Let us crush a common misconception: back pain is not something you will only experience when you get older. If truth be told, back pain is one of the most prevalent health concerns people face around the world.
Some statistics even indicate that over 30 million Americans suffer from back pain each year and over 540 million people around the world are directly effected by episodes of back pain. 5% of these people will develop chronic back pain and the cost of back pain in the US is estimated to be in excess of $635 billion each year!
Early evidence suggests that the prevalence of varying types of back pain is increasing amongst the worlds population with women aged 45-65 being the most likely to suffer from back pain. Statistics have shown that 7.5% of the worlds population will suffer from lower-back pain at one point in their lives and that back pain in general is one of the most common reasons why people miss work.
What is clear, by reviewing the statistics thrown about, ‘back pain’ is a worldwide problem and looking for ways to support the population is vital.
The most commonly adopted form of pain therapy for back pain are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). As these drugs are not recommended for continuous long-term use many therapies and pain relief products are available on the market which target inflammation and in turn reduce pain levels.
Therapies such as acupuncture, massage, advanced magnetic therapy and other nonsurgical treatments are now widely adopted around the world, often used as a complementary form of treatment to alleviate back pain. As with all types of pain, inflammation and helping to reduce inflammation is key.
In this article we look at ten of the most common spine issues and how you can manage them:
Spondylolisthesis is a spinal condition which directly leads to lower-back pain.
The spine's vertebrae are kept in specific positions. The condition known as spondylolisthesis develops when one vertebra slides forward and over the vertebra below it. When the spinal cord is squeezed or damaged, patients suffering from the condition can experience severe lower back pain.
Other symptoms include difficulty walking, losing bladder control, and losing feeling in the limbs. Symptoms are typically managed through weight loss, core strengthening exercises, pain medications, and physical therapy. However, severe cases of spondylolisthesis will require surgery.
Many people think arthritis only affects the hands and the limbs. However, arthritis or inflammation of the joints can affect different areas of the body. It can also lead to spine issues in some cases.
When the cartilage in the spine deteriorates, it causes pain and inflammation. It can also result in nerve damage and bone spurs. Exercise, acupuncture, maintaining a healthy weight, and massage have all known to help manage the symptoms of the condition.
Advancements in magnetic therapy have seen an increase in sufferers looking at magnetic therapy as a tool to aid them on their daily pain relief program, with products such as YOU StreamZ® magnetic wristbands providing a highly acclaimed and long term option. These technologies target inflammation within the joint helping to reduce pain levels.
03. Spinal Myelopathy
Spinal myelopathy occurs when the spinal cord becomes damaged secondary to degeneration. As you age, your spine and back components can become weaker and change. In some cases, it can lead to spinal damage.
Some of the most common symptoms of spinal myelopathy include muscle weakness, numbness of the feet and hands, tingling, and loss of balance. Surgery can help prevent the worsening and progression of the symptoms.
04. Compression Fracture
Hairline fractures and cracks can occur in the vertebrae when your bones weaken due to age. If there are cracks in the spine, it can result in a collapsed vertebra. This condition is most commonly known as a compression fracture.
Often, compression fracture occurs because of osteoporosis. However, you can also be at risk if you smoke, are a woman over 50 years old, or have bone cancer. Pain medications and therapies such as physical therapy are widely used to manage the condition.
Your sciatic nerve runs from your lower back to your leg. Sciatica is characterised by numbness, pain, and weakness in the lower back that radiates down your leg. The condition is caused by damage to the sciatic nerve.
The nerve damage can be attributed to a bone spur, a herniated disc, or a narrowing spine that compresses the nerve. Steroid injections, physical therapy and various pain relievers are the most common methods used to manage the condition. If caught early then osteopathic treatment has shown to be effective.
Working with a chiropractor might also be recommended to help manage sciatica discomfort and pain. It is also possible that your doctor will prescribe advanced magnetic therapeutic products, muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatories, and pain relievers to help manage the symptoms.
This condition is one of the most prevalent spine issues in older adults. Essentially, osteoporosis refers to weakened bones secondary to lower bone mass. Weakened bones in your spine can become damaged and brittle, leading to a hunched posture, fracture, and a collapsed vertebra.
It can be difficult to tell if the bones have become weak because no symptoms will manifest until they have become osteoporotic. You can avoid this condition from developing by eating a diet filled with vitamin D and calcium. Running, walking, and lifting weights can also help improve your posture, balance, and bone health.
Whiplash is an injury to the neck caused by the drastic motion of the head or jerking, commonly found after road traffic accidents. The awkward and sudden movement can strain the neck muscles and cause injury. It can also damage the disc, intervertebral joints, and the ligaments found in the neck.
While most people won't feel any immediate symptoms after the trauma, some symptoms might begin to manifest within 24 hours. Some of the most common symptoms of the condition include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Neck pain
- Lower back pain
- Stiff neck
Pain caused by whiplash is most commonly treated with pain relievers and medications. Icing can also help alleviate the pain in the first 24 hours after the trauma aimed at reducing inflammation. Other treatment options for whiplash include heating pads, magnetic therapy, various types of massage, and physical therapies such as physiotherapy and acupuncture.
08. Muscle Strains
Stress, overuse, and bad posture can cause the muscles around the spine to become tense and strained. This can also cause tightness and pain throughout your back and neck. The back muscles can also be strengthened by maintaining a healthy weight and exercising. Stretching before doing a physical activity can also help prevent strain and many now look at various products to support their ongoing recovery.
Scoliosis refers to the abnormal curvature or bending of the spine. At least 9 million Americans have scoliosis and it is thought that 2-3% of the worlds population are effected by scoliosis. The condition often manifests during adolescence or childhood (around 10-15 years old). One of the common symptoms of scoliosis is back pain. Other prevalent symptoms can include:
- Head not centered above the pelvis
- Uneven shoulders
- Rib cages are not the same height
- Body leaning to one side
Treatment for scoliosis can vary depending on the age of the patient and the severity of the condition. Some treatment options include physical therapy, bracing, and surgery.
10. Herniated Disc
Your spine is made up of bones known as the vertebrae. Discs will function as cushions between each bone. While some herniated discs will not show any symptoms, they can interfere with the nerves found in the spine. When this happens, several symptoms can manifest, including:
- Muscle weakness
- Back pain
- Pain in the legs and arms
Often, a herniated disc develops in the lower back. However, they can occur in the upper back as well. You should see a doctor if you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above. You can lower your risk of disc herniation by exercising, keeping a good posture throughout the day, and maintaining a healthy weight.
Severe back pain is a serious condition that can incapacitate you for days, weeks, months, and even years. Get in touch with your doctor immediately if you experience severe back pain or back pain that simply won't go away.
Physical Therapy is considered one of the most effective solutions to back pain. However, when the back pain is caused by an underlying spine problem such as disc pathology, disc bulge, or disc herniation, minimally invasive treatment options are now available.
One of the latest treatments provided by qualified spine specialists is MicroTube Spine Surgery which allows surgeons to reduce back pain with minimal discomfort to the patient.
For those of you who do not require surgery and are looking to support yourself with a holistic approach, YOU StreamZ advanced magnetic wristbands by StreamZ Global can provide that ongoing care you are looking for and can be used in conjunction with all other treatments and therapies.
About the author
Dr. Mohamed M. Abdulhamid is a neurosurgeon and the Founding Director and CEO of Royal Spine Surgery in Phoenix, Arizona. He is certified in total cervical disc replacement, or artificial disc replacement, in minimally invasive procedures, minimally invasive discectomy, and in intra-operative navigation and image-guided surgery.