back pain, Back pain at home

BEST SEAT CUSHION TO RELIEVE LOWER BACK PAIN

While many of us are putting in long hours working from home, we may not miss the commute to the office using public transport but, our back misses the break from the all-day sitting sessions.

One way to help ease the suffering is to invest in one of the best seat cushions for back pain. The main benefit of a posture-correcting cushion is that it will help ease compression in your spine.

High-density memory foam can provide relief from lower back pain and offer an extra level of soothing support. So, if you are one of the millions of people who need to relieve lower back pressure while seating on a chair, try a medication-free solution that provides relief the natural way. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Products-Innova-Orthopedic-Cushion-Removable/dp/B07Q6RVPXB/ref=sr_1_29?dchild=1&keywords=coccyx+seat+cushion&qid=1610658902&sr=8-29

Now, are you sitting comfortably? If not, the seat cushion below is an example of the cushion you need to invest in:

back pain

MEDICAL AND LIFESTYLE RISK FACTORS THAT CAN CAUSE BACK PAIN

Medical risk factors that can cause back pain include:

  • Osteoarthritis. This is the most common type of arthritis that causes joints to become painful and stiff.
  • Sciatica. Irritation of the nerve that runs from the pelvis to the feet.
  • Slipped disc. Pain and back spasms can occur when a disc of cartilage presses on a nearby nerve.
  • Pregnancy. Pregnant women are more likely to develop lower back pain due to carrying more weight.
  • Cancer of the spine. An example is a multiple myeloma.
  • Cauda equina syndrome. Where the nerves in the lower back become severely compressed.
  • Spondylolisthesis. Where a bone in the spine slips out of position.
  • Kidney stones.

.https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/back-pain/causes/

Lifestyle risk factors that can cause back pain include:

  • Occupational hazards. Jobs that require repetitive bending, lifting and standing or sitting for long periods without a break put employees at greater risk of back pain.
  • Poor posture. Forgetting about posture and the tendency to slouch adds strain on the back and can cause muscular back pain.
  • Sedentary behaviour. Sitting for too long and not getting enough movement or exercise.
  • Exercise and sporting injuries. At the opposite end of the spectrum, pushing yourself too hard in the gym or sustaining a sporting injury can trigger back strain.
  • Excess weight. Being overweight adds more stress to the back and joints.
  • Fashion choices. High heels not only affect standing and movement but change posture and can exacerbate lower back pain in the process.
  • Smoking. One study found smokers are three times more likely to develop chronic back pain.
Lower back strain

LOWER BACK STRAIN

Lower back strain is the strain of the muscles and ligaments in the back. You can strain these muscles by stretching them causing tears in the tissue. The muscles are then weakened making it unable to hold the bones of your spinal column correctly. The spine then becomes less stable causing low back pain.

Lower back strain can be caused by:

  • Extreme physical exertion.
  • Falling or injury.
  • Bending or crouching repeatedly.
  • Lifting heavy objects if you are not in shape.

HOW TO TREAT LOWER BACK STRAIN?

  • Ice your back to reduce pain and swelling as soon as you injure yourself. Do it for 20-30 minutes every 3-4 hours for 2-3 days. 
  • Apply heat to your back — but only after 2-3 days of icing it first. Use heat on your back only after the initial swelling has gone down. You could use an electric heating pad or a hot water bottle. Or you could soak in a hot bath.
  • Take painkillers or other drugs, if recommended by your doctor. 
  • Use support. Ask your doctor or therapist first, but consider getting a belt or girdle to add support to your back. Use it only short-term or for support with heavy or repetitive lifting.
  • Get physical therapy to build up strength, if your doctor recommends it. Do not stay in bed or on the couch all day.
  • Maintain good muscle tone in your abdominal and lower back muscles. https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/muscle-bone-and-joints/self-management-advice/back-problems
back pain, Working from home & back pain

WORKING FROM HOME & BACK PAIN

If you can work from home, work from home. Although you may be able to get your work done at a cramped desk or in poor light, none of these things is great for your body. When you hold yourself in awkward positions, you may get problems with your muscles, tendons, ligaments, or nerves.

