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Backache: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment


Backache is one of the most common types of body pain. It is defined as the pain in the back muscles, lower back and vertebral joints.

Backache is categorized under two categories:

  • Acute: Acute backache is a temporary pain and usually goes away with time and without any special treatment.
  • Chronic: Chronic Backache is result of an underlying condition, it is long term pain and may last from days to week.

To treat the backache it is important to identify the underlying cause. In most cases, backache is not considered serious or life threatening, but if left untreated then it may cause serious problem.

Symptoms of backache

Common symptoms of backache including musculoskeletal pain are:

  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Shoulder pain
  • Swelling in shoulder, ankle joints
  • Back spasm
  • Muscle weakness
  • Hip Pain
  • Stiffness in the pain
  • Low grade fever

Causes of backache

Backache may be caused by mainly two reasons, injury or underlying disease conditions.

Injury – Common bone injury can also cause mechanical changes in bones and joints which may lead to serious backache. Common examples are:

  • Sport Injury,
  • Vertebral fracture,
  • Ligament sprain,
  • Muscle spasm,
  • Herniated disc,
  • Bone spurs.

Disease – Backache may be caused by inflammatory, or autoimmune degenerative disorders including:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis,
  • Osteoarthritis,
  • Fibromyalgia,
  • Ankylosing spondylitis,
  • Scoliosis.

Treatment of backache

To treat backache, it is important to identify the underlying issue to address the backache.

Commonly used medicines in backache:

  • NSAIDs – Painkiller like paracetamol, ibuprofen or etoricoxib are used to suppress the elevated pain. They are effective in suppressing pain temporary but not useful in long term pain.
  • Counterirritants – Most common type of medicines used in the treatment of backache, mostly menthol, capsaicin, diclofenac gels are common ingredient of counterirritant gel and cream.
  • Cortisone Injection – Another anti-inflammatory drug, which is used when other treatment fails. Injection of cortisone is given in the spinal cord, it also numb the areas of causing pain.
  • Physiotherapy – The use of heat, ice, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation, as well as some relaxation techniques for the back muscles and soft tissues, can help relieve pain.

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