back pain, Back pain at home


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.

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 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.


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.
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 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).

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


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.
back pain, Treatment not recommended for back pain


Several treatments have sometimes been used for non-specific back pain (back pain with no identified cause) but are not recommended because of a lack of evidence.

These include:

  • belts, corsets, foot orthotics and shoes with “rocker” soles
  • traction – the use of weights, ropes and pulleys to apply force to tissues around the spine
  • therapeutic ultrasound – where sound waves are directed at your back to accelerate healing and encourage tissue repair
  • percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (PENS) – where electrical pulses are passed along needles inserted near the nerves in the back
  • interferential therapy (IFT) – where a device is used to pass an electrical current through your back to try to accelerate healing
back pain, Back pain from prolapsed disc


One of the medical condition that can cause back pain is slipped or prolapsed disc (a disc of cartilage in the spine pressing on a nerve) – this can cause back pain and numbness, tingling and weakness in other parts of the body.

A slipped disc is when a soft cushion of tissue between the bones in the spine pushes out. It’s painful if it presses on nerves. It usually gets better slowly with rest, gentle exercise and painkillers.


If the pain is very bad, you may need to rest at first. But start gentle exercise as soon as you can – it will help you get better faster. The type of exercise is not important, just gradually increase your activity level.

Take pain killers regularly (up to the recommended daily amount) rather than just when the pain is particularly bad. This will help you to keep moving.


See your doctor when:

  • your painkillers are not helping
  • the pain is no better after a month
  • you have a very high temperature or you feel hot and shivery
  • you have unexplained weight loss
  • you have swelling in your back
  • the pain is worse at night
back pain, Kidney infection and back pain


Kidney stone or kidney infection can cause back pain. A kidney infection is caused by bacteria entering the urethra and reproducing in the bladder, triggering an infection. The infection then spreads to the kidneys. There are several ways in which bacteria can achieve this:

  • Urinary catheter. Having a urinary catheter raises the risk of developing urinary tract infection. This includes kidney infection.
  • Kidney stones. People with kidney stones have a higher risk of developing a kidney infection. Kidney stones are the result of a buildup of dissolved minerals on the inner lining of the kidneys.
  • Enlarged prostate. Males with an enlarged prostate have a higher risk of developing kidney infections.
  • Weakened immune system. Some patients with weakened immune systems may have a bacterial or fungal infection on their skin, which eventually gets into the bloodstream and attacks the kidneys.


Kidney infection can either be treated at home or in a hospital; this will depend on several factors, including the severity of symptoms and an individual’s general state of health.

Treatment at home consists of taking prescribed oral antibiotics. The patient should start to feel better after a few days. The doctor may also prescribe an analgesic if there is any pain. Consuming plenty of fluids will help prevent fever and dehydration. Fluid intake recommendations may vary, depending on the type of infection.

If the individual is treated in hospital and suffers from dehydration, fluids may be administered with a drip. Most cases of hospitalisation do not last more than 3 to 7 days.

The following factors are more likely to lead to treatment being administered in the hospital for kidney infection:

  • serious difficulties urinating
  • sickle cell anaemia
  • diabetic
  • HIV
  • a history of kidney infection
  • a blockage in the kidneys
  • severe pain
  • severe vomiting
  • being aged 60 years or older
back pain, Return to work with back pain


Getting back to work sooner rather than later will help most people with mild back pain. This will help your back pain itself, as staying active and keeping the back muscles moving will help you get better sooner. It will also make you feel better about yourself. Bed rest does more harm than good.

You don’t need to wait until your back problem has completely gone. In many cases, the longer you are off work the more likely you are to develop longer-term problems and the less likely you are to return to work.

Keep in contact with your employer and discuss what can be done to help you return to work. If your work involves heavy lifting or other physically demanding tasks, you may need to do lighter duties and fewer hours for a while. If your work involves seating a chair for a long period, it may help to seat on a pressure-relieving cushion like this cushion.

Non-slip memory foam seat cushion placed on the office chair.

The cushion is available on the following link:

If you have an occupational health advisor through your job, they can help advise what work you are fit to do and arrange any simple adjustments to your work or workplace to help you to cope and stay at work.

back pain, Diagnosing back pain


After taking a detailed history your doctor will conduct a physical examination. During the physical examination, your doctor may test your:

  • ability to stand and walk
  • ability to detect sensations in your legs
  • spine’s range of motion
  • reflexes
  • leg strength

If a serious condition is suspected, your doctor might order other tests, including:

  • X-rays of the spine to show the alignment of your bones and check for breaks
  • blood and urine tests to check for underlying conditions
  • computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to assess your disks, muscles, ligaments, nerves, and blood vessels
  • bone scan to look for abnormalities in the bone tissue
  • electromyography (EMG) to test nerve conduction