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Back pain: 13 main causes and what to do

Back Pain

Back pain is most often caused by muscle problems, which arise from poor posture, lifting weights or tiredness. In these cases, it can be relieved with simple measures such as stretching, rest and applying heat.

However, back pain can also be a sign of more serious problems, such as inflammation of the sciatic nerve, kidney stones or spinal changes.

Therefore, whenever the pain is persistent, very intense, appears suddenly or is accompanied by symptoms such as fever or difficulty moving, it is recommended to consult an orthopedist to identify the cause and begin the most appropriate treatment.

Main causes

The main causes of back pain are:

1. Bad posture

Poor posture when sleeping, walking, or even working, can cause intense pain in the lower back or upper back, in addition, poor posture increases the risk of other changes in the spine, such as scoliosis or torticollis, for example.

What to do: You should make changes to your lifestyle, changing your posture when working, walking or even sleeping, opting for positions that better distribute body weight and relieve back pain. Additionally, exercises such as yoga or those recommended by the physiotherapist can be performed to improve posture.

Don’t ignore your symptoms!

2. Muscle injury

When you have back pain on the right or left side it usually indicates a muscle injury, which can happen after physical activity or as a consequence of professional activity, as is the case with gardeners or dentists, for example. This type of pain is usually characterized by a feeling of heaviness and can be quite uncomfortable.

What to do: To relieve back pain due to muscle damage, you can place a warm compress on the region for 15 minutes, twice a day for at least 3 to 4 days and apply an anti-inflammatory ointment, such as Cataflam, for example. Furthermore, during this period, it is important to avoid exerting too much effort so that the symptoms of the injury can ease more quickly.

3. Respiratory diseases

Respiratory diseases can also cause back pain, especially when breathing, as the respiratory process involves mobilization of all the muscles in the abdomen and back.

What to do: It is recommended to consult a pulmonologist or general practitioner to treat the respiratory disease, especially when there are symptoms such as shortness of breath, cough, phlegm or fever. However, it may also be advisable to place a warm compress on the area where the pain is felt to alleviate symptoms. See how to recognize the symptoms of a respiratory infection.

4. Kidney stones

The presence of kidney stones, also known as kidney stones, can also cause back pain. The pain due to the presence of stones is known as renal colic and is characterized by very strong pain in the back that prevents the person from walking or moving. Learn about other kidney stone symptoms.

What to do: In these cases, it is important to go to the nearest emergency room or emergency room so that tests can be carried out to identify the stone and its size and, thus, begin appropriate treatment, which may involve the use of medications that promote breakage and promote healing. elimination of the stones, in addition to anti-inflammatories to relieve symptoms, or carrying out a small surgical procedure to remove the stone.

5. Sciatica

Sciatica pain is characterized by pain in the lower back that radiates to the legs and is caused by compression of the sciatic nerve, which is located at the end of the spine or in the buttocks, causing stabbing pain with a tingling sensation or difficulty in sit or walk.

What to do: What is recommended in these cases is to consult an orthopedist so that tests can be carried out, such as MRI, and the best treatment can be indicated, which can be done with medication and physiotherapy.

If you think your sciatic nerve may be affected, answer the following questions:

6. Heart attack

One of the indicative signs of a heart attack is chest pain that can radiate to the back and worsens with exertion, in addition to a feeling of discomfort or nausea, especially if the person is overweight and has high blood pressure or cholesterol.

What to do: In case of signs and symptoms indicative of a heart attack, it is recommended to seek medical help as soon as possible or call the emergency number 192 so that first aid can be provided and the consequences can be avoided.

7. Herniated disc

A herniated disc can lead to pain in the middle of the back that worsens when standing up or staying in the same position for a long time, being more common in people over 45 years of age. This pain can also radiate to the side, ribs, or down, affecting the buttocks or legs.

What to do: You can place a warm compress on your back and avoid staying in the same position for a long time. In addition, it is also recommended to go to the orthopedist to request an X-ray or MRI so that the best treatment can be indicated, which may include physiotherapy.

