Did you know that 80% of people have problems with their back? Your lower back usually hurts between your lower ribs and buttocks. Standing, sitting, walking – whatever you do, your back will nag. It may be that the pain radiates to your buttocks or your legs. That is called sciatica. Back pain is, in most cases, not harmful and will go away on its own.
What is the cause of back pain?
Several factors can cause back pain. The cause determines the type of back pain. We have listed a few types of back pain and their causes for you.
Non-specific low back pain
Most of the time, people suffer from nonspecific low back pain. Then it is not exactly clear what causes the pain in your lower back. It may be that your muscles, nerves, or the soft discs between your vertebrae are overloaded. The following factors are involved:
- Being overweight
- Heavy and heavy lifting without good lifting technique
- Long driving and long sitting without interruption
- Overloading the back from too much twisting and bending
Low back pain that suddenly starts is also called spit. Then ‘shoot it in your back,’ and you suddenly have pain and stiff muscles. A sudden overload of your back often causes these complaints.
With a hernia, there is an identifiable cause of the pain. Just a lesson in biology: between your vertebrae are intervertebral discs. These are soft discs with a gel-like core, which allows you to move your back. If the gel-like core breaks out and bulges, it can press on a nerve and pinch it. That’s where the pain comes from. Your buttock, hip, or leg can also hurt and feel numb or prickly. This is because the nerve that is pinched transmits the wrong signals to your brain. Your brain thinks your leg hurts, but the cause is actually in your back!
If you are pregnant, you may experience back problems. Your uterus is attached to your back with straps. Because your belly is getting heavier, your uterus pulls on your back. This makes your back increasingly hollow. Your back muscles can then become overloaded. So pay close attention to your posture when standing and sitting! After your pregnancy, the back problems usually disappear on their own.
In addition to abdominal pain and headache, many women also have back pain when they have their periods. Your uterus cramps under the influence of hormones. That’s that famous stomachache! At the same time, the uterus probably pulls on the straps that secure it to your back. And so you also get pain in your back. Ibuprofen and naproxen can help against menstrual cramps because they calm the pain and inhibit the ‘cramping hormones.’
Your back problems may be caused by your kidneys, which are against your back in the middle of your torso. Then the pain doesn’t change when you change your posture. After all, the pain is not in your muscles, but in your organs. Also, the pain is not against your buttocks, but really in the middle of your back. Consult your doctor if you think your kidneys are causing your back pain.
How long does back pain last?
Almost everyone suffers from back pain, and there is usually nothing serious about it. Your back problems should disappear by themselves within four weeks. Do you still have back pain after four weeks? Then consult your doctor. They can help you determine the cause and the best treatment for you.
What can you do for back pain?
Back pain usually goes away on its own. A comforting thought, but yes, in the meantime, it does bother you! We have a few tips for you to make the back pain more bearable:
- Keep your back warm. For example, immediately change your sweaty clothes for dry clothes after exercise. You can also use a heat patch.
- Take paracetamol if you want to take a pain reliever. Your back is not inflamed, so anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen have no added value, but more side effects than acetaminophen. However, you can smear ibuprofen on your back, because it gives you fewer side effects than when you take ibuprofen.
- Do not stay in bed. In the first days when you are in pain, you can rest for several hours a day. Over time, bed rest only weakens your muscles, making you recover slower.
- Do not use muscle relaxants, such as oxazepam. The muscle relaxant has not been proven to help with back pain, but you can experience the side effects of the drug.
- Keep moving! Even if your back hurts, it is important to keep moving. In addition, stretching exercises can provide relief from cramped muscles. If the doctor refers you to the physiotherapist, he will help you with special back exercises. They do not directly help against sudden back pain but do with long-term back pain.
Although there is usually nothing serious about back pain and it usually goes away by itself, it is still nicer if you never have problems with your back again! If you pay attention to the following, you will reduce the risk of back pain in the future:
- Lift heavy items with the correct technique. In doing so, bend your knees, keep your back straight and keep the object close to your body.
- Also, use the correct technique for getting out of bed and getting out of the car. Rotate your entire body at once, instead of swinging your legs out of bed or out of the car and then turning your upper body.
- Make sure your muscles don’t cool down too quickly. Change immediately after exercise and take the time for a good cool-down.
- Do not sit or stand in the same position for too long. Variety is important because your muscles will not be tense in one way for a long time. This gives you stiff muscles.
Most common fables about back pain
Bright stitches between your shoulder blades? Always sit straight. Growing pain in your lower back? Sleep on the floor tonight. What should you believe, and what not? That is sometimes difficult because there are many fables about back pain. That is why we deal with the most common fables about back pain:
Always sitting upright prevents back pain.
Of course, sitting down is not good for your back. But sitting straight for too long can also cause some pain in your back. Sitting too much just isn’t good for your back, whether you’re sitting straight or obliquely. If you have a job that requires you to sit a lot, try making phone calls or reading every now and then.
A hard mattress is best for your back.
It really happens, people who go to sleep on a hard floor with back pain. It is rumored that this resolves the pain in the back. But it differs per person what kind of mattress or surface is best for your back. Therefore, let a specialist advise you to find out which mattress suits you best.
Movement is bad for back pain.
Fear of movement has been shown to be one of the leading causes of chronic, acute back pain. Regular movement can prevent this.
Lifting heavy things causes back pain.
It’s not about how much you lift, but how you lift. It goes without saying that you should not lift a heavy cupboard on your own because that is asking for back pain. But if you use the right lifting technique, you can avoid a lot of trouble with your back. We have just mentioned the right lifting technique, but just once more, to be sure: bend your knees, keep your back straight and keep the object close to your body.
Thin people don’t get back pain.
The fact that overweight people are more likely to suffer from back pain does not mean that lean people do not suffer from back pain. Anyone can get back pain. In fact, people who are too thin are more likely to have back pain because they suffer from osteoporosis. This makes bones brittle and fragile.