Upper, middle, and lower back pain can occur as a result of bad posture, age-related decline of the spinal structures, osteoporosis, muscle or ligament tear. You should consume more often omega-3 fats, which can be found in salmon and turmeric.
Doctors usually ask how long have you had this pain, where exactly do you feel the pain, and is the pain unbearable. These questions are very important because there are different types of back pain and doctors need precise answers in order to give you a diagnosis.
Whether the pain is acute or chronic depends on its duration.
If the pain is acute, it usually lasts between one month or three. It disappears on its own, and it can appear again. This type of pain is not serious, but it can affect the quality of your life.
The back pain is described as chronic when it lasts more than three months after an injury. If your back hurts even after you have treated your back pain, then we are definitely talking about chronic pain.
The vertebral column is divided into three parts: upper or cervical, middle or thoracic, and lower or lumbar. The bones of the spine are called the vertebrae, which are separated from each other by rubbery discs made of cartilage. There are located a number of associated muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves. Any kind of deformity, an injury, or degeneration of them can trigger a back pain. There are cases when there are no indicators of a problem, and the condition gets worse.
Upper Back Pain
To be more precise, upper back pain is pain between your shoulder blades. It can occur as a consequence of scoliosis, when the spine curves sideways, and kyphosis, when the spine curves excessively and it can give you a hunchback and fractures. These deformities come principally as a result of muscle irritation and muscle strain. If you are middle aged, your doctor might give you a diagnosis of spinal osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis.
If you have been feeling tightness for a longer period of time and the pain gets worse when you are in stationary positions like driving or sitting, you might have muscle irritation. This condition might turn into muscle inflammation when keeping a bad posture, weak muscles or bones, lifting heavy stuff, bending or twisting.
Muscle Strain and Sprain
Whenever you feel sudden and sharp stabbing pain and strong pressure on your muscles, then you are most likely having a muscle strain. It can hurt you a lot, but it is not something that is very serious, unless the strain is total and the entire muscle has ruptured. Sprain is when the ligament that joins two bones tears.
Spinal osteoarthritis is also known as arthritis of the facet joints and doctors describe it as a serious condition. This disease makes you prone to herniated discs and spinal stenosis. It is more likely to have it in your advanced age. With age, the discs between your vertebrae lose their ability to cushion friction between the spinal bones during movements. As a consequence, the facet joints that link the vertebrae wear off, causing inflammation and chronic pain.
You are lucky if you experience the symptoms in the early stages, because some people don’t feel anything, until the arthritis has advanced.
Spinal osteoarthritis is experienced by people around 50. At this age, the spine starts narrowing. This condition might cause a shooting pain in the arms and legs and difficulty walking. Your handwriting might also get worse.
In this case, you feel pain and even numbness mostly in the shoulders and arms. If your ruptured disc takes place in the thoracic region, then you will pressure in your upper back. This part of your body will especially hurt you during coughing or sneezing. Usually, herniated discs occur over year due to bad posture, but even a sudden twisting or lifting something heavy, can end up in a herniated disc. Checking-ups are always recommended.
Middle Back Pain
In most of the cases, the causes for this pain are mechanical and injury- related. But, also diseases of the thoracic organs can cause pain. The function of the vertebrae is beyond important, since it protects the vital organs in the thoracic region, such as the heart, lungs, and liver.
Strain and Sprain
Muscle strain and sprain cause swelling, bruising, tension, and pain which gets worse when making motions. Muscle strain and sprain is actually ligament tear.
Low Back Pain
The mechanical factors are similar to the upper and middle back, but the risks of those harming the lower back are higher. This is due to the fact the angles of the bending or twisting movements in your lower back are much greater and stand bigger pressure.
Spondylolysis and Spondylolisthesis
With participating in sports activities like football, weightlifting or gymnastics, there is a possibility of overstretching the spine. Then, a possible cause of your lower back pain could be spondylolisthesis. Spondylolysis by itself may not be manifested with any symptoms, but when it aggravates to spondylolisthesis, you will feel a pain radiating from your lower back to your buttocks and one or both legs. This will make walking or bending difficult.
Men are more affected by this condition and it can start as early as when they are 17 years old. It is defined as an inflammatory arthritis of the spine where it joins the pelvis, eventually making the vertebrae fuse with each other. When it reaches the cervical area, it can narrow the spinal column and affect the spinal cord.
Underlying Medical Conditions
Certain underlying medical conditions can lead to back pain. Osteoporosis is a more common disease among women, which can be a major factor for spinal compression fractures and can cause sharp stabbing in the middle and lower back pain.
Sometimes, the pain you feel on your back might not even originate there. Then we are talking about referred pain. For example, a sudden and severe back pain along with chest pressure, arm pain, nausea, or a cold sweat, can be a signs of a heart attack. If your back hurts you when you cough or when you breathe deeply, it might be an indicator of a lung infection. Kidney stones cause a persistent pain in the lower back.
Doctors recommend you:
- Don’t consume high-fat products, especially those made of processed sugar, because they lead to obesity. Obese people, especially women, are exposed to a high risk of back pain, because the excess of weight around the stomach puts pressure on the lower back.
- Consume omega-3 fatty acid- rich food such as salmon, Atlantic mackerel, sardines, trout, cherries, coffee and red grapes to reduce back pain. Remember to load your food with turmeric.
- Stop smoking. Smoking reduces the blood flow to the lower spine, which leads to spinal disc regeneration and slows down the healing from back injuries.
- Substitute your sedentary lifestyle with moderate and regular stretching exercises. Practice special yoga postures for the back. In this way, you will keep your spine and back muscles healthy, flexible, and active.
- Avoid lifting heavy stuff and running on hard surfaces.
- Reduce your stress and anxiety.
You cannot always rely on the intensity of the pain, because different people react differently on pain. Some of the more severe spine conditions, such as disc herniation, may not even cause pain. So expect that your doctor will ask you about the nature, frequency, and the intensity of pain.
When You Should Visit Your Doctor?
In any case, if your pain is accompanied by fever, numbness, loss of reflex, loss of bowel control, or sudden weight loss, visit your doctor without delay. However, make sure you do regular check-ups too.