Backache, or lumbago, means lower back pain.  The ache generally begins in the first lumbar vertebra, which is in level with the frontal end of the ninth rib.

It may also extend downwards, along the small of the back.  The pain may be present in the center of the back too, or along the spine, or on either one, or both sides of the spine.

Backache is the second-most frequently reported reason for visiting the doctor, after the common cold.

How and Why?

•    One of the primary causes of backache is improper posture, muscular tension, straining of joints, nutritional imbalance and lack of exercise
•    In some instances, kidney or prostate problems, menstrual disorders, arthritis and influenza can also cause backache
•    Other causes include stress and strain, resulting from sitting for a long time, lifting weights incorrectly, wearing high heels and also emotional problems – these can trigger painful muscle cramps and backache
•    It is also suggested that being overweight can lead to back problems

Symptoms & Diagnosis

“Ah, my back aches,” just making this declaration is one common symptom.  This ache can range from dull, constant ache to sudden, sharp pain.  Acute, or short-term, backache can come on suddenly.  It usually lasts for a few days to a few weeks.  It often goes away on its own, although it may take a while for this to happen.  When backache lasts for more than three months, it is labeled as chronic backache.

•    When the backache is severe and does not get any better in 3 – 4 days, it is imperative to speak to your doctor.  One should get medical attention promptly, if the backache begins following an injury, or a mishap.
•    Your doctor will be able to diagnose your backache by evaluating your ability to sit, stand, walk and lift your legs.  When your backache becomes a cause for concern, certain diagnostic tests may be necessary to confirm the cause of your backache – such as testing your reflexes, with a rubber reflex hammer.  This will help to establish the type of pain, the location of pain, or whether you have muscle spasms.
•    In most instances, a medical history and a brief physical examination are good enough.
•    Blood tests may also be necessary at times, as also imaging tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to diagnose, or rule out, tumors or other possible causes of pain
•    In certain instances, your doctor may advise you to consult a neurologist and go through neurological tests – to establish the probable cause of backache.

Self – help

•    Prevent low backache by maintain a healthy weight, and follow your doctor – approved back exercise programme.
•    Adopt a good posture at work , use an ergonomically friendly chair
•    Keep your computer screen in alignment with the level of your eyes , take short walks at regular intervals
•    When you want to lift something, bend your knees and lift them, rather than overstretch.


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