What to do if your back and lower back hurt?

Symptoms of back pain

Leaving aside the obvious causes such as injuries, muscle strains or hypothermia, back pain in adults is more often associated with degenerative changes in the structure of the intervertebral joints and the vertebral bodies themselves.

This process is called differently in different countries, but the essence does not change: with age, the cartilage, which is located between the vertebrae and ensures their mobility, becomes thinner and thicker due to metabolic disorders and asymmetrical or excessive loads. This leads to microtrauma and inflammation of the intervertebral joints and surrounding tissues.

Inflammation can be combated quickly with medication, but the regeneration of cartilage is a lengthy process: the cartilage wears out faster than it is restored. Therefore, once pain in the spine occurs, it usually returns regularly.

What to do: get an MRI and see a neurologist, have your bones broken by a chiropractor, take pills or resort to alternative medicine?

First, see a neurologist!

This is where you should start when your back hurts for the first time. The doctor must exclude all truly dangerous causes of pain, for example, a compression fracture (sometimes unnoticed), spinal tuberculosis or a tumor.

Most likely, the doctor will limit himself to a simple examination and prescribe treatment for 3-5 days, and then give recommendations for lifestyle correction. If the pain recurs in the future, you can manage it on your own.

Performing an MRI scan of the spine on your own is a waste of money and time. In most cases, the results of the study do not affect the choice of treatment, tactics and prognosis, and therefore your well-being.

You definitely need to see a neurologist: if back pain is accompanied by weakness in the leg, arm, if there are problems with the sensitivity of the body below the painful area (numbness, crawling, tingling) or the functions of the pelvic organs are impaired (problems with urination, erection). , etc. ). In these cases, a more in-depth examination is required.

Persistent pain is harmful

Pain causes muscle spasms, which increase pressure on the spinal nerves and pain receptors in the joint and also limit movement. To recover faster, you need to break this chain.

Therefore, if the pain is severe, bed rest is recommended for the first 1-3 days. Everyone chooses for themselves the position in which the pain is least, but more often it helps to lie on your back, on a hard surface with a pad under the knees and in the lower back, with your head on a low pillow. Sometimes it becomes easier in the fetal position: on your side, with your back rounded and a pillow between your bent knees.

Medications include painkillers and anti-inflammatory medications for 3-5 days. As a rule, things get significantly better after 1 injection. You can also take these medications in tablet form: the potency does not change, but the effect appears later.

Vitamins B1, B6, B12 are indicated together with painkillers. They help manage pain and inflammation and improve metabolism in nerve tissue.

A neurologist or therapist can prescribe muscle relaxants. They help relax the spinal muscles, reducing pressure on the source of inflammation and pain, but can have serious side effects. Therefore, it is better not to take them without the advice of a specialist.

If everything is done correctly, the pain should subside within 3-5 days. The further fate of your back is in your hands. How much your quality of life will change does not depend on the qualifications of the treating doctor, but rather on whether you are ready to train your muscles and joints properly!

How do you get moving?

There is a rule developed by natural selection: to avoid pain and thus protect the damaged part of the body from destruction. But back pain is an exception.

During a week of bed rest, you can lose up to 20-30% of your muscle strength, which significantly reduces the chances of a full recovery in the future.

Why train muscles?

First,Strong back and abdominal muscles are able to take on the lion's share of the load when moving and stabilize the spine in the correct position - so that the intervertebral joints assume an optimal configuration and experience less wear and pain. It has been proven that people with poorly developed muscles are more likely to suffer from chronic back pain.

Secondly,By training the back muscles, the bone density of the vertebrae is increased. This is an excellent prevention of osteoporosis and compression fractures, which is especially important for women over 45 years old. And when you move, joint lubrication occurs, blood circulation improves and the regeneration processes in the cartilage occur more quickly.

Third,Proper physical activity strengthens the ligaments that hold the vertebrae together. This is an important element in preventing chronic back pain in people with joint hypermobility: people who can reach their thumb to the bones of the forearm of the same hand or hyperextend their arms at the elbows and knees.

The best way to prevent back pain is exercise, but the right exercise!

Three rules of physiotherapy

The ideal option is complex physiotherapy under the supervision of an instructor: a physiotherapist, kinesiotherapist, neurologist or chiropractor. After learning the technique, you can practice it independently and without the help of specialists.

It is important to remember three rules, without which no exercise will work!

