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Back pain and copd: Risk for Lower Back Pain Seen With Asthma, COPD


Risk for Lower Back Pain Seen With Asthma, COPD

Patients with asthma and/or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have an increased risk for the development of long-term lower back pain, thus underscoring the importance of considering the overall health of all individuals who are experiencing long-term lower back pain. Researchers conducted a prospective cohort study based on the Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC) from 2006 to 2010, and their results were published in the European Spine Journal.

The investigators sought to evaluate whether respiratory disorders increased the risk for troublesome lower back pain in individuals who had experienced no or occasional lower back pain at baseline. Adults >18 years of age who had responded to the SPHC survey 2006/2010 were included in the analysis. Study inclusion was based on a response to the following question: “During the previous 6 months, have you experienced low back pain?” Responses varied and included the following “No,” “Yes, a couple of days in the last 6 months,” “Yes, a couple of days each month,” “Yes, a couple of days each week,” and “Yes, every day.” Individuals who responded with either “No” or “Yes, a couple of days in the last 6 months” were defined as having no or occasional lower back pain.

A total of 17,177 adults who reported no or occasional lower back pain in the previous 6 months were included in the study. Individuals who reported experiencing lower back pain more often than occasionally were excluded from the study. Of those who were excluded, 757 patients had asthma, 168 patients had COPD, and 46 patients had both asthma and COPD.

Based on adjusted study results, those participants with asthma had a risk for troublesome lower back pain at follow-up (risk ratio [RR], 1.29; 95% CI, 0.92-1.81), but the risk was not statistically significant. However, patients with COPD did have a significantly increased risk for lower back pain (RR, 2.0; 95% CI, 1.13-3.56; P =.02). Last, patients with asthma and concurrent COPD also had a significantly increased risk for lower back pain (RR, 3.55; 95% CI, 1.58-7.98; P =.002).

The investigators concluded that these results “highlight the importance to consider the overall health of people suffering from [lower back pain], and to take the multimorbidity perspective into consideration.” Additional longitudinal studies are warranted to confirm the study findings.


Rasmussen-Barr E, Magnusson C, Nordin M, Skillgate E. Are respiratory disorders risk factors for troublesome low-back pain? A study of a general population cohort in Sweden [published online July 19, 2019]. Eur Spine J. doi:10.1007/s00586-019-06071-5

Pain Management With COPD | Everyday Health

Chronic obstructive lung disease, or COPD, is a progressive lung disease that, over time, can make it difficult to breathe. Although COPD itself doesn’t directly cause pain, symptoms like persistent cough and chest tightness can cause pain.

COPD-related pain is usually located in the shoulders, neck, lower back, and chest. And the combination of pain, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, and trouble breathing can take a toll on your quality of life.

According to a review of studies published in 2014 in the journal BMJ Open, anywhere from 32 to 60 percent of people with COPD reported experiencing COPD-related pain. So if you have COPD, you may benefit from pain management strategies.

Reasons for COPD and Pain

There are direct and indirect reasons you may be experiencing pain with COPD. “COPD causes pain because the lungs become blown up like balloons. This causes pressure on the chest wall, the spine, and the diaphragm,” explains Harish Seethamraju, MD, medical director of the lung transplant program at the Methodist J.C. Walter Jr. Transplant Center in Houston. “This pain is real and severe, and it can be aggravated just by walking.”

Another common cause of pain in COPD is osteoporosis, a condition that involves bone loss. Osteoporosis may affect around 35 percent of people with COPD. This link may be due to COPD inflammation, use of steroid medication in COPD management, a history of smoking, poor nutrition, or inactivity.

People with osteoporosis are at an increased risk of bone fractures, which can also exacerbate COPD pain. Extreme bouts of coughing from COPD may cause muscle strains in your chest muscles or even lead to a broken rib, especially if you have osteoporosis. And if an osteoporosis fracture occurs in the spine, it can be difficult to fully expand the lungs and the rib cage, and even result in further loss of lung function in those with COPD.

What’s more, “the stress of struggling to breathe can cause anxiety,” Dr. Seethamraju says. “This can cause a person’s pain threshold to decrease and pain sensitivity to increase.”

