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Back Pain Can Stop You Cold!

When you wake up in the morning, there it is: the beginnings of pain around your shoulders and on your lower back. You get up, stretch, and think it is just a crick that will go away. You sit on your desk to work, and you can’t seem to find a comfortable position. You knead and knead your shoulders, but it only provides just about 10 seconds of relief. You go back to bed that night—more sore and in more pain than in the morning.
Does this sound familiar? Everyone is familiar with back pain—an ache that can disrupt your normal daily routine. Some will have minor pains that will last for hours, while some will have almost unbearable pain that can stretch on for days, weeks or even months. It can affect your work, the way you walk, your social activities, and even rob you of sleep from trying to get the right position at night. If you have problems with back pain, you should know that there are millions of other Americans suffering out there with you. In fact, back pain is one of the most common complaints to doctors and it’s also one of the most common reasons why people skip work. You could just imagine since sitting all day in a desk can aggravate the condition further.

Common symptoms of back pain include muscle ache, inability to stand straight, limited range of motion around the shoulders and the back, a shooting pain around the area and pain that seems to radiate down the legs. Back pain is rarely a serious case, but the help of a doctor must be sought if the pain lasts for months, when it is constant and intense, if the pain spreads below the knee, is causing bladder or bowel problems, is causing fever or weight loss, and if the back pain is caused by a fall or an accident.

Most commonly, back pain is caused by strains. It could be caused by strain in the muscles or ligaments or can be triggered by the improper lifting of a heavy object or a sudden awkward movement. In rarer, more serious cases, it could be caused by ruptured spinal disks, a condition called sciatica, arthritis, irregularities in the spine, or osteoporosis. Risk factors for having back pain includes smoking, age (the older you are the more likely you are to suffer from back pains), gender (women suffer from back pain more than men due to the changes in hormones), obesity (the added weight puts strain the spine), physically demanding work, sedentary job, stress anxiety and depression.

Most of the time, the solution to back pain is to take pain relievers. In most cases, over the counter pain medications would do, such as acetaminophen, NSAIDs like ibuprofen, or naproxen. Muscle relaxants may also be prescribed for those that still have persistent pain even after taking pain medications. You can also seek the help of a physical therapist or a chiropractor to help address the issue.

Home treatments include applying a hot water bottle on the area affected or soaking in a tub with warm water. You can also try running warm water over your back for about 10 minutes to loosen the muscles up. Sometimes, a light massage by a skilled therapist can help alleviate back pain, with the help of ointments and liniments designed to help ease muscle pain. Sometimes, the bed can be the culprit too so try and evaluate if your bed and pillows might be contributing to your back pain. If you constantly wake up in the morning feeling sore—it might be time for a new, back friendly mattress and pillows.