  1. Exercise should become a daily habit, not a firefighting measure. Choose 4-5 flexibility and movement coordination exercises daily that can be performed within 15-20 minutes of waking up. According to statistics, the people who most often suffer from back pain are "weekend athletes", i. e. people who have no time to exercise during the week and only have the opportunity to make up for lost time on the weekend.
  2. The second part of the activity consists of a series of strength exercises. They are aimed at strengthening the back, abdominal, arm and leg muscles and stabilizing the spine and should therefore gradually become more complex. If you finish a workout without feeling tired, then you've wasted your time: muscles that don't get tired don't develop. Strength training takes more time, but also has a longer-lasting effect. Therefore, it is enough to set aside 1 hour for them 2-3 times a week. In the case of diseases of the cardiovascular system and the lungs, it is important that the intensity of the exercise is controlled by a physiotherapist, at least in the initial stages.
  3. The biomechanics of the spine are very complex. Therefore, there are no universal exercises to correct all types of pain. A good specialist will immediately narrow down the selection. But when you practice alone, let your feelings guide you. The aim of the training is to gradually increase the pain-free range of motion in the back. If this does not happen or, on the contrary, the pain increases, then you are doing something wrong.

An approximate set of exercises for acute, subacute periods and remission - if the back practically does not bother you, you can download on the Internet.

Do you have to stop exercising?

It is advisable to replace some types of activities with similar ones. For example, instead of running on rough terrain, it is better to try a treadmill, and an exercise bike instead of a road bike.

It is advisable to initially avoid exercises that involve just hanging on the bar and replace them with exercises that support the back or legs. Exercises with dumbbells or a barbell are performed in a lying position on your back or stomach without vertical loads.

Sports that involve jumping and sudden twisting movements can provoke a painful attack: volleyball, basketball, football, tennis, dancing. However, that doesn't mean it's time to give up your favorite activity. To get back in shape, you must first properly train your back and abdominal muscles under the guidance of a doctor and choose shoes with good shock absorbers. And of course you have to warm up properly before any activity.

For most people, swimming and water aerobics are the ideal sport for back pain. However, some people with spinal joint instability may experience increased lower back pain after swimming. In this case, you need to start with dry training to strengthen the core muscles.

The main causes of chronic back pain are obesity, stress and poor posture. An active lifestyle allows you to solve all three problems at the same time.

How do you check your posture?

The spine has 4 bends – 2 forward and 2 backward. Normally they are balanced and alleviate the vertical stress on the vertebrae during walking and other movements. If you bend excessively or overextend your lower back, your body weight will be improperly distributed and the stress on individual vertebrae will become prohibitive.

For example, if you tilt your head forward and round your back - the standard posture of an office worker - the tension in the joints of the neck and upper thoracic spine increases sixfold.

To check your posture, stand with your back against the wall. Normally, the back of your head, shoulder blades, buttocks, game, and heels should touch the wall. In the lower back area, your fist should pass easily between the wall and your flattened back.

Sit upright and support your lower back. You can place a small pillow or folded sweater under your lower back. To get rid of the habit of crossing your legs, try placing a low stool or a box of office equipment under your feet. Try to change your posture more often, walk around the office regularly and stretch your muscles to relieve tension. For example, thematic videos on the Internet.

How can you not overwhelm yourself?

Follow safety precautions if you need to take something anywhere.

Calculate your movements and the order of your actions in advance. Can you use surrounding objects for support? Where should the cargo be transported?

Assume the pose: bend your knees and hips slightly, but do not lean forward. Tighten your abdominal muscles to protect your pelvic organs. When you lift something heavy, your legs should be working, not your back.

Hold the weight at your waist or chest with the heavy end facing you.

If you need to turn around, step on your feet, but do not lean to the side or twist your spine.

Keep your head straight. When you pick up a load, look ahead, not at it.

Know your limits! There is a big difference between what you can lift and what you can lift without endangering your health. If in doubt, ask someone for help.

Dont pull. . . If you need to move a heavy object across the floor, it is better to push it than to drag it behind you.

Distribute your weight evenly. When carrying shopping bags or luggage, try to carry the same weight in each hand.

What else will help heal your back?

Physiotherapy, acupuncture (reflexology), various types of massage, manual therapy and even taking antidepressants are effective methods used worldwide to treat various types of chronic back pain. The mechanism of action is simple: relieve muscle tension, improve blood circulation and metabolic processes in the tissue, correct the biomechanics of movement.

These methods work in the hands of a specialist and can be useless and even harmful in the hands of a charlatan. Therefore, always pay attention to the reputation of the clinic and the reviews of the doctor you contact.

And most importantly, all of these types of treatment have only an auxiliary value. The most important thing is correct posture, daily muscle work, proper nutrition and gentle treatment of the spine.

Through this service you can make an appointment with a neurologist, physiotherapist, chiropractor and any other medical service. You can get an online consultation with a neurologist through the mobile application of medical centers in your city.