Below are the most useful tips when you are working from on a computer:

  • Create space for your legs. Choose a work surface that offers plenty of space for your knees, thighs, and feet. Try not to sit directly in front of drawers or cabinets.
  • Protect your back. To help keep a healthy posture, an office chair with lumbar (low back) support is best. If you use a hard-backed chair, choose one that lets your knees stay level with your hips. Pad your chair with a seat cushion and place a rolled-up towel behind your lower back. If your chair has armrests, adjust them so that your shoulders stay relaxed.
  • Support your feet. One trick to getting your posture right is to keep your feet flat on the floor. If the chair you use doesn’t allow that to happen, use a footrest. You can also place a small stack of sturdy books under your feet.
  • Keep your computer screen at eye level. If your computer screen is too low and you have to tuck your chin into your chest to see it, this can lead to neck, shoulder, and back pain. If you can, place your screen on a surface that’s arm’s length away and eye level.
  • Get your lighting right. Natural light will help you see your work better. To reduce glare, set up your workspace to the side of a window instead of having it in front of or behind you. Your computer screen should be brighter than the sun outside, so adjust your blinds or pull down your shades on sunny days.
  • Take frequent breaks. Once you get your home office set up, don’t feel like you have to stay there all day. Your muscles can get tired and sore from supporting you when you sit, which may lead to other problems over time. Try to take a 1- to 2-minute break every 20 to 30 minutes that you’re at your desk. Stand and gently stretch.
  • If you can, get a standing desk. Stay on your feet as you work on your laptop or computer and you may be less likely to have shoulder or back pain. If you don’t have a standing desk, place your laptop on a high counter, shelf, or an ironing board. It may take a while to get used to this way of working. To keep your legs and feet from getting sore, stand for no more than 30 minutes at first. A cushioned kitchen mat will also help.
  • Keep your keyboard in reach. If you have to stretch to reach your keyboard, you’ll strain your arms. When typing or using a mouse, your wrists should be straight, your elbows close to your body, and your hands even with your elbows or slightly lower.
  • Cushion your wrist. If your wrists or lower arms press against the edge of your work surface too much, you may start to feel pain or tingling. As the tissue to these areas gets squeezed, blood flow can slow. To stave off problems like carpal tunnel syndrome, use a wrist cushion. You can also pad hard edges of your desk or table with a folded washcloth.
  • Make your phone hands free. If you often talk on the phone while you work at a computer, protect yourself from a stiff neck. Place your phone in speaker mode or use a headset, especially if you type or write at the same time.
  • 20-20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes that you look at your screen, take 20 seconds to stare at something else about 20 feet away. Changing your focus, even briefly, allows your eyes to rest.
back pain

BACK PAIN ACCOMPANIED BY OTHER SYMPTOMS

Back pain varies widely. Some symptoms may suggest that back pain has a more serious cause. These include fever, recent trauma, weight loss, a history of cancer and neurological symptoms, such as numbness, weakness or incontinence (involuntary loss of urine). https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/back-pain/

Sometimes back pain usually is accompanied by other symptoms that may help point to its cause. For example:

