Most back pain disappears spontaneously, although it may take some time. Over-the-counter painkillers and rest can help. However, staying in bed for additional two days can make it not as good as.
The treatment for back pain depends on what is causing it and what type of pain you have. It may include cold or hot compresses, exercise, medications, injections, complementary treatments and, sometimes, surgery.
If the back pain is severe or does not improve after three days, you should call a Spine specialist. You should also look for medical awareness if you have back pain after an injury.
How to define pain in the spine?
Also called spine, the spine is a “bone stem” that supports the entire body. It includes seven cervical vertebrae at the neck, twelve dorsal vertebrae and five lumbar vertebrae located in the lower back.
These vertebrae are mobile, articulated to each other, thanks to inter vertebral discs, which allow the stability and mobility of the joints. Many ligaments and muscles maintain the structure.
Pain affecting the spine is common. They are also called “rachialgies”. They can be isolated or irradiate in a limb. They can be diffuse or much localized.
In the vast majority of cases, they are benign, linked to osteoarthritis of the vertebrae, but it is important to consult your doctor when a pain persists. These pains can be indicative of serious diseases (vascular, infectious or inflammatory).
What are the causes of spinal pain?
In the majority of cases, the spine pains are “common”, that is, benign. They are often the result of osteoarthritis of the vertebral joints or lesions of inter vertebral discs, which wear out with age.
The consultation with the Spine specialist will help to clarify the pain, in particular:
- It’s location (lumbar, cervical, dorsal, etc.)
- It’s character (mechanical, inflammatory, nocturnal, etc.)
- Associated signs (stiffness, deformity, neurological signs, etc.)
An X-ray or MRI may help the doctor to make the diagnosis.
Some signs will particularly hold the Spine specialist attention because they can be associated with serious conditions of the spine. Here are some “red flags” or warning signs to know:
- lumbar pain in a person under 20 years of age or over 55, especially if it is first lumbago or an elderly woman (this may be a vertebral collapse due to a fracture caused by osteoporosis)
- presence of fever
- pain following violent trauma
- insidious installation pain, without triggering factor, or worsening (inflammatory, tumoral, infectious lesion)
- neurological signs
- associated chest pain
- pain radiating in one of the thighs (sciatica, herniated disc)
What are the consequences of pain in the spine?
Back pain can be very debilitating, even when it is benign. They alone are responsible for 10 to 20% of work stoppages in Europe.
It is therefore crucial not to let such pains hang around, and to quickly take the necessary steps to find the cause and mitigate them.
What are the solutions for spinal pain?
Everything obviously depends on the cause. In case of common acute pain, not serious, it is important not to stop too long. It is indeed proven that prolonged rest, especially in bed, aggravates the pain instead of relieving it.
In the case of an acute crisis, symptomatic management, intended to relieve pain (painkillers of various categories), allows the resumption of normal activity as quickly as possible.
The analgesic treatment must be short-term and you should not hesitate to see your doctor if the pain persists beyond 4 to 7 days of treatment.
For chronic pain, spinal manipulation and osteopathy can be effective. Bodybuilding exercises, supervised by a Spine specialist or physiotherapist, can also be beneficial. Activities such as yoga, swimming or aqua gym can also bring relief.