Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Most backaches begin while bending forward to pick up something from the floor. The pain usually comes on suddenly without warning, and it may be very difficult to straighten up to a standing position again. In most cases it is felt either in the middle of the back or lower down on one side. If a spinal disc is involved, the pain may extend down the thigh and leg along the sciatic nerve on that side.

The most common cause of backache may be due to decrease in exercise that makes the muscles of the back strong and healthy. Flabby muscles then produce a wobbly spine, followed by pain, spasm and misery especially if a disc is ruptured.

Weakened muscles and damaged discs are not the only causes of low back pain. Other causes are menstruation, pregnancy, female disorders, kidney and bladder conditions, as well as rectal and prostatic diseases. Usually these bring little or no pain on moving the back.

Arthritis of the spine is another common cause of low back pain. Fractures of the spine often result in severe back pain. A qualified surgeon who can prescribe any appliances or supports that may be needed should treat such conditions.

A sprained back is the result of a bending or overextension of a joint beyond its capacity. Any unexpected twisting of the body, such as in car accident, may cause a badly sprained back. But merely bending over to pick up one’s shoes may also produce a sudden pain in the middle of the back, making it difficult to straighten up again. All movements must then be restricted to prevent further pain.

Regular exercise is important. As soon as the pain begins to decrease, the patient should lie on the floor with his hands behind the neck and raise the legs high in the air. First one at a time, then together. Repeat this a dozen times each morning and night. Careful bending from side to side and also rotating the upper part of the body while holding the lower part steady will help to strengthen the back and keep the muscles strong and healthy. At the same time it will restore tone to all tendons, ligaments and joints.

Another condition known as osteoporosis, or thinning of the bones, is often seen in elderly people. This may cause collapse and wedging of one or more of vertebrae, due to the weakening of the bones, which often occurs in the later years of life. Such conditions need careful medical management to prevent further deformity and pain. They should be given a good diet, including sufficient amount of protein and calcium to restore the tissues of the bones.

Neck pain that arises from long hours at the desk or by driving car for long can be relieved by certain neck exercises. These include rotating the head clockwise and anticlockwise, allowing the head to drop forward and backward as far as possible and turning the head to the right and left as far as possible several times. These exercises help to loosen up contracted neck muscles, which may restrict the blood supply to the head.

The diet of those suffering from backache should consist of a salad of raw vegetables such as tomato, carrot, cabbage, cucumber, radish, lettuce and at least two steamed or lightly cooked vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage, carrot, spinach and plenty of fruits, all except bananas.

The patient should avoid fatty, spicy, and fried foods; curd, sweetmeats and sugar; condiments; and tea and coffee.

Most backaches could be avoided following a few simple rules:

A: Lift with legs, not the back. Bend your knees when you wish to pick up something heavy. Keep the back straight.

B: Avoid overexertion. A person who is not accustomed to heavy lifting should not try to carry too much at a time.

C: Exercise regularly. Don’t overdo a good thing like exercise. Taking

a moderate amount regularly will do more good than strenuous exercise on rare occasions.

D: Change your position frequently. Avoid cramped sitting positions that bring

on fatigue. Move around. Keep flexible. If you do have back trouble, do not worry. With proper treatment your back will soon be better.


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