By Vladimir Marchenko
Back pain worsening
Low back pain is our payback for the evolutionary leap from four-legged walking to upright posture. The fact is that when our wild ancestor stood on two legs, the center of gravity of the body moved to the lumbar region. Therefore, the burden fell on the lumbar spine. When we sit down, the pressure on the vertebrae of the lumbar and sacrum is similar to the effect on a diver at a depth of 150-170 m. That is why back pain can be called an almost natural condition, especially for people who lead a sedentary lifestyle, as well as those physically overloaded and with a weak muscle corset in the back area.
A recognizable "shot" in the lumbar region (lumbago) can happen at any age, at any time of the day and at any position of the body, more often it is provoked by awkward movements and improper weight lifting. According to statistics, at least 80% of people have experienced pain in the lower back at least once in their life. Most often these are people of working age and retirement age who are engaged in hard physical labor or, on the contrary, lead a sedentary lifestyle. The latter were threatened because of the transition to remote work and restrictions on movement caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Sometimes the pain in the lower back is pulling in nature, aggravated by carrying heavy loads, hypothermia, etc.
Common causes of back pain:
Primary - degenerative changes in the structure of the spine: osteochondrosis, herniated intervertebral discs, sciatica; spondylosis; arthritis; deterioration in the work of the musculo-ligamentous complex, etc.;
Secondary - pathologies of organs located near the lower part of the spine (bladder, kidneys, intestines), inflammation of the joints, trauma, diabetes, hypothermia, oncological diseases, etc.
A more accurate diagnosis can only be made by a specialist after a comprehensive examination. For example, in addition to general causes, women also have specific ones - menstruation, adnexitis, endometriosis, wearing high-heeled shoes, menopause.
Diagnosis of back pain
Determining the nature of pain is important for accurate diagnosis. For example, it can be classified as:
- in the form of an attack.
The gradation according to the length of the pain:
Accordingly, at first, a detailed survey of the patient is carried out, the further examination depends on the accuracy of the answers. In the process, the presence of injuries, hereditary pathologies, the working and resting hours of the patient are determined. If a spinal disorder is suspected, X-rays, CT or MRI are done. If pain can be associated with diseases of internal organs, an ultrasound scan of the corresponding area is prescribed.
How back pain affects one’s state
Since back pain is spontaneous, it can remind about itself at any time throughout the day or night. During the day, this happens more often and causes some discomfort, making it difficult to work and concentrate on business. It can be quite difficult to find a body position in which the pain sensations decrease. In addition, sometimes the limbs become weak, numb and start tingling.
Pain is also a big problem at night. A person wakes up abruptly at the worst possible time, especially when it comes to the slow-wave sleep. The more often pain occurs, the higher the likelihood that a person will not be able to fully rest, his or her sleep will be troubled.
In addition, chronic low back pain can exacerbate symptoms of depression and insomnia. One of the largest studies in this area, involving 200,000 adults from 43 countries, confirmed that those who complained of pain were twice as likely to report anxiety, stress, neurosis, and subsequent lack of sleep. A link has also been established between back pain and the onset of apnea - a combination of these factors could lead to deprivation of up to 50% of sleep or more (over 4 hours).
Back pain prevention
Apart from specialized treatment, there are at least a few ways that will help to restore a more or less normal state of health. So what can you do to get started?
1. Get into a relaxing position and then stretch out. If you suddenly feel pain in your lower back, you can lie on your stomach on a hard and flat surface. Then gently roll over onto your back and raise your legs, bent the knees at an angle of 90 degrees (you can put something under them or throw on the sofa). Sometimes, if it is not strong enough, a light warm-up, aimed at increasing blood circulation, helps, often a walk or half an hour of physiotherapy exercises is enough.
2. Watch your posture. Avoid prolonged sitting in one position, especially uncomfortable. In particular, it is not recommended to sit at a table with the body hanging over it. That is why it is so important to choose an office chair that allows your back to remain as flat as possible. Get up more often, take a walk, warm up. When driving, do not recline the seat unnecessarily. It is also necessary to do exercises for the muscles of the abdomen and back.