  • Fibromyalgia – In addition to back pain, there are usually other areas of pain and stiffness in the trunk, neck, shoulders, knees and elbows. Pain may be either a general soreness or a gnawing ache, and stiffness is often worst in the morning. People usually complain of feeling abnormally tired, especially of waking up tired, and they have specific areas that are painful to touch, called tender points.
  • Degenerative arthritis of the spine – Together with back pain, there is stiffness and trouble bending over, which usually develops over many years.
  • Osteoporosis – This common condition is characterised by thinned, weakened bones that fracture easily. It is most common in postmenopausal women. When vertebrae become compressed because of fracture, posture may become stooped over or hunched along with back pain. At times osteoporosis is not painful unless a bone fractures.
  • Back sprain or strain – Back pain typically begins on the day after heavy exertion. Muscles in the back, buttocks and thighs are often sore and stiff. The back may have areas that are sore when touched or pressed.
  • Inflammatory arthritis, including ankylosing spondylitis and related conditions – In these disorders, there is a pain in the lower back, together with morning stiffness in the back, hips or both. There also can be pain and stiffness in the neck or chest or an extremely tired feeling. Other features may include psoriasis, eye pain and redness, or diarrhoea, depending on the specific disorder causing back pain. 
  • Spinal stenosis – pain, numbness and weakness affect the back and legs. Symptoms get worse when you are standing or walking, but are relieved by sitting or leaning forward.
  • Pyelonephritis – People with a kidney infection typically develop sudden, intense pain just beneath the ribs in the back that may travel around the side toward the lower abdomen or sometimes down to the groin. There also can be a high fever, shaking chills and nausea and vomiting. The urine may be cloudy, tinged with blood or usually strong or foul-smelling. There may be additional bladder related symptoms, such as the need to urinate more often than normal or pain or discomfort during urination.
  • Protruding disk – People with significant disk disease sometimes have severe pain in the lower back. If a disk compresses a nerve, the pain may spread down one leg. The pain gets worse during bending or twisting.
  • Cancer in the spinal bones or nearby structures – Back pain is consistent and may become worse when you are lying down. Numbness, weakness or tingling of the legs that continues to get worse. If cancer spreads to spinal nerves that control the bladder and bowel, there may be bowel or bladder incontinence (loss of control).
back pain

TOP 10 TIPS ABOUT BACK PAIN

Back pain can be alarming and very painful, here are some facts and useful 10 tips about back pain:

  • Back pain is very common, in most cases aren’t caused by a serious problem.
  • People who stay active and try to return to normal routine cope better and recover quicker.
  • There are lots of things you can do to help yourself.
  • Reduce sustained posture, do regular exercise and pace your activities.
  • Pain does not necessarily mean harm.
  • Take painkillers if needed, pain killers allow you to continue your daily routine.
  • If the pain is severe and doesn’t clear up, seek medical help.
  • Serious or permanent damage is rare.
  • If you have persistent (chronic) pain, accept it, learn about it, learn how to leave with it.
  • If surgery is the last option, get an independent opinion from a different specialist and accept it. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/back-pain/
Posture and back pain

POSTURE AND BACK PAIN

How you sit, stand and lie down can have an important effect on the back and pain on the back. The following tips should help maintain a good posture:

  • Standing – you should stand upright, with your head facing forward and your back straight. Balance your weight evenly on both feet and keep your legs straight.
  • Sitting – you should be able to sit upright with support of your back. Your knees and hips should be level and your feet should be flat on the floor (use a footstool if necessary). Some people find it useful to use a small cushion or rolled-up towel to support the small of the back. If you use a keyboard, make sure your forearms are horizontal and your elbows are at right angles.
  • Driving – make sure your lower back is properly supported. Correctly positioning your wing mirrors will prevent you from having to twist around. Foot controls should be squarely in front of your feet. If driving long distances, take regular breaks so you can stretch your legs and sit on top of memory foam seat cushion.
Common symptoms of lower back pain

COMMON SYMPTOMS OF LOWER BACK PAIN

Specifically identifying and describing symptoms can help doctors lead to a more accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan for lower back pain.

Combination of symptoms describing lower back pain are:

Dull, aching pain

Pain that remains within the low back is usually described as dull and aching rather than burning, stinging, or sharp. This kind of pain can be accompanied by mild or severe muscle spasms, limited mobility, and aches in the hips and pelvis.

Pain that travels to the buttocks, legs, and feet

Sometimes low back pain includes a sharp, stinging, tingling or numb sensation that moves down the thighs and into the low legs and feet, also called sciatica. Sciatica is caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve and is usually only felt on one side of the body.

Pain that is worse after prolonged sitting

Sitting puts pressure on the discs, causing low back pain to worsen after sitting for long periods. Walking and stretching can alleviate low back pain quickly, but returning to a sitting position may cause symptoms to return.

