Backache is referred to as low back pain, i.e. the pain in the lower back known as lumbago. A significant percentage of people, approximately 7 out of 10 will develop back pain at some point in their lives. It is the main cause of sick leave in the developed world, thus giving a social dimension to the problem.
The lumbar region consists of 5 lumbar vertebrae (O1-O5) and between them there are the intervertebral discs; the spinal cord extends down the spine behind the vertebral bodies while nerves come out from it.
The causes of back pain are usually musculoskeletal problems of a benign nature, such as soft tissue injuries (muscles, ligaments) and they are mainly responsible for the symptoms of the disease. But there are also other causes which, are categorized into mechanical, inflammatory, neoplastic, metabolic, but also psychosomatic.
Mechanical causes are disc herniation, disc degeneration, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis and fractures.
Inflammatory causes include ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and osteomyelitis.
Neoplastic causes include bone tumors, prostate cancer, colon cancer and retroperitoneal fibrosis.
The osteoporotic fractures are considered metabolic causes.
Depression and other conditions that affect a person’s mental health can also cause the onset of the disease.
A special topic of discussion is back pain in childhood which can be due to ligament ruptures, spondylolysis, spondylitis, spondylolisthesis and scoliosis among others and which should always be investigated with magnetic resonance imaging and blood examinations.
In most cases, the usual treatment administered for back pain is adequate to solve the problem and, therefore, you may not need a special diagnostic test, but when the symptoms last more than a month, there is a history of injury, history of cortisone administration, history of cancer, neurological deficiency, unexplained weight loss or unexplained fever, a diagnostic test must be carried out immediately, mainly with magnetic resonance imaging.
Medicines, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants and painkillers can be used to treat back pain, but not for long.
Physiotherapy is also used in the treatment of back pain, in certain cases, with a special exercise program that the patient can follow.