Who has the most back pain?
According to the World Health Organization, 80% of the world’s population suffers from back pain. This is one of the main reasons for limitation or disability, while only 25-30% of people go to a doctor, while 70% self-medicate. However, many experts today argue that back pain can have not only real physical causes, but also psychosomatic ones. For example, being the result of depression, stress, loss of loved ones, and even loss of inner support and confidence.
Pain in the lower back ranks first among the top ten causes that reduce the quality of life. In this case, neck pain is fourth, migraine is sixth, and other musculoskeletal pains are tenth. Such data were obtained by scientists during the study “The Global Burden of Disease”, which lasted for 23 years (1990-2013). But pain is just a symptom that can signal quite serious health problems or even the development of a dangerous disease:
- Nonspecific musculoskeletal pain – occurs in 85% of cases. It is usually caused by damage to the elements of the musculoskeletal system. In this risk group, first of all, are those whose work is associated with high loads on the spine, as well as people who are forced to be in static stress and a sitting position for a long time – among them: office employees, transport workers, teachers, salespeople.
- Specific pain – associated with a serious pathology (tumor, injury, infection). It occurs in 7% of cases.
- Pain caused by radiculitis or stenosis of the spinal canal is a chronic pathology when the spinal canal is narrowed and the structures that are in it are being squeezed. It occurs in 4-7% of cases.
An unobvious complication of back pain that has arisen can be an increase in blood pressure and blood sugar levels. In people suffering from acute and chronic pain, the risk of developing dangerous cardiovascular complications at least doubles.
“The main goal of back pain treatment is to stop pain syndrome so that a person can return to normal and an active lifestyle, – says Elena Akarachkova, MD, PhD, neurologist of the highest category, deputy chief physician of the Rehaline rehabilitation center. – This must be done as soon as possible, otherwise the problem will become chronic … And here combination therapy comes to the fore, when non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are combined with drugs that relax muscles and relieve tension. When choosing a drug, it is better to give preference to a drug in the form of a prolonged action. Then, instead of several pills, you have to take just one a day. “
According to the results of 2019 research, in the most severe period of isolation, the severity of symptoms in people with chronic pain increased – this is due to both physical inactivity, a decrease in the quality of sleep, and with the development of phobias and psychological disorders. As a rule, the cause of stress can be significant changes in lifestyle: loss of loved ones, divorce, chronic conflicts in the family, difficulties in relationships with colleagues, job change or dismissal, financial difficulties. All of these factors can trigger anxiety, fear, panic attacks, and even depression.
“According to statistics, every third patient dealing with chronic pain belongs to the type of“ distress personality ”, – says Olga Kotova, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of the Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatic Pathology, Faculty of Continuing Medical Education, Medical Institute of the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia, neurologist, psychiatrist, psychotherapist. – Such people have a large number of negative attitudes and beliefs, tend to look pessimistic at many things, draw an image of a dead end in their head. They often fixate on one way out of a situation, not seeing any alternatives. As a rule, they suffer from depression or anxiety disorders, against the background of which attacks of chronic pain develop. In such situations, the use of anti-anxiety drugs, as well as psychotherapy, can be added to drug treatment. ”
Back pain is not a diagnosis, but an important symptom that you should immediately pay attention to and consult a specialist. In this case, treatment should be comprehensive.
- Moderate physical activity. As soon as the acute pain syndrome passes, it is necessary to gradually introduce a feasible load that does not cause discomfort. This can be light exercises, physical therapy, walks in the fresh air, stretching.
- Organization of comfortable living conditions. Office employees are most often affected by back pain. They need to alternate between work and rest time: every 45 minutes of vigorous activity, take a break of 10 minutes. The computer monitor should be positioned directly in front of the face, the chair should have armrests that support your elbows, and a firm and fairly tight back to support your spine. It is imperative how people with back pain sleep. The prone position is best avoided, the mattress should be moderately firm, the pillow soft enough to comfortably lie on your back.
- Sleep. It is night sleep that helps the body to fully rest, and the brain to process and structure information. The same neurotransmitters that are involved in brain activity work to restore the body, and sleep is the ideal state for their productive activity.
- Dealing with stress . Unfortunately, already being in severe stress, general recommendations will not help – you need to contact a specialist, for example, a psychologist or psychotherapist, in order to relieve excessive emotional stress. But for prevention, you can: contemplate nature, and not necessarily being in nature – even watching landscapes on TV contributes to relaxation; switching attention is an easy way to switch from inner experiences to the external environment. Make yourself think to find, for example, 5 wooden objects in the room. The more difficult the task, the easier it will be to get away from the worries.
- Taking care of yourself . Massage has been shown to reduce levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. If it is not possible to regularly visit a specialist, massage can be done independently, stretching the neck, collar zone, legs, feet. The use of fragrant oil or cream will allow you to connect the sense of smell to the process, and pleasant music will help form a comprehensive care with the involvement of several senses, which will have a beneficial effect on the entire nervous system.