We often focus on our differences, but men and women have a lot in common too. Unfortunately, back pain is one of those things. But we can work on getting rid of it together! Here are some of the most common back conditions that both men and women suffer from.
Piriformis Syndrome and Sciatica
Piriformis syndrome happens when the sciatic nerve is compressed near the piriformis muscle (the muscle that connects the lowest vertebrae with the top part of your leg, deep in the buttocks) causing pain. Someone with piriformis syndrome might just think they suffer from sciatica, which is compression of the sciatic nerve that causes radiating pain from the lower back down the leg. Your doctor can help you know whether you suffer from piriformis syndrome or sciatica and can help relieve your pain. Your doctor might suggest using something like the Chirp Wheel on your lower body to help stretch and relieve tight muscles. Read more about how to stretch and roll on the Chirp Wheel for sciatica here.
Muscle strain or sprain
Muscle strains are an injury to your muscle or tendon usually caused by straining to lift something or stressing a muscle by repeated movement. A muscle sprain is inflammation or damage to the ligaments between the bones. Some symptoms of a back sprain include pain that gets worse when you move, muscle cramping or spasms, or less range of motion in the joints. This could mean difficulty walking, bending, or standing up straight. Minor muscle strains overstretch your muscle or tendon and can easily be treated at home, and major muscle strains might tear your muscle or tendon and should be treated by a doctor. We often refer to muscle strains as pulled muscles. And of course, they frequently occur in the lower back, but strains also occur in the neck, shoulder, and hamstrings, causing pain and immobility. If you experience swelling, pain with movement, muscle spasms, weak muscles, muscle cramps, and bruising, you might have a muscle strain. One of the best things you can do to relieve this type of pain is heat therapy or cold therapy.
Herniated, bulging, or ruptured discs
A disc has a harder outer layer and a soft inner layer. A herniated disc is a disc where the inner layer is starting to press into the outer layer, causing inflammation and pain. A ruptured disc is when the inner layer of the disc has ruptured the outer layer. Symptoms include pain in the arms or legs, numbness or tingling, and weakness in your muscles. Ask your doctor if heat or cold therapy would help you to relieve the pain that comes with this issue. Try low impact exercises such as walking or swimming. Also consider trying the Gentle Chirp Wheel+ to gently massage the muscles and relieve pain. If your pain worsens with any of these activities, stop and ask your doctor what else you can do.
Spinal arthritis is inflammation of the joints in the spine. Spinal arthritis usually affects the lower back and neck, but it can occur anywhere along the spine. Spinal arthritis could mean osteoarthritis, which is caused by the normal wear and tear of joints. Or it could mean rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks itself. Those with spinal arthritis experience pain and stiffness. Obesity, age, or certain conditions (diabetes, gout, psoriasis, tuberculosis, irritable bowel syndrome, lyme disease) can worsen or cause spinal arthritis. You’ll want to start by seeing your doctor if you have back pain that lasts longer than 3 or 4 weeks. Ask your doctor about heat therapy, cold therapy, pills, injections, or physical therapy. The Chirp Wheel+ could also be beneficial for increasing the range of motion in the spine and spine strength.
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