8. Muscle contracture

Muscle contracture can occur due to tiredness, excessive physical activity, worry or poor posture when sitting, for example, which can result in pain in the upper back and, in some cases, there may also be a stiff neck.

What to do: Stretching exercises are of great help to stretch your muscles and feel more relaxed. Staying in a comfortable position and slowly turning your head from side to side can help relax the muscles in your upper body.

9. Pregnancy

It is also common for back pain to occur during pregnancy, especially in the last months of pregnancy due to spinal overload.

What to do: To alleviate back pain during pregnancy, massage, stretching and, in some cases, physiotherapy are recommended. Find out how to relieve back pain during pregnancy.

10. Herpes zoster

Shingles can cause pain in the middle of the back, as it is an infection caused by the chickenpox virus that causes red blisters to appear on the skin, which can appear in various parts of the body, causing tingling, burning sensations or pain.

What to do: The treatment of herpes zoster must be carried out by a doctor who may recommend the use of antiviral drugs, such as acyclovir, famciclovir or valacyclovir, to reduce the multiplication of the virus and blisters on the skin.

11. Arthritis

Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints that causes symptoms such as joint deformity, inflammation, stiffness or difficulty moving, which can affect various parts of the spine, making it difficult or limiting to carry out daily activities.

What to do: a rheumatologist should be consulted to evaluate symptoms and perform laboratory and imaging tests to confirm the diagnosis. Thus, the doctor can indicate the most appropriate treatment, which can be done with analgesics, anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroids, or in some cases, surgery.

12. Aortic aneurysm

An aortic aneurysm is a dilation of the walls of the aorta artery that is located in the abdomen or chest, and generally does not cause symptoms, however when it increases in size it can cause some symptoms depending on its location, such as strong and intense pain in the chest, or pain on the side of the back. Understand better what an aortic aneurysm is and other symptoms.

What to do: The treatment of aortic aneurysm varies according to its severity, location and the presence of other associated diseases, and the doctor may recommend surgery to remove the part of the aorta that presents alteration, and if necessary, the placement of a tube to replace it. the blood vessel.

13. Ankylosing spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis can cause back pain due to an injury to the spine in the region where the vertebrae come together, leading to symptoms such as difficulty in moving the spine and pain, which can worsen when the person is at rest and improve when lying down. move.

What to do: Treatment must be carried out under the guidance of an orthopedist who may recommend the use of analgesics, anti-inflammatories or muscle relaxants to relieve pain and improve joint mobility, in addition to physiotherapy, which is essential to increase flexibility and quality of life. Learn more about the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis.

When to go to the doctor

It is advisable to see a general practitioner when back pain is very severe, appears suddenly or is accompanied by other symptoms, such as nausea or shortness of breath. This way, the doctor can request tests to identify the cause and thus begin the most appropriate treatment, which may include the use of analgesics, such as Paracetamol, anti-inflammatories, such as Ibuprofen, or surgery to treat spinal problems, such as a herniated disc, for example.

During the consultation, it is important to tell the doctor the characteristics of your pain, saying when it started, whether it hurts all the time or only when you make a certain movement, and also what you have already done to try to alleviate the pain. It may be helpful to tell your doctor if you are sedentary and what your job is. By knowing these details, the doctor can make a faster diagnosis and recommend the best treatment.

How to relieve back pain

Things you can do to relieve back pain at home before seeing your doctor include:

  1. Rest: lie on the floor or a hard mattress for half an hour every day;
  2. Warm compresses: place a warm compress with 3 drops of rosemary essential oil exactly on the site of pain, for 15 minutes a day;
  3. Get a massage: with warm almond oil, but without forcing it too much;
  4. Homeopathy: ingestion of homeopathic remedies, such as Homeoflan or Arnica Prépós, from Almeida Prado, prescribed by the doctor to treat back inflammation;
  5. Pilates Exercises: help to strengthen the back and abdominal muscles, combating the cause of pain.

Furthermore, it is important to follow some advice, such as adopting good posture in everyday life to protect the spine and practicing physical exercise regularly, such as weight training, for example, which is a good exercise for improving posture, reducing pain.