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The anatomic classification of back pain follows the segments of the spine: neck pain (cervical), middle back pain(thoracic), lower back pain (lumbar) or coccydynia (tailbone or sacral pain) with the lumbar vertebrae area most common for pain.

The pain may originate from the muscles, nerves, bones, joints or other structures in the vertebral column (spine).

Back pain is pain felt in the back. The pain may be characterized as a dull ache, shooting or piercing pain, or a burning sensation. The pain may radiate into the arms and hands as well as the legs or feet and may include parasthesia (tingling with no apparent cause), weakness or numbness in the legs and arms.

Causes

Back pain can be caused by any number of factors including lack of physical fitness, incorrectly executed actions or activities, straining of muscles beyond their capacity, wear and tear on joints over time, excessive pressure or lack of correct support. It could at times be referral pain caused by other ailments. Interestingly, contributing factors to lumbar pain can often be visual impairment and/or visual strain.

Always consult your Doctor for a full diagnosis.

Tips for a healthy back

When standing:

  • Keep your head up and stomach pulled in. If you have to stand for long periods of time, rest one foot at a time on a
    small stool.
  • Don’t wear high heels.

When sitting:

  • Use the correct chair for the particular task you are performing. The chair should support your lower back and should swivel. Car seats should also support your lower back – if they don’t, use a lumbar support pillow or a pillow or towel rolled behind the lower back.
  • A mattress that is too soft/too hard may cause backache.

Lifting:

  • Avoid lifting objects that are too heavy.
  • When lifting objects, keep your back straight up and down, your head up and lift with your knees.
    Keep the object close to you and don’t stoop over to lift. To keep your back in balance, tighten
    your stomach muscles.

Pharmacist’s advice

  • Ask your Pharmacist about the range of ergonomic aids available which assist in maintaining correct posture.
  • Have regular exercise after a physical examination and approval by a Doctor. Walking and swimming are examples of gentle exercise which may help to reduce pain, particularly in the joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons of the body.
  • Ask your Pharmacist about non-drug methods of pain relief. If your pain is associated with heat and swelling, a cold pack applied to the area may bring some relief. If the pain is associated with stiffness, applying a heat pack and warming liniment to the area may help to ease the pain.
  • Make sure that you are taking the correct pain relieving medication for the particular pain problem. It is not advisable to continue taking the same pain relief medication without consulting your Doctor or Pharmacist. There may be a more suitable medication for your needs or the dosage of the medication may need to be changed.
  • Ask your Doctor or Pharmacist for advice before increasing the dose of a pain relieving medication.
  • Never take pain relievers which have been prescribed for another person. Not all pain relief tablets are the same. Different pain relievers have different effects, different dose recommendations and are suitable for different sorts of pain. Some types of pain relievers may have side effects which the patient may not be aware of e.g., Non-steroidal Anti inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), should not be taken by people with an allergy to aspirin.
  • Consider taking some supplements if the diet is inadequate. When managing pain the body may require extra nutrients such as B group vitamins. Pain relievers may also increase the need for certain necessary vitamins.