I've been nursing a bad back for quite some time. My doctor has prescribed a muscle relaxant but I'm sticking with Tylenol and trying to tough it out. What causes these flare-ups I'm having? I'll be going along doing fine and then bam! I have a day or week of extreme pain again.
Nonspecific low back pain continues to baffle and befuddle many people -- patients and doctors alike. Studies have shown us that there are many factors to consider. Besides the mechanical disorder in the spine, there can be stressors and social factors that aggravate the condition. Some people can predict the change in weather by their aching joints and increased back pain. This may be caused by receptors in the joints that respond to changes in pressure such as the barometric pressure. You may be one of those people without knowing it. Others are aware that their own fears and phobias set them off. Fear-avoidance behaviors (FABs) have become a new phrase in our vocabulary. Patients who are afraid of reinjury or increased pain, stop moving or change the way they move to avoid back pain. This response to pain can actually result in increased painful symptoms and may be part of your clinical picture. One good way to tell for sure is to keep a journal of events, activities, and stresses. At the same time, log in how you are feeling, what you've been eating, and how many hours of sleep you are getting. Exercise is also important. Keep track of the type, frequency, intensity, and duration of any exercise program you may be following. By looking back over records of behavior and back pain, you may be able to identify a pattern to help you. This could be both factors that improve your symptoms and the things that seem to aggravate your symptoms. Then you can modify your lifestyle to include more of the positive factors and slowly reduce or eliminate those things that seem to aggravate your condition.