back pain


(1) Cold and heat. These two methods are still the cornerstone of relieving pain for certain kinds of injuries.

(2) Physical therapy and occupational therapy. Physical therapists guide you through a series of exercises designed to preserve or improve your strength and mobility. Occupational therapists help you learn to perform a range of daily activities in a way that doesn’t aggravate your pain.

(3) Mind-body techniques. These techniques include meditation, mindfulness, and breathing exercises (among many others). They help you restore a sense of control over your body and turn down the “fight or flight” response, which can worsen chronic muscle tension and pain.

(4) Exercise. Examples can be gentle aerobic activities such as walking, swimming, or cycling.

(5) Music therapy. Listening to any kind of music can distract from pain or discomfort.

(6) Therapeutic massage. Massage can ease pain by working tension out of muscles and joints, relieving stress and anxiety, and possibly helping to distract you from pain.

(7) Yoga and tai chi. These two exercise practices incorporate breath control, meditation, and gentle movements to stretch and strengthen muscles.

back pain


(1) Non-specific lower back pain
(2) Sciatica
(3) More serious spinal problems (Red Flags)


This is the most common type of back pain. It is not always possible to diagnose the exact cause of pain in most people which is why the term non-specific low back pain is used.


Sciatica most commonly occurs when a herniated disc, bone spur on the spine or narrowing of the spine (spinal stenosis) compresses part of the nerve. This causes inflammation, pain and often some numbness in the affected leg.


Red flags require urgent medical attention. If you have some of these signs or symptoms listed below, it is important that you alert your GP or another medical professional immediately:

  • Loss of power in both legs
  • Fever or feeling unwell together with back pain
  • History of trauma to the back
  • Numbness/tingling around genitals or buttocks area
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Difficulty passing urine or having no sensation to pass urine
back pain


Pain affecting the back often restrict movement. The pain usually lasts for only a week or so but can recur in some people.

Back pain is usually caused by minor damage to the ligaments and muscles in the back because muscles and ligaments supports most of the body’s weight from movements such as bending, twisting and stretching. Less commonly, lower back pain may result from an underlying disorder such as prolapsed intervertebral disc in the spine.

Investigations for back pain, such as x-rays, CT scan or MRI sometimes reveal abnormalities such as disc prolapse that may require surgical treatment.

In most cases, back pain can be treated with over-the-counter painkillers, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or muscle-relaxant drugs. Other treatments include acupuncture, spinal injection, exercise or spinal manipulation.

back pain


Below are some of the positions that help ease back pain:

  • Lie on your back with a pillow or two under your knees.
  • Lie flat on your front. If this position is too painful, try again with one or two pillows under your hips. As your pain eases, remove the pillows so that you are completely flat.
  • Lie on your side with a pillow between your knees. Sometimes a rolled-up towel around your waist also helps.
  • Sitting is often very uncomfortable so it is best to only sit for short periods. If you have to sit it may help to sit on an upright chair with a small rolled towel placed between your lower back and the chair.
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