Back pain is not an uncommon thing. It’s something that is seen in millions of patients throughout Canada and across the world every single day.
In many cases, Dr. Ali Ghahary, a family physician who practices in Vancouver, British Columbia, finds that back pain is due to poor posture or sitting for prolonged periods of time – for example, those who have desk jobs. Other causes of back pain can be due to the muscles and spinal ligaments becoming strained or sprained. This type of back injury can be caused by something as simple as moving the wrong way or lifting heavy items. While this kind of back injury can be very painful and take several weeks to fully recover, it is easily treatable.
If your back pain is due to sitting for long periods, it’s important to get up and move around so that your muscles don’t become stiff. However, if your back pain is due to a muscle strain or sprain, Dr. Ali Ghahary recommends getting as much rest and moving as little as possible. While doing nothing can be a difficult concept to grasp for some people, it is especially important when a back strain or sprain is involved. By doing too much too soon, you put yourself at an increased risk of worsening the injury, thus having to start the healing process all over again – and you also become susceptible to developing more back injuries in the future.
To help speed along the healing process, Dr. Ali Ghahary recommends patients alternate between applying heat and ice to the affected areas, and also suggests taking over-the-counter pain relief medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. In cases where the pain is severe or persists, Dr. Ghahary will usually patients with a muscle relaxer. Many muscle relaxers can cause drowsiness, so it is important to not drive or operate heavy machinery when taking these kinds of medications.
Strains and sprains, however, are not the only cause of back pain. While they are easily treatable with the aforementioned methods, certain causes of back pain may be indicative of other serious health problems and require other types of treatment.
Bladder infections can also cause back pain if the infection has spread to the kidneys. Unlike back pain that is the result of a sprain or strain and tends to be better when lying in certain positions and/or not moving at all, back pain as the result of a kidney infection is usually persistent and severe. The patient may also experience nausea and vomiting, fever and chills due to the infection. Along with over-the-counter pain relief medications, Dr. Ali Ghahary will also prescribe the patient with a course of antibiotics to help get rid of the infection. To prevent the risk of kidney and urinary tract infections in the future, it is important to avoid sugary soft drinks and instead drink plenty of water each day, and empty the bladder as soon as you feel the need to.
If you suffer from back pain and would like the opinion of a medical professional, Dr. Ali Ghahary is available to see patients on a walk-in basis at Brentwood Medical Clinic.