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.