Keywords of this word: Back


Medical Dictionary

Most people su?er from backache at times during their lives, much of which has no identi?able cause – non-speci?c back pain. This diagnosis is one of the biggest single causes of sickness absence in the UK’s working population. Certain occupations, such as those involving long periods of sedentary work, lifting, bending and awkward physical work, are especially likely to cause backache. Back pain is commonly the result of sporting activities.

Non-speci?c back pain is probably the result of mechanical disorders in the muscles, ligaments and joints of the back: torn muscles, sprained LIGAMENTS, and FIBROSITIS. These disorders are not always easy to diagnose, but mild muscular and ligamentous injuries are usually relieved with symptomatic treatment – warmth, gentle massage, analgesics, etc. Sometimes back pain is caused or worsened by muscle spasms, which may call for the use of antispasmodic drugs. STRESS and DEPRESSION (see MENTAL ILLNESS) can sometimes result in chronic backache and should be considered if no clear physical diagnosis can be made.

If back pain is severe and/or recurrent, possibly radiating around to the abdomen or down the back of a leg (sciatica – see below), or is accompanied by weakness or loss of feeling in the leg(s), it may be caused by a prolapsed intervertebral disc (slipped disc) pressing on a nerve. The patient needs prompt investigation, including MRI. Resting on a ?rm bed or board can relieve the symptoms, but the patient may need a surgical operation to remove the disc and relieve pressure on the a?ected nerve.

The nucleus pulposus – the soft centre of the intervertebral disc – is at risk of prolapse under the age of 40 through an acquired defect in the ?brous cartilage ring surrounding it. Over 40 this nucleus is ?rmer and ‘slipped disc’ is less likely to occur. Once prolapse has taken place, however, that segment of the back is never quite the same again, as OSTEOARTHRITIS develops in the adjacent facet joints. Sti?ness and pain may develop, sometimes many years later. There may be accompanying pain in the legs: SCIATICA is pain in the line of the sciatic nerve, while its rarer analogue at the front of the leg is cruralgia, following the femoral nerve. Leg pain of this sort may not be true nerve pain but referred from arthritis in the spinal facet joints. Only about 5 per cent of patients with back pain have true sciatica, and spinal surgery is most successful (about 85 per cent) in this group.

When the complaint is of pain alone, surgery is much less successful. Manipulation by physiotherapists, doctors, osteopaths or chiropractors can relieve symptoms; it is important ?rst to make sure that there is not a serious disorder such as a fracture or cancer.

Other local causes of back pain are osteoarthritis of the vertebral joints, ankylosing spondylitis (an in?ammatory condition which can severely deform the spine), cancer (usually secondary cancer deposits spreading from a primary tumour elsewhere), osteomyelitis, osteoporosis, and PAGET’S DISEASE OF BONE. Fractures of the spine – compressed fracture of a vertebra or a break in one of its spinous processes – are painful and potentially dangerous. (See BONE, DISORDERS OF.)

Backache can also be caused by disease elsewhere, such as infection of the kidney or gall-bladder (see LIVER), in?ammation of the PANCREAS, disorders in the UTERUS and PELVIS or osteoarthritis of the HIP. Treatment is e?ected by tackling the underlying cause. Among the many known causes of back pain are:

Mechanical and traumatic causes

Congenital anomalies. Fractures of the spine. Muscular tenderness and ligament strain. Osteoarthritis. Prolapsed intervertebral disc. Spondylosis.

In?ammatory causes

Ankylosing spondylitis. Brucellosis. Osteomyelitis. Paravertebral abscess. Psoriatic arthropathy. Reiter’s syndrome. Spondyloarthropathy. Tuberculosis.

Neoplastic causes

Metastatic disease. Primary benign tumours. Primary malignant tumours.

Metabolic bone disease

Osteomalacia. Osteoporosis. Paget’s disease.