3. Strengthen your mental health. Although almost everyone has heard about psychosomatics, still too little attention is paid to it. Meanwhile, it is mental trauma that can cause pain in the body. Therefore, before you start taking pills and scheduling injections, you should think about your mental health. For example, using the Hypnopedia mobile application, which combines a set of relaxing sounds and compositions for falling asleep, affirmations played during the user's sleep, as well as a high-precision “smart” alarm clock that wakes you up at the optimal moment for the body.
The interval for reading affirmations is selected after collecting the user's physical indicators and processing them by the unique algorithm of the application. With regular use, psychophysiological indicators and mental health are improved. You can listen to affirmations during the day.
4. Control your weight. Excess weight also leads to rapid deterioration of the spine. Every 10 kg in excess of the norm is equal to an extra load of about 0.5 kg for each vertebra.
5. Change your diet. It is recommended to eat grapes, apples, strawberries, pears, lentils, hazelnuts, pumpkin, green salad, raspberries. You also need to monitor the balance of magnesium and potassium in the diet and maintain them at a normal level. It is useful to consume nuts, fish, seafood, spinach, cabbage, beans, peas at least a couple of times a week. Avoid foods that trigger inflammation (such as sugars, artificial trans fats, vegetable oils, processed meats, alcohol).
6. Find a comfortable pillow and mattress. It is possible that in your case getting rid of back pain will be easier than ever - after changing bedding. So, in one of the 2015 studies, patients were offered special pillows with back support. After almost three months of follow-up, they noticed improvements that surpassed the effect of physiotherapy. Therefore, the choice should be made in favor of ergonomic pillows and orthopedic mattresses with suitable firmness to support the body. In general, it is advised to change the mattress every 8 years.
7. Try to sleep on your side. Unfortunately, we cannot control the position of the body during the entire sleep. However, falling asleep with back pain is definitely better to be done on your side (at the same time, get rid of snoring for a while). You can also pinch a special pad between your knees (this is especially suitable for pregnant women who also suffer from lower back pain) or sleep with a slightly raised upper body. The lateral position should be chosen so that the shoulder and body completely touch the mattress and do not form a "wave". The embryo pose also works well. In this position, there is more space between the vertebrae. You also need to do it correctly - first, lie on your back, then roll onto your side and pull your knees to your chest. Sometimes, with back pain, it is advised to sleep on your stomach, but only with a pillow under the pelvis. It works especially well in degenerative diseases of the intervertebral disc.
8. Practice non-drug methods. In addition to medications and massage, you can ask about other available ways to minimize pain. In particular, changing the lifestyle in favor of a healthy alternative helps. For example, move more, walk, do swimming, yoga, stretching, dancing. A sedentary lifestyle only contributes to the development of pain in the lumbar region and other parts of the back. Therefore, use every opportunity to move and stretch.
9. Do not overwork before bed. Another subtle link exists between nighttime lower back pain and getting ready for sleep. For example, it is undesirable to overwork the body with physical and psychological stress at least 3-4 hours before bedtime, not to overeat, not to get carried away by watching action-packed and dramatic programs and films, to stop drinking alcohol and energy drinks.
10. Be careful when handling heavy weights. In particular, the exacerbation of osteochondrosis and the appearance of hernias of the intervertebral disc are provoked by the lifting and carrying of weights. One of the most severe injuries can occur when a weight is jerked upwards while the body is turned to the side. First, balance the load against your own capabilities. Secondly, you need to act like weightlifters in competition. Squat down with your back and neck straight. Grasp the load with both hands and fix it securely. Lift weights in bent arms, not with your back, but with your legs, performing a smooth upward movement. After making sure that you can carry the weight, slowly turn with your whole body at the same time and go where you want. You always need to carry any weight with two hands.
Thus, you can try to get rid of back pain yourself. However, this only works when it comes to symptoms. In any case, it is better not to postpone the examination and visit the doctor, especially if the pains bother you regularly and for no apparent reason, and simple prevention methods no longer help.
You can download Hypnopedia app here:Ссылка App Store