文章使用中英對照 Article is in both Chinese & English
許多疾病及其他的情况都會引致背痛。 導致背痛的原因可能是背脊骨有問題, 或身體其他部位有問題而引致背痛 。很多時醫生都找不到背痛的起因。
背痛的症狀有很多樣化,包括發燒, 最近創傷, 背部受損, 減磅, 因有癌症歷史而擴散到脊骨, 腦神経線症狀, 如痲痺, 手腳軟弱, 或更嚴重的情況會使到失禁 。 由於背痛會引發其他不適的症狀,可幫助知道背痛的起因, 例如:-
多過百份之九十有背痛的人都會經過内科治療而復元。只有小部份, 百份之五有背痛的人有其他的症狀維持多過12個星期, 很多時不很嚴重。 若慢性背痛沒有新或急性症狀, 而又可做日常運作, 而沒有很大痛楚, 許多人都可忍受的。
保持健康的脊骨須要時常有良好的姿勢,日常多做些強健肌肉的運動, 進食健康飲食去預防骨質疏鬆症, 不吸煙, 飲着量的酒, 保持健康體重,可幫助防止有背痛。
Back pain can be a symptom of many different illnesses and conditions.
The main cause of the pain can be a problem with the back itself or by a problem in another part of the body. In many cases, doctors cannot find the cause for the pain.
-Stress or injury involving back muscles, including back sprain or strain; chronic overload of back muscles caused by obesity; short term overload of back muscles caused by any unusual stress, such as lifting or pregnancy.
-Disease or injury involving the back bones (vertebrae), including fracture from an accident or as a result of the osteoporosis.
-Degenerative diseases and arthritis, a “wear and tear” process that maybe related to aging, injury and genetic disposition.
-Disease or injury involving the spinal nerves, including nerve injury caused by a protruding disk (fibrous cushion between vertebrae) or spinal stenosis (a narrowing of the spinal column).
-Kidney stones or a kidney infection (pyelonephritis).
-Inflammatory arthritis, including ankylosing spondylitis and related conditions.
-Infection, which may be in the disk space, bone (osteomyelitis), abdomen, pelvis or bloodstream, and abscess in the spine. These are more acute situations, and needs immediate medical attention.
Back pain symptoms varies, this may include fever, recent trauma, injury to back, weight loss, a history of cancer with metastasis to the spine, neurological symptoms such as numbness, weakness of arms or legs, or more severe condition can cause incontinence.
Back pain usually is accompanied by other symptoms that may help to pinpoint to its cause, for example:-
1. Back sprain or strain
-After heavy exertion; lifting, pushing and pulling.
-Muscles in the back, buttocks and thighs are often sore and stiff. Back muscles maybe tender to touch.
2. Degenerative arthritis of the spine
-Besides back pain, there is stiffness and trouble bending over, which usually develops over many years.
3. Protruding disk (Herniated disk)
-The bulging or herniated disk compress on the spinal nerve causing severe back pain. Pain gets worse during bending and twisting, pain may spread down to one leg.
-The spinal bones got thinned and weakened and easily get fractured. Most commonly happened in postmenopausal women or elderly women. It can also happen in elderly men with osteoporosis. When there is compressed fracture of the mid and lower spine, people may have a crooked back and stooped over together with back pain. Osteoporosis does not cause back pain, unless there is a bone fracture in the spine.
-Cancer in the spinal bones or nearby structures may cause back pain. It is consistent and may become worse when lying down. Numbness, weakness or tingling of the legs that continues to get worse. If the cancer spreads to the spinal nerves that control the bladder and bowels, there may be bowel or bladder incontinent.
-Besides back pain, one will experience stiffness in the trunk, neck, shoulders, knees and elbows. Pain maybe generalized soreness, and stiffness is often worse in the morning. People usually complain of feeling abnormally tired even after a good night sleep, and there are specific areas that are painful to touch, called tender points.
7. Inflammatory arthritis
-It includes ankylosing spondylitis and related conditions. There is pain in the lower back, with morning stiffness in the back, hips or both. Also can have pain and stiffness in the neck or chest and feeling extreme tired.
1. Medical history and description of symptoms.
2. Physical exam-your doctor check on your back muscle and spine, move you in certain ways to check for pain, muscle tenderness, or weakness, stiffness, numbness or any abnormal reflexes.
