A common ailment that is found throughout the world is back pain. The vast majority of people in the world will experience some form of back pain in their lives whether it is chronic pain or just the occasional twinge.

It has been estimated that 9 out of 10 adults will have back pain in their lifetime – it is also the fifth most common reason that people in the US visit a doctor.

The spine is hugely important part of the body and suffering from problems with your back can also result in feeling extremely uncomfortable and unable to move with ease.

It can be very easy to injure your back accidentally and many people may not even realise they have done anything until later on. Back pain is a huge health concern for many people.

Not all back pain is the same. In order to differentiate between the different types pain can be classified by where in the back it is felt. For example pain felt high up in the back may fall under -˜neck pain’.

Whilst pain felt lower down may be middle back pain or lower back pain depending on whereabouts the pain is originating. You can also suffer from coccyx or tailbone pain.

The most frequent of these types is lower back pain. In order to determine the severity of the pain there are three time frames.

Acute pain lasts less than six weeks while sub-acute lasts between six and twelve. If you are unlucky enough to suffer from chronic back pain, this is pain that has lasted for longer than twelve weeks.

People can hurt their backs in many different ways. Often poor posture is blamed for back pain – that the sufferer is not sitting or standing correctly – but there are actually many different causes.

The underlying issue is that a person may be putting undue stress and strain on their back.

This can be done through poor posture but it is not always the reason. Other causes of back pain can be sleeping in a bad position or on a broken mattress or not following the correct lifting procedure for heavy objects.

Not doing a proper warm up or cool down when exercising can also result in back pain as you can be putting your muscles under stress.

A proportion of back problems stem from the workplace – such as sitting poorly in front of a monitor all day or suffering from physical or emotional stress.

As there are many different kinds of back pain, that have different causes, not everyone feels the pain in the same way.

Some may feel short pulsating bursts of pain that can be very uncomfortable but only last a short amount of time.

Others may endure the opposite, a constant dull ache that makes getting comfortable or sleeping very difficult.

Others again may suffer from a pain that moves around to different areas of the back.

For the most part backache and pain are not usually caused by serious illness or injury – for most people the pain will subside within twelve weeks.

There are many things you can do to help ease the pain – painkillers are often the solution people turn to first but heat therapy (such as a hot water bottle or a cold compress) may also be helpful. Massage and stretching can also help to ease back pain.

Back pain can be a sign of something more serious if you are also experiencing other symptoms at the same time.

Fever or weight loss that cannot be explained as well as back pain may be an indicator of a health problem.

You should make sure to talk with your doctor about this if it occurs. If you have a history of cancer or have had a serious accident in the past then, chronic back pain may be an important warning sign.

Other symptoms to look out for include swelling, loss of bladder control and progressive weakness in the legs.

Serious back pain and injury can result in Cauda Equina Syndrome (or CES) which is caused by direct trauma or strain in the spine.

The syndrome is named after the Cauda Equina, which is the specific section of nerves in the spine that are affected.

Cauda Equina means -˜horse’s tail’ in Latin and the name for these nerves was so chosen because they looked very much like the tail of a horse.

These nerves control the sensation of the lower limbs and if these nerves are compressed or suffer trauma it can result in Cauda Equina Syndrome.

Sufferers of Cauda Equina Syndrome can experience a numbing of the lower part of their body or even a complete loss of sensation – especially in the legs. They may also suffer from bladder problems.

There are many different causes of CES, these include – suffering from tumors and lesions, trauma (penetrative or ballistic), lumbar punctures, chronic spinal inflammatory conditions or central disc prolapse.

It can only be determined if you have CES through an MRI scan and if it is diagnosed swift action must be taken. Some sufferers of CES also experience medical negligence because their diagnosis was delayed or treatment was not given quickly enough.

If CES is not treated fast enough CES can cause permanent damage – such as mobility problems and bladder dysfunction.

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