How to Manage COPD Pain

The right strategy for COPD pain management can vary depending on the cause of your pain and how advanced your COPD is. “Osteoporosis with COPD needs to be recognized and treated appropriately,” says Seethamraju. Some common options for COPD pain relief include:

  • Paying attention to your breathing. Focus on inhaling slowly and exhaling slowly, sitting up straight, and breathing from the diaphragm. Slowing your breathing down can help you feel more in control and relax your mind and body. Try breathing techniques like pursed lip breathing and diaphragmatic breathing.
  • Eating a healthy diet. Fatty, fried, and processed foods can contribute to gas and bloating, which can trigger chest pain and tightness. Eating too much salt can cause you to retain water, making it more difficult to breathe. Instead, aim to eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy, and lean meat, fish, and poultry. And try to eat small, frequent meals to avoid excess bloating.
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation. “This is the best treatment for chest pain due to expanded lungs,” Seethamraju says. “Pulmonary rehab strengthens the muscles of the chest wall and reduces pain.” This approach includes physical therapy, emotional support, and breathing retraining. It can decrease anxiety as well as improve strength and endurance.
  • Pain medication. If your pain is mild, your doctor may suggest trying over-the-counter pain medication like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. If your pain is more severe, your doctor may prescribe opioid medications, which are often used to treat chronic pain. “They must be used with caution, but they can relieve pain as well as reduce the struggle to breathe in advanced COPD,” Seethamraju says. In large doses, these medications can dangerously decrease breathing, but used at the lowest effective dose, opioids can be part of COPD pain management without significant risk of addiction.
  • Antidepressants. “For people with COPD who are also suffering from pain aggravated by emotional stress, an antidepressant medication may be helpful,” Seethamraju says. Antidepressants may also help reduce anxiety and physical discomfort for people with COPD. Talk therapy and supportive care may also help.

While the relationship between COPD and pain is being increasingly recognized, more research still needs to be done on how to manage.

If you have COPD and experience any change in your discomfort or pain levels, be sure to talk with your doctor. And if you are struggling emotionally with pain, ask for help. Work closely with your doctor to determine the cause of your pain and identify the best lifestyle modifications and treatment options for you.

Additional reporting by Kerry Weiss

How to Combat Back Pain Caused By COPD

While COPD is usually characterized as a breathing disorder, it is a complex disease that can cause a variety of different ailments besides respiratory decline. One of of these is back pain, a serious ailment that afflicts nearly fifty percent of patients with COPD.


Back pain caused by COPD can be mild or severe, and in extreme cases even debilitating. It can be acute and short-term, or it can be chronic, lasting for days or months at a time.


Besides just being plain painful, back pain can interfere with your daily life and make it difficult to continue your normal routine. If severe, it can even interfere with your COPD treatment and leave you unable to exercise and do other things that are important for your health.



Luckily, back pain is very treatable, and there are many simple things you can do in your daily life to minimize your back pain. In this guide, we’re going to introduce you to a variety of natural techniques and practical methods you can use to get relief.


Whether it’s acute or chronic, most types of back pain can be reduced with healthy habits and lifestyle changes like exercise, posture, and diet. That’s why it’s so important to examine your everyday habits and lifestyle to identify things that might be contributing to your pain.


If you don’t start treating your back pain now, it may only get worse over time. That’s why it’s important to take action now, before the pain takes an even greater toll on your life and your ability to manage your COPD.


Instead of waiting it out or assuming your back pain will go away on its own, learn what kinds of actions you can take in your daily life keep your back healthy and strong. In this article, we are going to help you do just that, by helping you understand why COPD causes back pain and how you can use a variety of simple methods to treat your back pain at its source.


Understanding Back Pain and COPD




Back pain is a very general symptom that can have a variety of different causes. But if you have COPD, your back pain could be directly or indirectly caused by your disease.


COPD-related back pain tends to be chronic and also tends to affect the lower back. In fact, research shows that more than forty percent of people with COPD experience chronic lower back pain.


COPD patients can suffer from any type of back pain or a combination of multiple kinds at once. Here is a quick overview of the main types of back pain and how to recognize them.


Acute Back Pain



Acute back pain is usually defined as short-term back pain lasting for less than six weeks. It is usually caused by injury or trauma and resolves relatively quickly.


