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Jun 06, 2020 | Djiedjom Amefia
Almost everyone gets acquainted with back pain, many of those affected fortunately only once. Most of the time the pain is located in the area above the buttocks. In general, this is the lower back. Doctors also refer to this as lumbar back pain: lumbar refers to the lumbar spine.
The pain can be felt more in the middle, more to the side or in the whole back. Sometimes they radiate into the surroundings, for example into the leg, or they are mainly felt there.
There are two main groups: non-specific and specific back pain:
Non-specific back pain: This is what the majority of people affected by back pain have to do with. There is no evidence of a specific cause for them. In other words, their back suffers "only" from tense, shortened and overstretched muscles until further notice. However, associated functional disorders do not correspond to a specific disease to be treated - as long as the diagnosis "non-specific" applies, no specific damage to the spine can be detected or no other disease related to the back or radiating pain into the back can be identified.
However, this is the case with specific back pain. This can be triggered by back pain itself as well as other diseases that involve the back.
Not all experts are always happy with the classification into "non-specific" (or even unspecific) and "specific". However, it helps to put some order into the multitude of back pain and is often used, as in this article.
- Lower back (area of the lumbar spine (lumbar spine): Most often back pain affects the lower part of the back, which is also the most heavily loaded. Here, for example, there is often muscle tension, disorders of their gliding tissue, the fasciae, but also herniated discs. In the pelvic area, special inflammatory changes sometimes occur.
- Middle back: Back pain at the middle height of the spine can also be caused by muscle irritation, changes in the rib-vertebral joints and skeletal deformations, especially of the thoracic spine.
- Upper back/neck: Here the area of the upper thoracic spine (BWS) and cervical spine (Cervical) is affected. Pain in the neck region is often caused by an unfavorable posture when working. This leads to muscle tension and hardening. Possible, although less frequent, are inflammatory loosening of the cervical spine with a herniated disc.
- Neck pain often radiates to the back of the head, shoulder or arm. Sensory discomfort is also possible. Dizziness can also occur. You can find out more about neck pain in a separate article on our health portal.
The good news is that in the case of acute back pain, you can usually help yourself to a certain extent without any further symptoms, health problems or alarm signals for example, by moving slightly and compensating for stress, ideally also by avoiding stress, for example by "switching off", counteracting the usual stress with something that is enjoyable, by taking a break from established movement patterns for a short time.
In the majority of cases - in over 80 percent of cases - muscles and ligaments in the back cause problems, both acute and chronic. Back problems are often caused by overloading during heavy physical work or as a result of one-sided movements. These can - like a lack of exercise - understrain certain muscle groups, resulting in imbalances in the back. Severe overweight also has a negative effect, as does smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.
In addition, various risk factors play a role, which the doctor will focus on at an early stage:
Ergonomic problems: Unfavorable adjustment of the equipment at the workplace
Psychosocial factors: conflicts in the professional and private environment, lack of recognition, excessive demands, social dissatisfaction
If risk factors for a chronic course are actually identifiable, they should be included in the therapy concept at an early stage.
In the case of physically difficult or unsatisfactory work, try to make adjustments; improved working conditions and processes (work ergonomics), recognition and more can increase job satisfaction and help to relieve and stabilize the back.
Seeking solutions to stressful emotional conflicts at work and in private, if necessary with the support of a psychologist
Manual medicine with techniques such as mobilization and manipulation can be a possible treatment option for non-specific low back pain. This is best assessed by the treating physician. Gentle movement therapy (physiotherapy) with controlled exercises (under the expert guidance of a physiotherapist) is recommended for acute and chronic non-specific as well as specific back pain if mobility is limited due to pain. Physiotherapy can be used above all to relax tense muscles and correct incorrect posture.
Massage can be used together with specific exercises for subacute and chronic non-specific low back pain or a back massager stretcher
Specially designed programs such as back schools should help to prevent recurrent low back pain. In addition to elements to strengthen the back and improve posture, such programs should also teach people strategies to learn how to avoid anxiety and build self-confidence. Your doctor or physiotherapist can provide you with information about suitable local programs.
Prerequisite for exercise treatment, especially in the case of concomitant or underlying illnesses, is that the doctor confirms the ability to exercise. Back training programs can also be useful for specific back pain.
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