Back Pain – Dr Maureen Ona-Igbru


Back pain: Most adults experience back pain at some point, but the back is so complex every person needs individual treatment options. Inactivity and the wrong sort of movement are usually at the root of simple back pain. Sometimes a pain may develop immediately after you lift something heavy, or after an awkward twisting movement. Sometimes it can develop for no apparent reason. Some people just wake up one day with low back pain.


Awkward movements and bad posture cause musculoskeletal disorders that affect the full length of the spine, from the neck to lower back, as well as the shoulders, arms and fingers. The muscles and ligaments supporting the spine become traumatised, bruised or inflamed. Most lower back pain doesn’t result from injury to the bones of the spine, but from the strain and pressure put on the tissues whose job it is to support the spine.


What’s right and wrong for you will depend on the cause and severity of your lower back pain. There are a number of things you can do to help relieve low back pain.
Stay active and continue your daily activities as normally as you can. Bed rest may actually make low back pain worse, so try to limit the time you spend resting to a minimum. Apply hot or cold packs to the affected area.

You can buy specially designed hot and cold packs from most pharmacies. If you prefer, you can apply a cold compress, such as ice or a bag of frozen peas, wrapped in a towel.

Don’t apply ice directly to your skin as it can damage your skin.
A physiotherapist (a health professional who specialises in maintaining and improving movement and mobility) may be able to help you design a programme to help you exercise and stretch. Alternatively, you could try a pain-management programme to help you better deal with and manage your symptoms. Taking an over-the-counter painkiller (such as aspirin or paracetamol) or anti-inflammatory medicine (such as ibuprofen) is often enough to relieve acute low back pain. You can also use creams, lotions and gels that contain painkillers or anti-inflammatory ingredients. See your doctor if the pain persists for longer than 3 to 6 weeks.

The above write up is published on our site courtesy of Dr. Maureen Ona-Igbru.

Dr Maureen is a medical doctor with many years in practice and has an undying passion for dissemination of health knowledge to the public. One striking feature that cuts across all her articles is the ability to present a complex medical condition in an easy to understand manner for the readers.

N.B. Illustrations added by site admin

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