Many people feel acute back pain as a sharp pain or dull ache. The pain can be minor or it can be severe enough to affect your daily life, making it difficult to move, work, and sleep.


Chronic Back Pain

Chronic back pain is back pain that lasts longer than six weeks and doesn’t get better on its own. It can be caused by inflammation, strain, or injury and doesn’t usually get better on its own.


Chronic back pain is often in the lower back and feels like a deep aching or burning. It tends to travel from your back to your hips and legs and get worse when you stay still for long periods of time.





Mechanical Back Pain


Mechanical back pain is any kind of back pain caused by a mechanical injury to your muscles or spine. That includes pain from strain, accidental injuries, poor posture, and other physical causes.


Inflammatory Back Pain



Inflammatory back pain is, in a way, more chemical than it is physical. It is caused inflammation inside your body that damages the tissue of your muscles, bones, and/or joints in your back.


Back pain caused by inflammation is often chronic and gets worse when you sit for too long or don’t get enough physical activity. Chronic back pain is usually more difficult to relieve and manage than acute or mechanical back pain, and the most common treatments are exercise and anti-inflammatory drugs.


How COPD Causes Back Pain





Osteoporosis is a common cause of back pain in people with COPD. You can get osteoporis if you don’t eat enough calcium, which impairs your body’s ability to build and repair your bones.


As a result, your bones become very thin, weak, and brittle. They can become so weak, in fact, that a minor bump, fall, or even normal activities and movements can cause your bones to break.



Most people don’t notice any symptoms in the early stages, but osteoporosis can cause severe pain as it progresses and causes invisible injuries. This pain usually stems from tiny cracks, breaks, and compression fractures that patients often don’t even realize they have.


The most common causes of osteoporosis-related back pain are spinal compression fractures, which usually cause a more severe kind of back pain. This type of injury tends to hurt most when you stand, walk, twist, and bend, and tends to lessen when you lie down.


Osteoporosis is particularly common in COPD patients, who often struggle to get enough nutrients from their diet—including calcium—because of how the disease affects their bodies. COPD patients also tend to avoid exercise, which weakens your bones and can lead to bone-related back pain.


Lack of Physical Activity (Muscle Atrophy and Disuse Syndrome)



Not getting enough exercise is another major factor that makes people with COPD more prone to back pain. This is a risk for patients with advanced COPD, in particular, who often find it difficult to stay active because of their severe physical and respiratory symptoms.


Not getting enough physical activity causes your muscles to break down (atrophy) and can even weaken your bones and joints. It also hurts the flexibility of your back, which can cause stiffness and pain when you move.


Unfortunately, many people avoid exercise when they have back pain, which can end up making it even worse. This can start a vicious cycle where lack of physical activity causes back pain, and untreated back pain can causes patients to avoid physical acitivity even more.


Patients that live too sedentary a lifestyle can also develop disuse syndrome, a disorder that stems from not using your body enough. It can lead to back pain, other chronic pains, cardiovascular disease, and mental disorders like anxiety and depression.


Chronic Inflammation




One of the most direct ways that COPD can cause back pain is through chronic inflammation. This happens when your immune system’s inflammatory response stays active all the time, which is a very common symptom of COPD.


Chronic inflammation wears down your body and can cause a variety of serious health conditions, including heart disease and depression. Another side effect of chronic inflammation is chronic pain, including chronic back pain, which you may feel in your muscles, bones, and joints.


Inflammatory back pain is different from mechanical back pain, and can be a sign of arthritis. While mechanical back pain usually comes from physical injury to the muscles and bones in your back, inflammatory back pain is the result of inflammation in the joints of your spine.


Back pain caused by inflammation lasts for at least three weeks and is usually felt most in the lower back. In severe cases, it can lead to a type of arthritis called ankylosing spondylitis, which can affect a variety of joints in your body, and can even cause sections of your spine to fuse together in its later stages.


Inflammatory back pain gets worse when you don’t move around for long periods of time and improves with movement and exercise. It doesn’t get better with rest and tends to be more severe in the morning after you’ve been lying in bed all night.


