Article in brief: the author gives us an overview of lower back pain and ways to overcome it.
In family medicine, one of the most common complaints is lower back pain. People complain of different forms of pain in the back ranging from a mild ache to a sharp stabbing pain which might extend to the thighs and legs.
In order to understand back pain, we have to look at the physical causes of back pain. Our spine is comprised of bone, cartilage (discs), muscles, tendons, blood vessels and nerves. Any ailment in any one of those structures can cause back pain. Bad posture or sudden twists can result in muscle spasms which can be quite painful for some time. A slipped disc can press on a nerve end and result in sharp pain, which can radiate to the thighs (this is also known as sciatica). Calcium and vitamin D deficiencies can also cause back pains and aches.
Once the physical cause has been identified, then various methods can be used to lessen the back pain.
For Bones; calcium and vitamin D supplements can help maintain healthy bones.
When it comes to muscles & ligaments, maintaining a healthy body weight is the first step to ensure the back is not over worked. Secondly, back-strengthening exercises can be done with a physiotherapist, and other alternative options such as acupuncture are beneficial especially if there was nerve involvement.
As for disc prolapse, posture modification can be beneficial, but depending on the extent of the prolapse, surgery might be needed.
Various methods can be used for pain management – mild analgesics such as breathing exercises, yoga or mindfulness can help alleviate the pain. Getting educated on posture and what movements to avoid can also prevent such recurrences.
Psychological factors have been associated with back pain. People with anxiety and depression have been found to have back pains amongst other symptoms. From a mind-body standpoint, lower back pain is often associated with feeling unsupported in life, and this can mean a lack in financial, emotional or spiritual support. If one feels unsupported in life or is fearful of losing a support system, this can cause the energy to shift around the spine in order to alert the person of the importance of being supported in life.
Remembering that we are resourceful on our own beyond imagination, and having faith in our resourcefulness can shift this instantly. Also, having an active healthy lifestyle ensures a healthy flow of energy and aids the healing.
Stay supported and keep moving!
Mariam looks at health from a holistic perspective and believes that our bodies respond to our thought patterns and emotional behaviors. She also believes that health is attainable and that a happy life is a healthy one. Mariam created the concept of "ebb and flow" to reflect how we can deal with the various tides of life by flowing in harmony with our inner wellbeing to achieve health. The column will cover common health topics with an approach to conditions in a mind body spirit framework.