Back pain: Understanding and relieving

How can back pain be treated effectively?

Muscle pain, difficulty bending over, a feeling of stiffness… Back pain can be disabling and affect the daily lives of many people of all ages. It can cause sleep problems, fatigue, and even affect morale…

Hello, I’m Dr Joy.

Let’s explore the different medical and therapeutic approaches to back pain together. I’ll also share my tips for reducing pain.

Let’s go!

What causes back pain?

Some back pain is due to mechanical pain, which can occur, for example, because of:

  • unusual activity or effort (carrying heavy loads, resuming sport)
  • intensive sport,
  • demands that are too high for the physical capacities available
  • emotional peaks (shock, acute or chronic stress)
  • a fall or
  • an accident
  • a sedentary lifestyle resulting in muscle contractures or restricted mobility.

Back pain can be aggravated by various factors:

  • Wear and tear on the joints
  • Inflammatory syndromes
  • Deformity or structural damage, such as a herniated disc
  • Lack of muscle tone

Most back pain is not serious and lasts only a few days. If the pain is severe and persistent, you should consult a healthcare professional to understand the causes, carry out the necessary complementary tests and choose the appropriate treatment.

Treatments

There are many health professionals who can help relieve back pain. 

Each specialty uses different and specific techniques, depending on the source of the problem.

Treat back pain with a family doctor

In the event of back pain, it is advisable to consult a general practitioner. He or she will be able to recommend a complementary examination (scan, MRI, radiology, etc.) to detect possible lesions, such as a herniated disc, cruralgy or inflammatory rheumatic problems.

The family doctor can also refer the patient to a therapist, who can diagnose and relieve the pain.

If the pain is severe and unbearable, your doctor may advise you to take painkillers to relieve the pain or anti-inflammatories to reduce inflammation.

However, this is only a short-term solution. Ibuprofen should not be taken for more than 5 days, and it is important to stick to the daily dose: 1200 mg with one 400 mg tablet every 8 hours. Reducing the intensity of the pain, especially in acute cases, can allow you to get back to moving as easily as possible.

Treat back pain with physiotherapy

Physiotherapy sessions are prescribed by a General Practitioner if the back pain lasts more than 4 weeks.

The physiotherapist’s aim is to improve mobility, reduce mechanical stress and strengthen the patient’s muscles to reduce long-term pain and restore independence. The physiotherapist accompanies the patient and teaches them correct posture and effective exercises and stretches to reduce pain.

During a session, the physiotherapist uses various methods to treat the pain:

  • Massage releases muscle tension by acting on all related structures, such as tendons, fascia, ligaments and joint.
  • Physiotherapy improves and restores a patient’s mobility, in the context of physical rehabilitation or injury prevention, for example.
  • Stretching improves the mobility of the joints in the spine and the muscles that cause pain.
  • The release of tension through various techniques (hooking, dryneeling, etc.) performed by the therapist to help the patient relax or lift the muscular constraints that cause contractions.
  • Muscle strengthening exercises improve the strength, stability and mobility of the body and strengthen the different muscle chains involved in spinal cord problem.

Treat back pain with osteopathy

Osteopaths are specialists in the human body. Patients can consult an osteopath as a first-line treatment, for prevention or to treat pain.

During the session, a comprehensive examination is carried out to identify the different areas affected, followed by a precise diagnosis. The osteopath’s aim is to restore balance to the patient’s body through painless manipulation of the joints, viscera and muscles of the various body systems.

Osteopathy can provide relief for a wide range of conditions:

  • Joints: spine, shoulders, knees, ankles….
  • Neuro-vegetative disorders: effects of acute or chronic stress, vagal dysfunction…
  • Digestive problems: flatulence, constipation, reflux…
  • Cardiovascular problems: headaches, hemorrhoids, certain venous return problems, numbness…

Osteopathy can complement rehabilitation sessions, but this alternative does not treat serious illnesses such as cancerous tumors.

After the session, you may feel tired and lighter.

Treat back pain with chiropody

Chiropody is the branch of medicine dedicated to the study, diagnosis, and treatment of foot diseases.

As a foot specialist, the chiropodist plays an essential role in our health, independence, and quality of life. During the examination, he considers the interaction with the rest of the body, particularly the musculoskeletal system, which allows him to identify and analyze any compensations.

Back pain (spinal pain) can be caused by a variety of factors, including biomechanical problems. The chiropodist can play an important role in the patient’s care by examining their general posture and gait.

The feet are the anchor points on the ground, the basis of our posture and balance, and any imbalance in the way we walk, or stand can affect the distribution of loads and lead to back strain or pain.

The chiropodist uses various assessments and instruments to determine the patient’s condition:

  • clinical podiatric examination
  • video analysis of the gait and possibly running or a specific movement,
  • baropodometric examination of static and dynamic posture,
    computerized footprint analysis using pressure sensors.

These assessments help to identify any imbalances or dysfunctions that may be contributing to back pain.

The chiropodist can then recommend therapeutic solutions such as:

  • Orthopedic insoles. These foot orthoses are designed to correct or compensate for biomechanical and postural imbalances, reduce stress on joints and muscles, rebalance muscle chains and promote better pressure distribution.
  • Muscle strengthening exercises and specific stretches to improve foot stability and function, which can help relieve back pain.
  • Advice on posture and appropriate footwear.

Working with other healthcare professionals such as doctors, physiotherapists and osteopaths, chiropodists can contribute to the overall management of back pain by addressing the biomechanical and postural aspects of the foot and treating any asymmetry.

4 recommendations for people prone to back pain

  • Regular physical activity
  • Regular muscle strengthening and mobility exercises
  • Treat or relieve digestive, respiratory, gynecological, urological and other disorders that may be associated with back pain
  • Acquiring the means/tools to regulate stress

Get help from health professionals

As the causes of back pain can be very varied, it is often advisable to opt for a multidisciplinary approach if the problem persists.

This is what happens at the Alegria Medical Centre, where our doctors and therapists work hand in hand to improve the quality of life and well-being of our patients.

 

Sources:

Ameli

Has Santé

Santé

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