Have you been ignoring your Low back pain? If the answer is yes, then chances are you must be missing office work, family functions, quality time with friends or travelling quite often because of back pain. Globally, low back pain among the most common causes of loss of work and disability. Low back pain is also the leading cause of limitation of activity of daily routine and recreation. Low back pain affects most commonly age group of 35 to 55 years, which is again the most productive period of adult life. So ignoring back pain can significantly hamper your quality of life.
How to prevent back pain from getting worse?
We all know that prevention is better than cure. Maintaining an active lifestyle is the best method in preventing back pain primarily. Walking and swimming strengthen back muscles without putting any strain on your back. Yoga helps improve flexibility, muscle tone, and strength.
Maintain a healthy posture while standing, sitting and driving. Stand upright with a straight back, legs slightly apart, and balance body weight evenly on both legs. While sitting, keep your back supported and straight. Keep your knees and hips at the same level. Therefore, one should avoid low lying furniture and use a footrest with high chairs.
While driving use a back support or a small rolled towel to maintain the normal lumbar spine curvature.
What are the ‘danger signs’ of back pain?
Simple back pain does not mandate a visit to a doctor or a physiotherapist. It will resolve with rest and correction of posture. However, you should visit a doctor if you have certain other features like a recent history of trauma, weakness in legs, numbness in legs, and back pain associated with urinary voiding difficulty.
Any back pain with age of onset less than 20 years and more than 55 years requires evaluation. Back pain in unwell patients, patients with known malignancy, significant weight loss, patients on long term steroids should visit a doctor urgently.
A progressively worsening back pain or a pain which has started limiting activities of daily living also warrant medical attention.
What if I keep ignoring low back pain?
Besides the loss of work and pay, loss of productive years, significant limitations in routine activities, neurological deficits like leg weakness, there is a profound affect on your mood, emotions and practically every aspect of your life. Chronic low back pain causes depression, irritability, social withdrawal, poor sleep and poor appetite. So basically you cant control your life, and low back pain starts controlling you.
Is surgery the only option of back pain relief?
This is the commonest misconception among individuals. The percentage of patients that will need surgery for their back pain is perhaps less than 5%. Most patients with back pain will improve with conservative measures like posture correction, strengthening of back muscles, and taking precautions in day to day activities.
When these non invasive measures fail, then options like manipulations, epidural steroid injections, Nerve root blocks, or Radio-frequency ablation procedures can be offered depending upon the pain generator in the patient.
Treatment for low back pain has advanced significantly with refinements in physiotherapy, occupational therapy and spine surgeries. Spine surgery advancements have made daycare procedures feasible with minimal post-op pain and quick resumption of activities, and good long term results.
Therefore, say no to back pain and look forward to a pain free life.
Disclaimer- This is for the general awareness of the patients and cannot replace expert medical advice. Patient treatments need to be individualised and that can be decided based on clinical examination and evaluation by a trained physician.
About the author:
Dr. Harnarayan Singh is a Neurosurgeon and Spine surgeon in Gurugram, India. He is an expert in Minimally invasive spine surgery and spine instrumentation. He is involved in many public awareness campaigns and writes many blogs on health.