed to be upright at all times. So, the idea of sitting down is something that needs special attention since the body isn’t meant to be in this position for a long period of time.

If you look at the spine from the side, it should actually be slightly curved at the base. This allows the spine to maintain an upright position, while also keeping the spine from absorbing too much impact each time we step or move.

But when you’re sitting in your chair, many people hunch over, causing the curve of the spine to be greater or we try to sit with our backs flat against our chairs, which is also moving in the opposite direction of where our backs should be.

Many companies and businesses these days are employing the services of an ergonomics consultant to help them teach employees the proper ways to sit and work in their office. When the employees have safer workstations, it decreases the sick days for back pain and for employee injuries.

In addition, ergonomic consultants are also brought in to help those employees who have to maintain a certain position for most of the day. When you’re constantly doing the same motion over and over, it’s easy to loosen up your abdominals and forget to support your back.

When you’re hunching over or you simply aren’t using back braces that will remind you to stand up straight, you can harm your back over the course of your time working with your employer. You might not notice it at first, but in the end, you will have troubles with back pain that can be chronic.

Ergonomic consults can be expensive, but when you consider the ways they can help you maintain the health of your body and of your back, they’re well worth the cost.

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Neck Pain – Do Not Take Neck Pain Lightly

Neck Pain

While we’ve all heard of situations and people that are a pain in the neck, most of us have also experienced literal neck pain.

Though neck pain may not get as much press as back pain, it’s certainly something that can hinder your life and make activities more difficult to manage.

The Layout Of The Neck

Also known as the cervical spine, the neck area of the body is something that is overlooked until there is a focused amount of pain.

The neck technically starts at the base of the skull where the spine connects to the head bones. This column of vertebrae extends down for seven vertebrae until they hit the upper shoulder region.

While this doesn’t seem like a large area, it’s quite important to the body.

Not only does the neck support the head and face, but also it works to allow the neck to move from side to side, backwards and forwards – much in the same way that the lower back moves. This presents a lot of potential movements as well as potential for injury.

The front of the neck is where the throat is as well as the voice box and windpipe – all very important structures. The neck works to stabilize these structures with the hard spinal column in the back, but also a mesh of muscles and ligaments that connect the neck to the body and allow for ease of movement.

These muscles connect to the upper back and help to engage both sections at the same time, as when you are turning around to see what’s behind you when you are backing our of your driveway.

However, with all of these muscles comes a great potential for neck strain. Since these muscles aren’t always active, they aren’t generally as well-developed as other muscles in your body. This makes them easier to injure and to pull when you move too suddenly.

You might feel symptoms like:

• Pain
• Achiness
• Stiffness
• Soreness
• Problems with movement
• Jaw pain
• Headaches

Many times too, people hold stress and tension in their necks as they sit at their computers or at their work stations. This can cause troubles with the way the neck responds to movement, increasing the chances of injury and pain.

The neck is a very important part of the body as it helps to connect the brain to the spinal column in order to send messages throughout the body. If this connection is severed, the spinal cord can also be severed, causing lifelong paralysis.

Any pain that is in this area should be taken seriously.

When Neck Pain Isn’t Neck Pain

Just as with back pain, neck pain can also be a sign of something more serious than just a strained muscle.

• Meningitis
If you have a high fever, confusion, and neck pain, you might want to go to your doctor or to the nearest emergency room for evaluation.

• Blood clots
Sometimes neck pain is indicative of blood clots in the vessels. If you have been sitting for long periods of time or have a genetic predisposition to clots, you will want to be tested by your doctor.

• Heart attack
Neck pain is sometimes a symptom of an impending heart attack, especially when it radiates from the jaw line on the left side. If you have chest pain, excessive sweating, or a rapid heart beat, you will want to head to your local ER immediately.

• Arterial dissection
Your neck pain may also be telling you that your heart needs immediate surgical attention. If you have a history of heart disease or you are suffering from the worst neck pain of your life, you will want to head to the nearest emergency room.

• Whiplash
When you’ve been in a car accident, this is a typical injury that causes neck pain.

• Paralysis
If you’ve been in an accident and you can’t feel your legs after the injury, DO NOT MOVE. Have someone near you get help and try not to move your neck at all until help arrives.

The good news is that while your neck is more exposed than other parts of your body, it’s difficult to hurt your spinal column, so your chances of serious injury are low.

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When Back Pain Isn’t Just Back Pain

Back Pain Isn't Just Back Pain

Though most of us consider back pain to be an annoyance or an excuse to sit around with our feet put up, the truth is that some causes of back pain are serious and often emergent.

Potential causes of back pain can include:

• Bacterial or viral infections
Neck pain and stiffness that’s combined with a high fever is often a sign of meningitis, a life threatening infection.

• Kidney stones
Lower back pain that’s accompanied by a fever, blood in the urine, and burning when urinating can be the sign of stones.

• Gallbladder stones
If you have upper right back and shoulder pain, this can be the sign of a gallbladder attack.

• Cancer
Though rare, back pain that’s accompanied by unintentional weight loss and fatigue can also be a sign of cancer.

• Herniated disks
Sometimes the disks in your back can begin to rub together, causing inflammation that shows up as back pain.

• Arthritis
If you have stiffness that comes with the pain, you might be suffering from osteoarthritis.

• Pulmonary embolism
Sharp pain in your back accompanied by fever, increased heart rate, and pain when breathing can be the sign of a blood clot in your lungs.

• Injury
If you’ve just done some activity and your back suddenly begins to hurt, you may have injured the area in a way that needs medical attention in order to be fixed.

• Gynecological issues
Sometimes pain from the pelvic region can present as pain in the back.

• Bronchitis/pneumonia
If it hurts to breathe and you’ve had a cough in the recent week with a fever, you might be recovering from or in the beginning stages of these illnesses.

• Scoliosis
This is a curvature of the spine which is normally detecting in young people, but it may become worse if it wasn’t considered a problem when the patient was growing up.

If your back pain is the worst that it’s ever been and you can’t seem to come up with a reason for it, there’s no harm in seeing your doctor to find out what they think.

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What Is Sciatica?

What Is Sciatica?

Sciatica back pain is a bit different from other types of back pain. Not only is it often more severe and debilitating, but it can also be a sign of more serious problems.

Sciatica symptoms include:

• Tingling down the back of your legs
• Burning sensations in the backs of your legs
• Pain in the buttocks area when sitting
• Pain in your legs that worsens when you are sitting
• Numbness in your lower extremities
• Tingling in toes or lower legs
• One sided pain in buttocks
• Pains that seem to shoot up the back when you stand

These symptoms occur when the large sciatic nerve in the back of your body is damaged or compressed in some way.

The nerve affects both sides of the body, but generally only one side will have pain at a time.

There are a number of causes attributed to sciatica back pain:

• Degenerative disc disease
A progressive disorder in which your spine slowly wears away.

• Spinal stenosis
Occurs with aging as the spinal column begins to narrow, compressing the nerves

• Pregnancy
The pressure of the baby can cause compression of the nerves

• Spondylolisthesis
When your vertebrae move and slip over each other

People who are overweight, have sedentary lifestyles, wear high heels, and who sleep on softer mattresses can also have troubles with sciatica.

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The Basic Types of Back Pain

Types of Back Pain

While you know that you have back pain, the type of back pain can vary tremendously from person to person.

Some people are clutching their lower backs while others find that their upper backs are tight and achy. Here are the basics on each type of back pain.

Upper Back Pain

Of all of the types of back pain, upper back pain is actually not the most common. Because the top of the spine tends to stay in one location, it’s hard for you to hurt your actual spinal column in this area, though trauma from injury and herniated disks can still be problematic.

Symptoms of upper back pain include:

• Pain in upper back area
• Stiffness or tightness in neck
• Headache
• Jaw stiffness or pain

The frustrating part of this upper back pain is that it typically will not show up as an injury or physical problem when an MRI or X-ray is performed.

Because this upper thoracic area is meant to support the internal organs and the spine, it’s very difficult to damage the spinal column in this area. In fact, even in traumatic accidents, this area is very difficult to harm without direct impact.

Since this area’s pain can be difficult to pinpoint, many patients will find that they need to try a wide range of therapies before they can find relief. Often, a combination of physical therapy and medications will provide the relief they need.

Stress is another common cause of this kind of pain, so stress management and relaxation techniques are often recommended.

This area is also affected by positioning, that is, how you sit and move. Many office workers and those who strain their eyes to see things during their work day will complain of upper back pain. They are overexerting this part of their body in order to stay in certain unhealthy positions.

Proper positioning at your desk can do wonders in terms of helping you prevent this kind of pain from becoming worse.

Lower Back Pain

The most common back pain is found in the lower back. Since this is the area that allows us to twist and turn as well as bend from side to side, it’s not hard to see why this is the area where people become injured.

From simply bending over to lift something heavy, we can strain and injure the muscles in the back or by having poor positioning, we can cause the muscles to weaken and be more prone to pain.

Symptoms of lower back pain include:

• Stiffness and pain in the lower back
• Sharp pain when bending, sitting, or lying down
• Dull ache in lower back when performing certain activities

Lower back pain is most common in patients between the ages of 30 and 50 as the back is often weakened during these times.

If you have a sedentary job in which you sit for most of the day, your abdominal muscles can become weakened, causing you to have troubles keeping your lower back in a healthy position. This lack of activity is the root cause of more back troubles than injuries or accidents.

Of course, if you are active, you can also suffer from back pain. If you are wearing improper shoes when walking far distances or you bent over while lifting something heavy (without bracing your back), you can cause trauma to the lower back region.

However, the lower back pain should not be dismissed as something that’s harmless either. Because the lower back also houses other internal organs, any odd symptoms or pain that does not subside should be examined by a doctor.

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Back Pain And Your Activity Level

Back Pain And Activity

Many times, back pain is caused by your activity level – or sometimes the lack thereof.

The trick with activity is that it can be a blessing and a curse when it comes to back pain. While activity can sometimes cause back pain, when you don’t exercise enough, that can also increase your chances of back pain.

To help your doctor assess whether or not your activities might be causing your troubles with neck and back pain, you will want to include your activity levels in the journal you are keeping.

This will help your doctor see whether you need to increase or decrease your activity in order to help strengthen your back or to rest your back.

The basic activity levels are:

• Sedentary
Sitting down for most of the day

• Low
Exercise some days, but not consistently

• Moderate
Exercise three to four times per week for at least 30 minutes

• High
Exercise every day for at least an hour

Be honest when you are talking to your doctor about your activity levels as this will help to guide your progress during treatment and accurately assess what you should and should not be doing.

If you have started any new activities, you will want to let your doctor know as this can often signal the beginning of back pain problems or movements that may have attributed to the back injury.

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Are You Having Chronic Back Pain?

Chronic Back Pain

The truth is that many people are suffering from chronic pain, that is, pain that is present more than it is gone.

If you notice that you have back pain or neck pain most days or that you have had at least a dull form of the pain for more than a week, you will want to talk with your doctor about getting a specific diagnosis for your back pain.

Ask yourself these questions:

• Did the pain suddenly begin?
• Have I been diagnosed with back pain before?
• Is this a worsening of a problem I already have?
• Have I had other treatments for my back pain without relief?

There are some conditions that might require surgical intervention or that may require a lifelong regimen of pain medications in order to control pain that’s so omnipresent.

If you’ve only been dealing with back pain for the past few weeks without any previous history of troubles; that’s not considered to be a chronic condition in the eyes of most doctors.

But if this back pain has been something that’s been happening more than it hasn’t over the last month, you have every reason to head to your doctor for help.

Start A Journal

If you find you are having a hard time describing your pain to a doctor, it can help to keep a journal of your back troubles.

A simple spiral bound notebook is fine, but a page should be created for each day to help you keep track of your pain experience.

You might want to include:

• The date
• The time of the back pain
• Day in menstrual cycle – for women
• Intensity of pain on scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst pain
• Location of the pain
• Description of the pain
• What remedies you’ve tried
• What remedies worked
• What activity you were doing
• What seemed to exacerbate the pain
• What seemed to lessen the pain
• Where you were when the pain happened

By keeping this detailed journal, you and your doctor will be able to determine the cause of your particular case of back pain and then advise of treatments that will be effective.

You might also want to make notes in your journal about the various stressful things that were going on in your life at the same time in case your back pain is related to tension and not to a specific injury.

It will help if you keep this journal for at least a month to see if there are any connections to the potential causes of the back pain. Be sure to bring this journal to your doctor’s appointment to show them what your experience has been.

Even as you begin treatment, you will want to maintain this journal as it will help you further diagnose your pain and find treatments that are effective for you to use.

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