Acute back pain can result from lifting a heavy object, from a misstep, falling, or a sudden motion. Chronic back pain can develop from a viral infection, stress, muscle tension, emotional problems, poor posture and movement, weak muscle strength, as a result of pregnancy, or a congenital defect. Smokers often have back pain that may possibly be due to a deficiency of vitamin C that is destroyed by tobacco. The brain can sometimes mistake signals from another part of the body such as the kidney, prostate gland, or uterus as originating from the back;29 back pain may also be an indi cation of cancer somewhere in the body. If back pain is accompanied by numbness or tingling in the legs, pain shooting down a leg to the knee or foot, inability to move legs and feet, urinary incontinence or stomach cramps, chest pain or fever, see a physician immediately. Otherwise, most back pain will subside in a matter of days, weeks, or possibly several months with proper rest and care.
In most cases, acute back pain results from a muscle spasm and not from a pinched nerve, slipped disk, torn muscle or ligament, or spinal subluxation. Because there is a complex relationship between the mind, brain, nerves, and muscles, chronic back pain is often psychosomatic in origin.
For acute pain, immediately apply an ice pack for 15 to 20 minutes and repeat every hour or two. Alternating cold and heat may be helpful. Remain immobilized for at least a day or two. Avoid any positions that add pain or stress to the injury. A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory such as aspirin may be necessary. Because of the emotion-brain-nerve interplay, participate in activities that encourage a pleasant state of mind. After pain diminishes, apply heat compresses, or bathe in warm water.
Chronic pain may require changes in mental and emotional attitude and lifestyle. An osteopathic method called counterstrain may be helpful in correcting nerve patterns.30 Drinking lots of water for back pain is beneficial because dehydration, which occurs even though not thirsty, allows acidic wastes to build up in muscles, causing pain. Avoid animal fat in the diet as it contains substances that are inflammatory.
Prevention is the best way to guard against back pain by lifting properly—always bend knees, improve posture, lose excess weight, and strengthen the abdominal muscles and the extensor muscles of the back. Stretching promotes flexibility and nonjarring exercises are beneficial.
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Tired Having Back Pains All The Time, But You Choose To Ignore It? Every year millions of people see their lives and favorite activities limited by back pain. They forego activities they once loved because of it and in some cases may not even be able to perform their job as well as they once could due to back pain.