Causes of Acute Back Pain

Q: My wife had a severe pain in the back. She is crying in pain. Her full body is stiff. I gave her aceclofenac, omeprazole and baclofen. What should I do now?
-By Farooque

Reply:

Such acute back pains are usually mechanical in nature. Most often they are caused by some form of injury.

What Causes Sudden Backache?

As we age up, the ligaments and tendons supporting our spine tends to loose their flexibility. Also the cushions (inter-vertebral disc) provided between adjacent vertebrae of the back loose their fluid to become less elastic.

Any undue strain over the back, like lifting of heavy objects, overstretching of muscles or inappropriate posture during activities can lead to injury to the soft tissue (ligaments or tendons) of the back. This may cause acute back pain.

Our bones also tend to become brittle as we age up. Apart from normal aging, pathological condition like osteoporosis is very common in women. So rarely, bony injury can also occur in our back.

If injury is not the cause, pathological conditions like arthritis could have caused back pain. Arthritis can affect any joint of the body.

Evaluating a Patient

She needs to be investigated to find out the exact cause of back pain.

A X-ray back has to be done. If she is unable to go to the hospital, you can contact the hospital to get the X-ray done at home itself. This will reveal any bony deformity or problem.

Your doctor may want her to get a CT scan of her back. This would reveal any soft tissue injury such as ligament twisting or rupture.

Treatment

This would depend on the cause of back pain.

Usually, over the counter pain medications are enough. However, opioids may be given if pain is too much.

Bed rest is recommended only for a day or two after the commencement of treatment.

Sometimes, tricyclic anti-depressants are given. They have been seen to provide relief in many patients of back pain.

Gradually, as the patient heals up, a physiotherapist prescribes light exercises for the back muscles. These are usually stretching exercises.

Rarely, surgery is done for repair.

Take Care,

Buddy M.D.