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BACKACHE

What is it?
Pain or stiffness in the back that may be continuous or intermittent.

Symptoms: Pain, together with stiffness may develop slowly or suddenly. It may be a continuous ache, or it may only occur when in a certain position. The pain may vary, Not only in intensity, but also in position. Movement, as well as coughing or sneezing sometimes aggravates the pain.

Causes: Long term poor posture, Strain or injury to the muscles or ligaments of the back or the muscles of the abdomen, Injury to the cushions or discs between the vertebrae, Stress and tension.

Possible complications: Non specific backaches are generally self healing, but tend to recur.

Treatment in the home: Take mild painkillers such as asprin or paracetamol according to the instructions on the container.
Apply heat to ease the pain, e.g. have a hot bath or use a hot water bottle.
Complete bed rest on a firm mattress. Rest is essential to relieve pressure on injured structures.

When to consult a doctor: If the pain persists for more than three or four days, If you begin to havebowel or bladder trouble.

What the doctor may do: Advice you to continue with self-help measures for a few days, prescribe painkillers, a muscle relaxant or an anti-inflammatory drug. Give advice on back exercises, arrange for physiotherapy, and advise on complete bad rest, if the pain persists, he may arrange for X-rays of your spine to determine the underlying cause. Suggest wearing of a special corset which supports the back.

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