neck pain


Back pain can be worsened by undue pressure on the neck and shoulders. This is often caused by a pillow that is too firm, or one that puts the head and neck in an uncomfortable angle. A pillow that relieves pressure will cradle the head and neck and reduce tension.

The best pillow for neck and shoulder pain is firm enough to hold the head at a healthy angle, but soft enough to alleviate pressure points. Most sleepers find success with a memory foam pillow as this material offer the best balance of support and pressure relief.

This pillow is available on the following link: Memory Foam Pillow for Sleeping – Ergonomic Design with Dual-Sided Firmness for Side, Back, and Stomach Sleepers – Cervical Support Pillows for Neck & Shoulder Pain, Charcoal & Gel-Infused : Home & Kitchen

Back pain and steroids


Most back pains calm down over a few weeks when taking over-the-counter medication, staying as active as possible and including physical therapy. This form of treatment is conservative management of back pain.

For some back pain, the conservative management may not relieve the agony of pain soon enough especially if the back pain is caused by an irritated spinal nerve.

A range of steroids exist, some are short-acting which works almost immediately but they only give short lived relief. Longer-acting steroid takes around a week to work but can last for several months. The clinician who will be performing the injection will choose the most appropriate steroid medicines and dose for your condition and symptoms.


If you have local anaesthetic, your pain will be relieved within minutes but may wear off after an hour or two. It usually takes several days for the effect of the steroid to fully begin to work.

Local anaesthetic may cause numbness and make it difficult to drive as a result you may wish to arrange alternative transport home after injection.

If you had an injection into the joint you should try to avoid strenuous exercises for two days after the injection. If you are having an injection around a tendon, you may be asked to avoid heavy impact and loading activities for two or three weeks.


  • Pain at the injection site.
  • Occasionally people may notice a flare-up of their pain within the first 24 hours after injection. This usually settles itself within a couple of days.
  • Injections can occasionally cause some thinning and changed in the colour of the skin at the injection site. In rare cases, a steroid injection into muscles or joints can cause an indentation in the skin around the area.
  • Infection. Very rarely, an infection can occur in the joint. If the joint becomes more painful and hot, you should seek medical attention immediately especially if you are also feeling generally unwell.
  • People are often concerned around the possibility of steroids related side effects such as weight gain. One of the advantages of the steroids injection, compared with steroids tablets, is that the injection dose can be kept at a low dose. This means the chances of these systemic side effects are very rare.
  • Other possible side effects include facial flushing, temporary changes in mood.
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, spinal stenosis


Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spaces within your spine, which can put pressure on the nerves that travel through the spine. Spinal stenosis occurs most often in the lower back and the neck.

Some people with spinal stenosis may not have symptoms. Others may experience pain, tingling, numbness and muscle weakness. Symptoms can worsen over time.

At times spinal stenosis can be caused by wear-and-tear changes in the spine related to osteoarthritis.

Types of spinal stenosis

  • Cervical stenosis. In this condition, the narrowing occurs in the part of the spine in your neck.
  • Lumbar stenosis. In this condition, the narrowing occurs in the part of the spine in your lower back. It’s the most common form of spinal stenosis.

Symptoms of spinal stenosis

For cervical stenosis, symptoms include:

  • Numbness or tingling in a hand, arm, foot or leg
  • Weakness in a hand, arm, foot or leg
  • Problems with walking and balance
  • Neck pain
  • In severe cases, bowel or bladder dysfunction (urinary urgency and incontinence)

For lumbar stenosis, symptoms include:

  • Numbness or tingling in a foot or leg
  • Weakness in a foot or leg
  • Pain or cramping in one or both legs when you stand for long periods or when you walk, which usually eases when you bend forward or sit
  • Back pain

Treatment for spinal stenosis

Treatment for spinal stenosis depends on the location of the stenosis and the severity of your signs and symptoms.

Talk to your doctor about the treatment that’s best for your situation. If your symptoms are mild or you aren’t experiencing any, your doctor may monitor your condition with regular follow-up appointments. He or she may offer some self-care tips that you can do at home. If these don’t help, he or she may recommend medications or physical therapy.

Surgery is often recommended if other treatments haven’t helped or if you’re disabled by your symptoms. The goals of surgery include relieving the pressure on your spinal cord or nerve roots by creating more space within the spinal canal. Surgery to decompress the area of stenosis is the most definitive way to try to resolve symptoms of spinal stenosis.

Examples of surgical procedures to treat spinal stenosis include laminectomy, laminotomy, laminoplasty, minimally invasive surgery.

Alternative medicine

  • Massage therapy
  • Chiropractic treatment
  • Acupuncture
back pain


Back pain is a common problem and will affect many of us at some point during our lives.


