Understanding Reasons for Back Pain: Tips to Help Relieve Pain and Discomfort

By Jessica Fuller / July 1, 2015

Back pain can be very unpredictable. It can hit you when you’re lifting something heavy. Or just as you’re walking down the street.

It doesn’t matter how, why, or when it started. If you suffer from back pain you are likely experiencing a lot of pain and discomfort.

If you are experiencing any kind of back pain it’s important understanding reasons for back pain if you want to treat it.

By understanding the different types of back pain, and the reasons for the pain. You can try to identify why you are experiencing the pain in your back.

The Difference between Lower and Upper Back Pain

Back pain can often be identified as either upper back pain, or lower back pain. Upper back pain affects the area across the shoulders, neck, and upper back.

It can start suddenly as the result of an injury. It’s also often developed by people over stretching and causing damage to the tendons, muscles, and ligaments in that area.

So this could happen from a vehicle accident for example. Or even from sitting with bad posture in a vehicle for hours. These lumbar supports can help with sitting posture!

Or, just as easily from daily life and certain lifestyles. Being overweight is a cause for a lot of people. Just as having a bad posture (check this post on kneeling chairs), or doing repetitive motions with poor form.

Sitting or walking with a bad posture for a long period can cause considerable damage and pain. It can cause the spinal balance to be out of line.

Other factors like emotional and mental stress can also cause tension in the back. This is one of the often forgotten causes, but it’s a very real and serious problem.

Upper Back Pain Relief

Most people with upper back pain consider some of the over-the-counter pain medications. These are not very strong, but can help restore some mobility and ease the pain.

You should only do this if you have mild back pain and you’re looking to go about your day with less pain. It’s not addressing the root cause, and certainly is not going to help in the long-term.

You should consult a doctor or professional chiropractor. They can do a proper medical assessment on your posture and look for the root cause.

Typically people are holding a poor posture at work for several hours a day. Then often carrying on at home with a bad posture. This needs to be addressed.

There are exercises and massage techniques that can help with upper back pain. You need to find a style that suits you and your pain. But massage has proven to be very effective.

Lower Back Pain

In contrast, lower back pain is felt at the base of the back. It can be extremely painful, and often make the suffer feel physically sick.

Again, it can start from a wide range of causes. From something as simple as doing up a shoelace to trying to lift something very heavy.

Suffering some form of trauma that leads to this lower back pain can cause muscle spasms. Making even the simplest of daily tasks seem impossible.

Being overweight will make the pain and symptoms a lot worse. A doctor will almost certainly recommend you get your weight under control if it’s an issue.

I can recommend some sleeping positions that help relieve or reduce the chance of back pain.

Lower Back Pain Relief

Over the counter pain relief treatments are the first stop for people experiencing lower back pain.

You can try some mild painkillers to see if the pain passes. Which in mild cases, it will. You can also try hot or cold compression packs. These are effective at easing pain and inflammation.

The right kind of exercise will also help the recovery process of some types of pain. It’s very important that exercise is carried out carefully as to not aggravate the problem and make it worse.

The idea is to strengthen and heal the muscles in the back. Making lifting and exercise easier and less risky in the future.

Strengthening the whole core will help with lower back pain. This includes working the abdominals as well as the back.

I’d advise working with a professional trainer or on the advice of a medical professional before undergoing any exercise so as not to aggravate a back problem.

The Difference between Acute and Chronic Back Pain

I have discussed the difference between lower and upper back pain and the different ways to deal with the pain.

There is also a big difference between acute pain and chronic pain. Based largely on how long the pain lasts, it can be classified as either chronic or acute.

Acute back pain is short-term pain. It typically lasts anywhere from a day, to a few weeks. Most causes of acute back pain are due to pulling muscles, to underlying conditions and sudden trauma.

Acute pain symptoms typically range from light pins and needles, stabbing pains, and muscle aches. You can experience a reduction in your range of motion, and struggle to stand straight.

Chronic pain is back pain that has lasted for 3 months or longer. It’s often difficult to diagnose the root cause or the reason for the pain not tapering off.

You will certainly need to consult with a professional to have your back looked it if you suffer from chronic pain.

Prevention Is Better than Cure

Back pain can become a life-long struggle for some. Turning their life on its head, and making even the most routine tasks almost impossible.

You should also be aware of anything that could cause an injury, and do your best to limit the risks. Chronic back pain changes a person’s life. Faced with the opportunity to avoid causing the injury, everyone would take it.

Doing regular exercise, eating healthy, and making good lifestyle choices go a long way to reducing your risk of back pain.

Be aware of the risks. Be aware of the treatments available. Do what you can to avoid back pain.

About the author

Jessica Fuller

I started studying and experimenting with alternative medicine, different massage techniques, and alternative therapies after graduating. I also love travelling and writing, so I found a way to combine all my loves - blogging!