How to Treat Back Pain from COPD


If you have COPD and suffer from back pain, you don’t have to suffer in silence. There are many different options for treating back pain, including home treatment, medication, and implementing new habits in your daily life that support a healthy back.


Practice Good Posture



Bad posture can both cause back pain and make existing back pain worse. It can cause muscle strain and stiffness, compress your bones and joints, and lead to variety of back aches and pains.


On the other hand, good posture supports your spine and the muscles in your back so they don’t get tired or strained. By adjusting your posture, you can relieve existing back pains and prevent more pain in the future.


People with COPD are particularly prone to bad posture because of their respiratory symptoms and tendency to avoid exercise. Because of this, it is particularly important for you to watch your posture if you suffer from COPD.


Sleeping posture, in particular, is a problem for many people with COPD. One reason for this is that lying down on your back puts extra weight on your chest, which makes it more difficult to breathe.


One solution to this is to sleep on your side, which many patients find makes it easier to breathe and sleep at night. However, to keep your spine aligned and prevent back pain, you should also put a small pillow between your knees.


Another common posture issue among people with COPD is bending over at the waist whenever they feel short of breath, because they feel it makes it easier to breathe. However, you can breathe just as well and prevent unnecessary back pain by practicing breathing exercises in an upright posture.


If you suffer from back pain and COPD, don’t underestimate the power of good posture to improve how you feel. Changing your posture habits can not only relieve your back pain, but it can improve a variety of other symptoms of COPD.


To learn more about how your posture can affect your COPD, visit our guide on how to improve your COPD with good posture.




Here are some more tips for practicing proper posture to reduce back pain with COPD:


Good Standing Posture:

  • Stand completely upright with your shoulders parallel to your hips and feet.
  • Bend your knees slightly and place your feet slightly apart at about shoulder’s width.
  • Keep your shoulders pulled back, yet relaxed. Do not let them slump forward.
  • Keep your chin parallel to the ground.
  • Put your weight on the balls of your feet and shift from one foot to another if needed.


Good Sleeping Posture

  • Sleep with a good-quality, firm mattress and pillow.
  • Sleep on your back or on your side, but avoid sleeping on your stomach.
  • If you sleep on your back, put a small pillow under your knees to help keep your spine straight.
  • If you sleep on your side, put a small pillow between your knees to keep your hips and spine aligned.
  • Consider getting a special pillow or mattress designed to aid with good sleep posture or back pain.


Don’t Stay Sedentary




Many cases of back pain are caused by lack of physical activity, which is something that people with COPD often struggle with. Exercising with COPD symptoms can be very challenging, and too many patients simply give up and settle into an unhealthy, sedentary lifestyle.


However, being inactive leads to even more problems, including back pain, disuse syndrome, and worsened COPD symptoms. The more sedentary you are, the worse your symptoms will get, and the more your aches and pains will multiply.


This happens because, when you don’t get enough exercise, your muscles atrophy and get weaker and stiffer; this can lead to both long-term and short-term back pains. Additionally, as your back muscles lose strength and tone, they also become more prone to cramping and injury.




The solution to this is getting more physical activity and doing exercises that limber up and strengthen the muscles in your back. Regular exercise will not only protect your back from injury, but it can even relieve your back pain significantly.


Regular activity is especially helpful for your back if you live a sedentary lifestyle or suffer from inflammatory back pain. In those cases, getting more movement and exercise is perhaps the single most effective thing you can do to reduce your pain.


In order to keep your back in good shape, make sure to get at least 20 minutes of moderate physical activity at least three times per week. It also helps to get up at regular intervals throughout the day to stretch your back, shoulders, and spine.


Exercise Your Back




Many different kinds of physical activities can relieve pain and pressure in your back. Anything that gets your body moving can help, including stretching exercises, strength training, and cardovascular activities like walking or biking.


Stretching and strength training exercises are particularly helpful for loosening up your back muscles and strengthening the muscles that help support your back. Muscle groups to target include your abdominal muscles, hamstring muscles, and the muscles in your upper and lower back.


For the best results, you should do strength training exercises at least four times a week in sets of 3-5 repetitions. It may take some time to see results, but you should notice an increase in strength and a decrease in pain within about six weeks of starting exercise.