3. Your doctor will determine your back pain is serious or not, or the causes are by muscle strain, obesity, pregnant or any other causes are not urgent, then you may not need any tests. However if your doctor suspects serious problem involving your vertebrae or spinal nerves or you have an acute injury e.g. car accidents, falls, or any accidents, and if your back pain lasted longer than 12 weeks with no improvements after initial home remedy treatment, you may need one or more of the following tests:-
1. X-rays of your spine.
2. Blood tests.
3. Urine test.
4. Spinal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
5. Computed tomography (CT) scan.
6. Nerve conduction studies and electromyography to determine whether nerves, muscle or both maybe injured.
7. Bone scan, especially if you have previous history of cancer, to rule out metastasis to the spine.
It depends on the causes:-
-Strain from over exertion, days or weeks, less than 6-12 weeks and you may be able to return to gradual normal activities. During this time, you should avoid heavy lifting, prolonged sitting or sudden bending or twisting until your back pain gets better or resolved.
-Pregnant women’s back pain almost always will get better after delivery.
-Obese individuals may need to lose weight before back pain eases.
-When pyelonephritis or kidney stones causing back pain, once starting antibiotics for one to two weeks for kidney infection and when kidney stones passed out of the body, medically or surgically, back pain will resolve in one or two days.
-More serious spinal vertebral problems affecting the bones and nerves, back pain may last for months or years.
-Do back strengthening exercise daily- but remember to do stretching before and after.
-Prevent any activities that may injure your back.
-Maintain a good posture, sitting and standing at all times.
-Sleeping on your side, with a pillow between knees, or lying flat on back with a pillow under your knees if you can, to relax your back while sleeping.
-Practicing abdominal crunches to strengthen abdominal muscles, which support your lower back. Walk or swim regularly to strengthen your lower back.
- Learn to lift objects from a squatting position, using your hips and your legs to do heavy work. Avoid bending and twisting your back to lift any objects from the floor.
-Avoid sitting or standing and bending your neck and back for extended period of time.
- Wear soft sole shoes with heels less than 1 and one-half inches high. Women avoid wearing high heels for extended time.
- Prevent osteoporosis by getting enough calcium, Vit.D, avoid smoking and moderate consumption of alcohol, and do regular exercises and get enough sunshine.
Most episodes of back pain are not serious and may be treated with:-
-Limited bed rest (no more than 2 days)
-Acetaminophen (Tylenol and others) for pain or any oral anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin and others) or Naproxen(Aleve, Naprosyn), for pain and inflammation.
-Muscle relaxants or prescription pain relievers (may be more stronger ) if necessary for a short period of time.
- Hot compresses, massage therapy, acupuncture, chiropractor’s treatment, and acupressure may help.
-Return to normal activities gradually and avoid heavy lifting, prolonged sitting or sudden bending and twisting temporarily.
-Chronic back pain(more than 12 weeks) can try practising Tai Chi or Yoga exercise.
-Chronic back pain maybe due to psychological problem, like depression-may need to consult psychiatrist for assessment.
-If your back pain is related to more serious disorders of the vertebrae or spinal nerves, or it has not improved over a few weeks, you may need to consult a neurologist, orthopedic surgeon, rheumatologist, endocrinologist, and pain specialist, and if you have cancer history, refer to the oncologist.
When to call a professional?
Contact your doctor if:-
-Severe back pain hinders you to perform normal daily activities.
-You have a fall, auto accident or acute trauma of any kind to your back.
-Mild back pain gets worse after a few days or persists more than a week or two.
-Back pain is accompanied by weight loss, fever, chills or urinary symptoms, like burning on urination.
-You develop sudden weakness, numbness or tingling in your upper or lower extremities.
-You develop numbness in the groin or rectum or difficulty controlling bladder or bowel functions.
-You have had cancer history and you develop persistent back pain not related to any acute injury or trauma.
More than 90% of people with back pain get better after conservative medical treatment. Only 5% of people with back pain will have symptoms for more than 12 weeks and for most of these people the cause is not serious. As long as chronic back pain has no new or acute symptoms, and one can perform daily activities with no distress, many can live with it.
Maintaining a healthy spine needs constant good posture, regular back strengthening exercise, eat a healthy diet to prevent osteoporosis, no smoking, and limit alcohol consumption, maintain a desired healthy body weight, you will help to have a healthy spine without back pain.
Prevention is better than cure