Referred pain

Carcinoma of the pancreas. Ovarian in?ammation and tumours. Pelvic disease. Posterior duodenal ulcer. Prolapse of the womb.

Psychogenic causes

Anxiety. Depression.

People with backache can obtain advice from Medical Dictionary


Medical Dictionary

A technique whereby an auditory or visual stimulus follows on from a physiological response. Thus, a subject’s ELECTROCARDIOGRAM (ECG) may be monitored, and a signal passed back to the subject indicating his or her heart rate: for example, a red light if the rate is between 50 and 60 beats a minute; a green light if it is between 60 and 70 a minute. Once the subject has learned to discriminate between these two rates, he or she can then learn to control the heart rate. How this is learned is not clear, but by utilising biofeedback some subjects can control heart rate and blood pressure, relax spastic muscles, bring migraine under control and even help constipation.... Medical Dictionary


Medical Dictionary

Many glands which produce HORMONES are in?uenced by other hormones, particularly those secreted by the HYPOTHALAMUS (a controlling centre in the brain) and the PITUITARY GLAND. If the amount of hormone produced by a gland rises, negative feedback mechanisms operate by instructing the pituitary gland, via the hypothalamus, to produce less of the stimulating hormones. This cuts activity in the target gland. Should the amount of hormone produced fall, the feedback mechanism weakens with the result that the output of stimulating hormones increases.... Medical Dictionary


Dictionary of Tropical Medicine

Spider found mostly in Australia and is similar to the Black Widow of America and the Button spider of South Africa. Belongs to the species Latrodectus hasseltii.... Dictionary of Tropical Medicine


Beneficial Teas

Back pain is usually an affection caused by both external and internal problems. Standing too long, pregnancy, weight lifting or pulmonary problems could cause severe back pains. Other than a prolonged pain localized in your back area, this affection could also interfere with your coronary and circulatory systems: the blood pressure is high and it’s hard for your heart to pump oxygen in your system. How a Tea for Back Pain Works A Tea for Back Pain’s main purpose is to make your body release enough endorphins to induce a state of calmness and well-being to your entire organism. In order to do that, a Tea for Back Pain must contain an important amount of nutrients, acids, volatile oils, antioxidants, enzymes and minerals (such as sodium, iron, magnesium and manganese). Efficient Tea for Back Pain An efficient Tea for Back Pain must show results as quickly as possible and be one hundred percent sure (when choosing an herbal treatment, always be well informed of the risks). If you don’t know which teas could have a positive effect on your health, here’s a list for guidance: - Ginger Tea – will bring relief to your pain and improve your general health in no time. You can also take it in case you’re suffering from anemia, asthenia, loss of appetite or headaches. However, in order to avoid other health complications, make sure you’re using a small amount of herbs when preparing this decoction. Otherwise, you might develop an acid foods and drinks intolerance. - Turmeric Tea – not very popular among Europeans, this Tea for Back pain acts as a great pain reliever, calming all your affected areas and restoring your general health in no time. You may also want to try it in case you’re suffering from inflammations, bruises, spreads, skin or digestive issues. Make sure you don’t drink more than 2 cups per day and everything will be fine. - Valerian Tea – used as a great sedative since ancient times, when the Greeks and the Romans drank a cup of it before every night, this Tea for Back Pain will nourish your nervous system and bring relief to your wounded areas. However, make sure you pay attention to the amount of tea you’re ingesting in order to avoid hallucinations and even death. Tea for Back Pain Side Effects When taken properly, these teas are generally safe. However, exceeding the number of cups recommended per day may lead to a series of affections, such as nausea, upset stomach, vomiting and even death. If you’ve been taking one of these teas for a while and you’ve noticed some unusual reactions from your body, ask for medical assistance immediately! If you have the green light from your doctor and there’s nothing that could interfere with your treatment, choose a Tea for Back Pain that fits best your needs and enjoy its health benefits!... Beneficial Teas