Is your back giving your problems? Whether you’re struggling with lower back pain, middle back pain, upper back pain, or a combination of all three, there are treatment options available to help you alleviate your symptoms. Check out this article from Advil to learn all you need to know about back pain relief.
Back Pain 101
If you’re suffering from back pain, you’re not alone. In fact, research shows that 8 out of 10 people will experience back pain at some point in their lives.i Often, back pain is temporary and goes away on its own. Other times, back pain lasts longer, causing us discomfort and disrupting our daily lives.
There are two types of back pain: acute and chronic. Acute back pain appears quickly and can last for a few weeks; chronic back pain is back pain that lasts for more than three months.ii The cause of your back pain, as well as the steps you take for treating your back pain, can affect the duration.
Back pain ranges from mild to severe. You may experience sharp, piercing back pain that requires you to take a break from your normal activities. Back pain can also be less serious, a minor yet persistent presence in the background of your day-to-day life. Regardless of where your back pain falls on the scale of severity, seeking a solution is a must. Learn how to relieve back pain so that you can live your life happily, healthily, and pain-free.
Upper, Middle, and Lower Back Pain
Back pain is different for each person. You can experience pain in your lower back, middle back, or upper back, and causes of back pain can vary. Learn more about the different types of back pain here:
1) Lower back pain (below the rib cage)
Most back pain occurs in the lower back.iii Often, causes of lower back are congenital. Skeletal irregularities like scoliosis can cause lower back pain.iv Sometimes, injuries are the cause of lower back pain. If you play sports or live a fairly active style, you might be familiar with sprains, strains, falls, or overuse—all of which can cause back pain. Lower back pain causes include (but aren’t limited to) the following items:
- Herniated or ruptured discs
- Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
- Nerve compression
- Infections involving the vertebrae
- Kidney stones
- Endometriosis (the buildup of uterine tissue in places outside the uterus)
- Fibromyalgia (a chronic pain syndrome involving widespread muscle pain and fatigue)
- Pregnancy (back symptoms that almost always completely go away after giving birth)v
2) Upper and Middle Back Pain (base of the neck to the bottom of rib cage)
The upper and middle back move less than the lower back, so pain in this area is less common.vi Still, it’s important to understand how and why upper and middle back pain occur. Upper and middle back pain share similar causes to lower back pain. Muscle strains can cause upper and middle back pain, as can ligament injuries and disc injuries.vii Overuse (something that may worsen with age) can also be a pain source. Other causes of upper and middle back pain include:
- Poor posture, such as slouching and hunching
- Herniated discs and pressure on the spinal cord
- Vertebrae fractures
- Osteoarthritis and cartilage breakdown
- Myofascial pain
- Disease, cancer, or infection (rare cases only)viii
Finding Back Pain Relief
Dealing with back pain can be frustrating. After all, back pain doesn’t always have a simple, straightforward solution. However, that doesn’t mean that back pain relief is out of the question. Start by taking a holistic approach to improving back pain rather than seeking out a single solution. Often, back pain can result from various decisions and lifestyle habits that fill our days. Below, you’ll find some potential solutions for back pain relief. If your pain is more severe and you feel you should contact your doctor, please do so as soon as possible.
How to Relieve Back Pain
Going to physical therapy is a good place to start, as far as relieving back pain goes. Physical therapy can be especially helpful if you’re unsure what is causing your back pain. Through conversations with a physical therapist, along with the exercises and stretches they provide, you can enjoy back pain relief.i
According to the American Chiropractic Association, good posture helps us keep our bones and joints in correct alignment, preventing muscle strain, overuse disorders, and back pain. If you’re noticing any back pain around the shoulders or near your hips and lower back, try adjusting your posture to find relief. ii
- Try alternative pain relief methods.
Some people find alternative pain relief methods effective in treating back pain. If you’re interested, you can start visiting a massage therapist for regular massages to see if that helps alleviate your back pain. Acupuncture is another treatment option for back pain. However, more research still needs to be done on massages and acupuncture to determine their level of effectiveness.iii
- Take an OTC pain reliever medicine.
For short-term pain relief, take an OTC pain reliever to help relieve symptoms. Advil offers effective treatment for back pain, as well as headaches, minor pains of arthritis, menstrual pain, and more. Try Advil for back pain relief today.iv
i Back Pain. MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/backpain.html. Accessed 7/23/2020. Referenced text is on page 1 in source PDF.
iii Low Back Pain Fact Sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Low-Back-Pain-Fact-Sheet. Accessed 7/23/2020. Referenced text is highlighted on page 1, page 2, and page 3 in source PDF.
vi Upper and Middle Back Pain. Michigan Medicine. https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/aba5320. Accessed 7/23/2020. Referenced text highlighted on Page 1 and Page 2 in source PDF.
x Posture. American Chiropractic Association. https://www.acatoday.org/news-publications/insider-5-exercises-to-fix-your-posture-and-why-good-posture-is-crucial-for-your-health/. Accessed 7/23/2020. Referenced text highlighted on Page 1 and Page 2 in source PDF.