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What may be causing back pain and how to relieve the symptoms

The main causes of back pain may include spine problems, pneumonia or kidney stones, and to differentiate the cause one should verify the pain characteristics and what region of the back that is affected.

Usually back pain is of muscular origin and arises due to tiredness, lifting weights or poor posture, and can be solved with simple measures like hot patches and stretching exercises.

However, if the pain comes on suddenly; if the back pain is very strong or if there are other associated symptoms such as fever or difficulty moving around it is advised to go to the doctor to be examined and given the necessary treatment.

Muscular cause for back pain
Muscular cause for back pain

Types of back pain

The 7 main types of back pain are:

1. Back pain on the left or right side

  • Cause: The a pain is usually felt in the form of weight that indicates the presence of a muscle injury, especially after the gym, for example. In addition, back pain can also be caused by demanding professions for the back as is the case with dentists or gardener's, for example. 
  • How to relieve: Put a warm patch on the area for 15 minutes, twice a day for at least 3 to 4 days and apply an anti-inflammatory ointment, such as Cataflam or Traumeel S, for example.

2. Back pain when breathing

  • Cause: It may be related to the lungs when there is a feeling of shortness of breath, especially when there has been a respiratory illness in recent times or if you are bedridden.
  • How to relieve: Apply a warm patch in the area, but it is best to seek a pneumologist if there are other symptoms of respiratory problems, such as cough, catarrh or fever.

3. Back pain and kidneys

  • Cause: usually it is a sign of renal colic, being related to the presence of kidney stones that results in a very severe pain that prevents the patient from walking or moving, for example. See more about this type of pain in symptoms of kidney stones.
  • How to relieve: The pain should be treated as soon as possible in the emergency room.
What may be causing back pain and how to relieve the symptoms

4. Back pain radiating to the legs

  • Cause: It can be caused by the sciatic nerve squeezing the end of the spine or buttocks, when it causes stabbing pain with tingling sensation or difficulty sitting or walking, and may indicate parrot beaks (radial). If you think you may have the sciatic nerve affected, answer the following questions:

  1. 1. Tingling pain, numbness or spinal shock, gluteal, leg or sole of the foot.
  2. 2. Burning sensation, cracked or tired leg.
  3. 3. Weakness in one or both legs.
  4. 4. Pain that gets worse by standing too long.
  5. 5. Difficulty walking or staying too long in the same position.
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  • How to relieve: what is recommended to do in these cases is to seek an orthopedist so that he can request tests, such as resonance, and indicate the best treatment.

5. Back pain with tightness in the chest

  • Cause: When the pain gets worse with physical exertion and there is discomfort or nausea it can be a sign of a heart attack, especially if the individual is overweight, has high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
  • How to relieve: Call for medical help by calling 999 as soon as possible.

In addition, the onset of back pain in pregnancy is also very common, especially in the last months of pregnancy due to the weight put on.

6. Pain in the middle of the back

  • Cause: Muscle contracture or spinal problems, including herniated disc, that affects people over 45 years of age. The pain may worsen when you lift or stay too long in the same position, and may even radiate to the side, ribs or down, affecting the buttocks or legs.
  • How to relieve: You can put a warm patch on your back and avoid staying too long in the same position. You can also go to the orthopedist for him to request an X-ray or Resonance exam, so as to indicate the best treatment, which may include physiotherapy.

7. Pain in the upper back

  • Cause: It can be muscle contraction, due to tiredness, excess of physical activity or torticollis, but in this case there must also be pain in the neck.
  • How to relieve: Stretching exercises are a great help to stretch your muscles and feel more relaxed. Staying in a comfortable position and turning your head slowly to all sides can help you relax the muscles at the top.

How to relieve back pain

Here are some ways you can relieve back pain at home before your doctor's appointment:

  1. Rest: lie on the floor or on a hard mattress for half an hour, every day;
  2. Warm patches: Place a warm patch with 3 drops of rosemary essential oil just over the area you feel pain for 15 minutes a day;
  3. Receive a massage: with warm almond oil, but without forcing too much;
  4. Homeopathy: ingestion of homeopathic remedies, such as Natrum muriaticum, Bryonia or Pulsatilla prescribed by the doctor to treat inflammations in the back;
  5. Pilates exercises: help strengthen the muscles of the back and abdominal area, fighting the cause of the pain. Here are 5 exercises you can do at home to feel better.

It is important to follow some advice, such as adopting good posture in the day to day to protect the spine and exercise regularly. Bodybuilding is a good exercise to improve posture, decreasing pain. 

When to go to the doctor

It is advisable to seek a general practitioner when the back pain is very strong, appears suddenly or is accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea or shortness of breath.

In these cases, it is recommended to consult a general practitioner for tests, identify the cause and initiate the most appropriate treatment, which may include the use of painkillers such as Paracetamol, anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen, or surgery to treat problems in the case of herniated discs.

During the consultation it is important to tell the doctor the characteristics of your pain, when it started, whether it hurts all the time or only when you make certain movements, and also what you have done to try to relieve the pain. It may be helpful to tell the doctor if you are sedentary and what your job is. By knowing these details the doctor can make the diagnosis.

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