Often back pain doesn’t have one simple cause but may be due to one or more of the following:

  • muscle strains or sprains
  • poor posture
  • lack of exercise resulting in stiffening of the spine and weak muscles
  • sciatica – this is caused by a nerve in the spine being pressed or squeezed. In most cases, sciatica is caused by a bulging disc pressing on the nerve causing pain that travels all the way down the leg and foot
  • spinal stenosis – this is a condition where the space around the spinal cord narrows and compresses a section of nerve tissue. This can happen from birth or can develop as we get older. Like sciatica, the main problem with spinal stenosis tends to be leg pain more than the back pain
  • bone problems such as a fracture on the back bone – often caused by trauma or thinning of the bones called osteoporosis
  • infection in the bones
  • a tumour
  • inflammation, for example ankylosing spondylitis


Although it’s common, most cases of back pain tend to clear up without the need to see a doctor. However, you should see your doctor if your pain:

  • stops you from working or doing the things you enjoy
  • affects your everyday activities
  • gets worse
  • is really bad
back pain


(1) Not resting

Most back injuries result from overusing muscles, which can lead to minor muscle strains or tears. Most Sports Journal observes that 97 % of back pain in the general adult population and the majority of low back pain in college athletes is caused by “muscle strains, ligament sprains, and soft tissue contusions.” This sort of injury requires rest to heal. This doesn’t mean you must be confined to the couch until your back gets better. In fact, you should exercise to keep your muscles strong. You can swim, walk, do yoga, and perform certain stretches to stay in shape while you rehabilitate.

(2) Not eating right

Your body needs fuel to heal, and the right kind of fuel can heal you faster. Though back pain is often due to a muscle strain, the pain is directly caused by inflammation. So if you can eat foods that limit inflammation, your back pain should lessen. Foods rich in omega-3 and mono-saturated fats such as fish are highly recommended to reduce inflammation, as are brightly coloured plants like carrots, berries, and grapes. In addition to anti-inflammatory foods, protein helps speed the recovery process. Above all, make sure to eat enough. You may want to eat less since you are not exercising as much, but your body needs the additional fuel as energy to heal your back injury.

(3) Not seeing a professional

Most of the time pain from your back comes from simple strains that heal over time. But some injuries are more severe. You could have a pinched nerve or another condition that requires professional help to get better. Going to a doctor can be a solution.

(4) Seeing the wrong professional

By “professional,” I mean a licensed physician or back specialist, not a massage therapist, chiropractor or acupuncture specialist. I mean an actual doctor who can look at your back and diagnose the reasons for your pain. A licensed physician or back specialist who can do an x-ray, MRI scans and other diagnostic tests. A diagnosis is necessary to ensure that you do not re-injure the affected part.

(5) Not committed

Back injury is demoralising, and the process of healing and rehabilitation is painful. But the more you let it drag on, the longer the pain will persist. Motivation is key to ensuring that you fully commit to the rehabilitation process, and a positive mindset can help speed the recovery process. A medical professional can diagnose your injury and recommend methods and exercises for you to heal, but it is up to you to commit to them.

neck pain


Putting the back in a static position for long periods increase the risk of back or neck strain. The best preventative medicine for neck and back strain is movement. Take frequent breaks away from the computer screen to stretch.


Begin with a straight neck position. Move your chin forward and maintain comfort. Hold this position for 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times and increase reps over time up to 20.


Place a rolled towel around your neck in a U Shape holding both ends just below your shoulders. Move your head up and down rolling the towel up and down the neck in the process. Apply pressure as needed to give yourself a neck massage.


Start in a straight forward position. Raise both shoulders as upward as far as possible and hold for 30 seconds. Return to the starting position and rest for 10 seconds then repeat. Repeat 10 times and increase reps over time up to 20.


Begin with a straight neck spine. Move your head to the left as far as possible while retaining comfort. Hold for 10 seconds and return to a forward-facing position. Move the head to the right and follow the same instructions.


Begin in a straight-ahead position. Lower your head until your chin touch your chest, IF POSSIBLE. Only move to a comfortable level when beginning. Return to starting position after 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times and increase reps overtime to 20.


Begin in starting position facing forward with a straight spine. Slowly move your head back as far as possible while remaining comfortable. Hold for 10 seconds and return to starting position. Repeat 10 times and increase reps overtime to 20.


