Understanding and managing back pain

Understanding and managing back pain

Back pain is one of the most common types of physical discomfort that affects most people at some point in their life. It can occur due to injury, activity, or some medical conditions, and can affect people of any age, for a variety of reasons.

A person suffering from acute backache may experience pain from a few days to a few weeks. If the pain persists for more than three months, it is chronic and requires the attention of a doctor.


The most common cause of back pain is muscle strains, poor posture, and medical conditions. However, sometimes the pain can also develop without a cause and can only be diagnosed by a doctor. Listed below are some of the causes of back pain:

  • Muscle strain

Strain in the muscle mostly occurs while incorrectly lifting heavy objects or making sudden abrupt movements. It can also result from overactivity, such as playing a sport or working out for a longer time.

  • Movement and posture
    Back pain can often be the result of poor posture or some everyday activity conducted improperly. These can include over-stretching, muscle tension, twisting, bending awkwardly for long periods, or sleeping on a mattress wherein the person’s spine does not remain straight.
  • Bulging and ruptured disks

Disk injuries are other common causes of back pain. Disks are the cushions between bones (vertebrae) in your spine. Sometimes these disks can rupture, bulge or herniate, thus leading to increased pressure on the nerves.

  • Arthritis

Osteoarthritis is caused by damage and deterioration in the cartilage of joints in the lower back. If left untreated, the condition can lead to narrowing of the spinal column, or spinal stenosis.

  • Osteoporosis
    Osteoporosis is a condition wherein bones become brittle and weak, which can lead to small fractures in the vertebrae. These fractures, also known as compression fractures, can cause severe pain.

Risk factors

The following factors might put you at a greater risk of developing back pain:

  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Older age
  • Obesity or excess weight
  • Smoking
  • Strenuous exercises or work
  • Medical conditions, such as arthritis and cancer

Signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms of back pain include:

  • Pain in the lower or upper back
  • Sharp pain all the way down to the leg
  • Pain that worsens as a person bends, lifts, stands, or walks
  • Inability to stand straight without pain
  • Inflammation or swelling on the back

Types of back pain

  • Upper back pain

The upper back is the area between the base of the neck and the bottom of the ribcage, also known as the thoracic spine. Pain in the upper back is generally caused by poor posture, muscle strain, or injury. Although not as common as lower back pain, upper back pain can be just as physically taxing.

  • Lower back pain

The lower back pain is the most common type of back pain among adults. It can result from injuries, such as muscle sprains, or muscle strain due to quick movements or while lifting heavy objects.

Home treatment for back pain

Fortunately, there are several home remedies through which an individual can try to find relief from back pain.

  • Get the muscles moving

To keep the back muscles flexible and strong, the individual can indulge in strength training exercises and stretching. Regular exercise loosens the tense muscle and prevents future episodes of back pain due to tight muscles.

  • Apply heat and cold
    Ice packs are extremely beneficial when a person uses them immediately after the muscle strain. The cold sensation also provides a numbing sensation in case of intense back pain. It is not recommended to apply the ice for more than 20 minutes continuously. A heating pad can help relieve stiff or achy muscles. The individual can also use a hot bottle if the heating pad is unavailable.
  • Apply a pain-relief cream
    Several pain-relief creams are available in the pharmacies that can provide some relief from back pain. They are most effective when applied immediately after the injury.

Best mattresses for back pain

It is important to invest in a good mattress that provides comfort to the body and supports the spine to help alleviate back pain. Here are a few options to choose from to relieve back pain:

  • Helix

Helix mattresses are entirely customizable. The customer can create a mattress that provides excellent support to the back and is comfortable. The price of this mattress starts from $995 online. One can also avail discounts while purchasing the product.

  • Layla Sleep

The four-layered support foam of Layla Sleep’s mattress is aimed at keeping your back straight and ensuring that you’re not sinking when asleep. Layla Sleep’s copper-infused memory foam offers a much cooler sleeping experience; so the mattress won’t get too hot during the night. You can purchase this mattress for $849 online.

  • Allswell Home

The Allswell mattress is particularly great for medium-sized beds. It is the ideal choice for people who sleep on their back. Layers in an Allswell mattress are combined with a layer of wrapped coils, a luxe cooling exterior, and a built-in plush topper, which offers soft and firm support to the back. The price of this mattress starts from $265 online.

This article is for information purposes only. Always consult and seek the advice of your physician/licensed healthcare professional with any questions regarding a medical condition or medication.