Pain that is worse after waking up and better after moving around

Many who experience low back pain report symptoms that are worse first thing in the morning. After getting up and moving around symptoms are relieved. Pain in the morning is due to stiffness caused by long periods of rest, decreased blood flow with sleep, and possibly the quality of mattress and pillows used. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/back-pain/

Alternative treatments for back pain

ALTERNATIVE TREATMENTS FOR BACK PAIN

Non-medical treatments may be referred to as alternative treatments. The term “alternative” should not imply inferior, but these are various treatments not included in the traditional curricula of western medicine.

Many patients with low back pain report relief from alternative treatments. These treatments include:

-Acupuncture. 

Acupuncture stimulates points on the body thought to correct the body’s life force. During a session, thin needles are placed in the skin. Acupuncture has been shown to provide significant pain relief for some people.

-Massage therapy. 

Applied to the low back, massage therapy can relieve the muscle spasms that usually contribute to low back pain. Massage also increases blood flow to the low back, which speeds up healing by bringing nutrients and oxygen to damaged muscles.

-Mindful meditation. 

Meditation may be helpful in reducing the perception of pain and can reduce depression, anxiety and sleep problems that commonly occur with chronic pain. Meditative techniques for pain reduction include everything from deep breathing exercises to an altered focus approach.

-Yoga and Tai Chi

Evidence suggests that the mind-body practices of yoga and tai chi offer significant relief of the symptoms of low back pain.

-Homeopathy

Although few studies have examined the effectiveness of specific homeopathic therapies, professional homeopaths may consider homeopathy treatments to relieve low back pain based on their knowledge and experience. Before prescribing a remedy, homeopaths take into account a person’s physical, emotional, and psychological makeup.

-Nutrition and Dietary supplements

There is no special diet for back pain, but you can help keep your body in good shape by eating a healthy diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Choose foods that are low in saturated fat and sugar. Drink plenty of water. Foods that are high in antioxidants (such as green leafy vegetables and berries) may help fight inflammation.

-Herbs

Herbs are generally available as standardised, dried extracts (pills, capsules, or tablets), teas, or tinctures/liquid extracts (alcohol extraction, unless otherwise noted). Mix liquid extracts with a favourite beverage.

-Hydrotherapy

Hot and cold therapy may relieve lower back pain.

Arthritis on the spine and back pain

ARTHRITIS ON THE SPINE AND BACK PAIN

Arthritis on the spine is the inflammation of the facet joints or sacroiliac joints between the spine and the pelvis. Sometimes, the inflammation may affect the sites where ligaments and tendons attach to the bones of the spine. Regardless of the exact location, arthritis in the back can be painful and often becomes chronic.

CAUSES OF SPINAL ARTHRITIS AND RISK FACTORS

The causes of arthritis in the back vary depending on the type of arthritis you have. Besides normal wear and tear and autoimmune triggers, in many cases, the exact cause remains unknown. Some forms of spinal arthritis are hereditary. Risk factors of spinal arthritis include:

  • Age.
  • Excessive weight.
  • Presence of certain conditions such as diabetes, gout, psoriasis, tuberculosis, irritable bowel syndrome and Lyme disease.

SELF-HELP MEASURES TO REDUCE THE RISK OF DEVELOPING ARTHRITIS ON THE SPINE

Below are some of the self-help measures to reduce the risk of developing arthritis on the spine and improve function if you already have arthritis on the spine:

  • Keep your muscles strong and do exercises that increase muscle strength. This can help support the joints and reduce the pain of arthritis. 
  • Try to keep to a healthy weight.
  • Try to manage the pain. Distraction, meditation, reducing stress and trying to help your sleep can all help reduce pain.
  • Painkillers and anti-inflammatory medicines are often prescribed to help with the pain and stiffness of arthritis.
  • Joint injections of a corticosteroid and local anaesthetic can sometimes help to relieve pain on the joints.
  • Physical therapies such as physiotherapy, osteopathy and chiropractic treatment can also help. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/arthritis/