Never stretch to a point that is not comfortable for you. Begin in a seated position facing forward. Move your head to the left and hold for 10 seconds, return to start and follow same instructions to the right. Repeat 10 times and increase reps overtime to 20.

back pain


Back pain commonly result from injury, strain or tension on the back. Activities that can lead to strains include but not limited to:

  • lifting something that is too heavy
  • making an abrupt and awkward movement
  • lifting something improperly


A number of structural problems may also results in back pain. Some of them are:

  • Arthritis on the back – osteoarthritis can cause problems with the joints in the hips and lower back. In some cases the space around the spinal cord narrows, this is known as spinal stenosis.
  • Ruptured disc – each vertebra in the spine is cushioned by discs. If the disc ruptures there will be pressure on the nerve resulting in back pain.
  • Bulging disc – in much the same as ruptured disc, a bulging disc can result in more pressure on a nerve.
  • Sciatica – a sharp and shooting pain travels through the buttock and down the back of the leg caused by a bulging or herniated disc pressing on a nerve.
  • Abnormal curvature of the spine – if the spine curves in an unusual way, back pain can result. An example is scoliosis in which the spine curves to the side.

Back pain can also result from some everyday activities or poor posture, examples include:

  • twisting
  • over-stretching
  • coughing or sneezing
  • muscle tension
  • bending awkwardly or for long periods
  • pushing, pulling or carrying something
  • standing or sitting for long periods
  • straining the neck forward, such as when driving or using a computer
  • long driving sessions without a break, even when not hunched
  • sleeping on a mattress that does not support the body

Some medication conditions that can cause back pain include but not limited to:

  • Cauda equina syndrome – the cauda equina is a bundle of spinal nerve roots that arise from the lower end of the spinal cord. Symptoms include a dull pain in the lower back and upper buttocks, as well numbness in the buttocks, genitalia & thighs. There are sometimes bladder and bowel function disturbances.
  • Cancer of the spine – a tumor on the spine may press against a nerve resulting in back pain.
  • Infection of the spine – a fever and tender warm area on the back could be due to an infection of the spine.
  • Other infections – pelvic inflammatory disease, bladder or kidney infections may also lead to back pain.
  • Sleep disorders – individuals with sleep disorders are more likely to experience back pain.
  • Shingles – an infection that can affect the nerves may lead to back pain. This depends on which nerves are affected.

The following factors are linked to a higher risk of developing lower back pain:

  • poor physical fitness
  • a sedentary lifestyle
  • pregnancy
  • occupational activities
  • older age
  • obesity and excess weight
  • smoking
  • strenuous physical exercise or work, especially if done incorrectly
  • genetic factors
  • medical conditions such as arthritis and cancer
back pain


Pain in the lower part of the back is the primary symptom of low back pain. Below are the signs:

  • the pain may radiate down the front, side or back of the leg or it may be confined to the lower back,
  • occasionally, the pain may be worse at night or with prolonged sitting such as on a long car trip,
  • the pain become worse with activity,
  • there may be numbness or weakness in the part of the leg that receives its nerve supply from a compressed nerve. This occurs when first sacral nerve is compressed or injured. This can cause inability to plantar flex the foot. This mean a person affected will have inability to stand on toes or bring foot downward,
  • another sign is inability to raise the big toe upward. This results when the fifth lumbar nerve is compromised.


Back pain is a symptom. Common causes of back pain involve disease or injury to the muscles, bones and/or nerves of the spine. Below is the list of possible causes of lower back pain, this list is not inclusive:

  • herniated disc. This develops as spinal discs degenerate or grow thinner. The jellylike central portion of the disc bulges out of the central cavity and pushes against a nerve root. Intervertebral discs in humans begin to degenerate by the third decade of life,
  • nerve root syndromes. These produce symptoms of nerve impingement (this is where a nerve is directly irritated). Sciatica is an example of nerve root impingement. Impingement pain tends to be sharp, affecting a specific area and associated with numbness in the area of the leg that the affected nerve supplies,
  • spondylosis. This occurs as intervertebral discs lose moisture and volume with age which decreases the disc height,
  • cauda equina syndrome. This is a medical emergency whereby the spinal cord is directly compressed. Disc material expands into spinal carnal which compresses the nerve. A person would experience pain, possible loss of sensation and bowel or bladder dysfunction. This could include inability to control urination causing incontinence or the inability to begin urination,
  • fibromyalgia. This results in widespread pain and tenderness throught the body. Generalized stiffness, fatigue and muscle aches are reported,
  • infections of the bones (osteomyelitis) of the spine are an uncommon cause of low back pain,
  • tumors, possibly cancerous, can be a source of skeletal pain,
  • inflammation of nerves from spine can occur with infections of the nerves with the herpes zoster viruses that causes shingles. This can occur in the thoracic area to cause upper back pain or in the lumbar are to cause lower back pain.