Back pain is a common condition that people will experience in their lifetime. Several factors may contribute to the problem, including engaging in carrying heavy loads, over sitting or standing.
Frequent back pain can also be caused by age-related factors such as menopause among women, ligament tear in the spine, rheumatoid and osteoarthritis (degenerative disc diseases), and trauma after an accident.
Dr Emmanuel Lubega, a physiotherapist at Kisubi hospital, says when back pain is caused by carrying heavy loads, the bones lose shape (oestrophytes) and curve abnormally inward at the lumber region. Among pregnant women (especially those in the last trimester), back pain may occur due to the uneven distribution of weight.
However, after childbirth, the pain tends to disappear. Severe cases of back pain present with symptoms such as persistent aching and stiffness along the spine, including the neck and upper back, recurrent pain in the back after sitting or standing for long periods of time, and difficulty in standing upright.
Dr Lubega says seeking medical help over back pain depends on the cause of the pain, a person’s age and the type of work they do. For instance, if a person has suffered trauma, it is aisable that they see a doctor as soon as possible.
Dr Enoch David Kawalya, a medical officer at Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services in Uganda (CoRSU), says in some cases, treatment for back pain is rehabilitative.
“It may involve physical exercises, physiotherapy, massage and the use of painkillers,” he notes. Dr Lubega says back pain can also be prevented if people maintain good sitting posture. This means sitting in an upright position at all times. He also aises against sleeping on soft mattresses, saying while they may be comfortable, the hard ones are usually recommended.
•Back pain can be prevented by having balanced meals that contain minerals such as calcium, potassium, zinc and iron. These can be found in foods such as matooke, milk, eggs, pumpkins, soya milk, grains, and vegetables.
•Engage in daily physical activity to keep the back fit and flexible.
•Avoid sitting or standing in one position for long periods of time. Take regular breaks and move around and stretch
•Make sure the chair at your workstation is well designed to properly support your back and neck properly.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor