What is Chronic Back Pain?
Chronic back pain is the pain in the back that lasts for 12 weeks or more. There is a constant dull ache or sharp, shooting pain. Usually, chronic back pain lasts for a year. About 10% of back pain cases are of chronic back pain. Chronic back pain typically starts in the age group of 30 to 50. Being physically not so active, leading a sedentary lifestyle, being obese or overweight, having a habitual incorrect posture, and weak core muscles are some of the risk factors predisposing one to chronic back pain.
Chronic back pain also causes psychological stress like anxiety, anger, and depression. So, progressive muscle relaxation and stress reduction are crucial in managing chronic back pain.
Causes of Chronic Back pain–
- Degenerative diseases of the spine like herniated disc and spinal stenosis.
- There is a spongy cushion-like structure between the vertebra, called disc. The function of the disc is to absorb the pressure on the vertebral bones. Due to wear and tear changes over time, the disc sometimes bulges out and presses the surrounding nerves. It is known as Herniated Discs.
- In Spinal Stenosis, there is a narrowing of the spinal canal leading to pressure on the spinal nerves.
2. Facet Joint Arthritis-Facet joints are between the adjacent vertebra, covered with cartilage. Over time, the cartilage undergoes wear and tear, and the facet joint develops arthritis.
3. Structural Disorders of the spine like scoliosis or kyphosis, which are abnormal bending of the spine.
4. Spondylolisthesis is the forward slippage of one vertebra over the other due to some mechanical defects or fractures. It can lead to compression of the nerves and instability of the back.
5. Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain syndrome that is widespread and is associated with tenderness, fatigue, and sleep problems.
6. Fractures and dislocation of the spine-Compression fractures are common in the osteoporotic spinal column.
7. Other Medical Causes-Some potentially grave causes of lower back pain don’t involve injury to the back. These are infections and tumors of the spine. Referred pain can be from pneumonia, gall bladder disease, kidney infections, a stomach ulcer, or pelvic organ disorders.
The prevalence of lower back pain is about 80 percent. Most of the lower back pains are acute and resolve within six weeks. Around 10 percent of cases of lower back pain are consequential. The Conservative line of management is the first line of treatment for most lower back pains which are mechanical. Acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are first-line medications for chronic low back pain. Surgery is required in a small number of cases that cause functional disabilities or result from infection, fractures due to osteoporosis, or cancer.
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