It is normal to feel some pain and discomfort when you first start working out and strengthening your back. However, you should be careful to start small, take it slow, and stop if it makes your pain worse.


It helps to start out with low-impact exercises like walking, stretching, and water aerobics that won’t over-stress injured muscles and joints. Abdominal muscle exercises are another great place to start because they are simple to do and they help support your back.



Depending on the severity of your pain, you may need to work with a physical therapist that can help you more gradually step up your activity and condition your back. You can also ask your doctor to help you put together an exercise plan that considers your limitations from back pain and COPD.


Along with regular physical activity, exercises that stretch and tone important back-supporting muscles can relieve pain and strengthen your back against future injuries and strain. To learn more about specific exercises you can do to target back pain, take a look at some of the following online resources.



Here are some great resources for learning exercises that strengthen the muscles supporting your back:


Always Ask Your Doctor Before Increasing Exercise




It’s important to understand that not all types of back pain can be improved with exercise; in fact, you could make certain types of back pain worse by moving around. That’s why you should always see your doctor and get your back pain diagnosed before starting any new exercises or treatments.


If you experience back pain in the form of stiffness, cramping, tightness, or sharp, shooting pains when you move around, then it may be a sign that your back muscles need more exercise and tone. However, very severe pain could be a sign of another type of injury that you could make worse by increasing your activity.


If inactivity contributes to your back pain, then making an effort to live a more active lifestyle could significantly relieve your pain. However, you should always get your pain evaluated by a medical professional before making any major changes to your level of activity.


Eat Enough Calcium and Vitamin D to Prevent Osteoporosis



Osteoporosis is a debilitating disease that can cause severe back pain and lack of physical mobility over time. It is also irreversible; once you’ve lost bone density from osteoporosis, there’s nothing you can do to get it back.


The good news is that osteoporosis is almost entirely preventable, since it is almost exclusively caused by calcium deficiency. All you have to do is get enough calcium and Vitamin D in your diet to prevent yourself from ever developing this disfiguring disease.


That’s why the best way to prevent osteoporosis-related back pain is to make sure you get enough calcium every day from the different foods that you eat. If you struggle to eat a balanced diet or suffer from vitamin deficiencies, you may need to take a calcium supplement too.


It’s also important to get enough Vitamin D, which your body needs to help it absorb the calcium you eat. Having a vitamin D deficiency can cause a calcium deficiency, which in turn causes osteoporosis.


According to US dietary guidelines, most people should get about 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day, or about two servings of calcium-rich foods. However, older adults need more; if you are a woman over the age of 50 or a man over the age of 70, you should increase your calcium intake to about 1,200 milligrams per day.


US guidelines recommend that all adults get at least 15 micrograms of vitamin D every day, or at least 20 micrograms for adults over the age of 70. You can get your daily amount from vitamin D-rich foods in your diet and from the sun, which causes your body to synthesize Vitamin D when sunlight touches your skin.




Unfortunately, both calcium deficiencies and vitamin D deficiencies are very common in the United States. If you suspect that you don’t get enough of either of these vitamins from your diet, you may need to start taking a daily supplement. However, it’s a good idea to see your doctor first to check for a deficiency.


Here are some foods you can eat to get more calcium in your diet:

  • Soybeans
  • White Beans
  • Collard Greens
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Calcium-rich fish (e.g. salmon, sardines, and rainbow trout)
  • Calcium-fortified foods (e.g. some orange juices, cereals, and grains)


Here are some rich sources of vitamin-D that can help ensure your body absorbs enough calcium:

  • Beef liver
  • Egg yolks
  • Cod liver oil
  • Fatty fish (e.g. tuna, salmon, mackerel)
  • Vitamin D-fortified dairy products (e.g. cheese, milk, and soy milk)
  • Vitamin D-fortified orange juice and cereals
  • Sunlight (About 10-20 minutes of direct sunlight during the middle of the day should meet your daily requirements. However, it may take longer during the winter, if you go out in less intense sunlight, if you have dark pigmented skin, or you don’t enough skin exposed to the sun)


Apply Ice and Heat




Heat and ice are the classic treatments for pain in your muscles and joints. It’s particularly helpful for pain caused by swelling, inflammation, and stiffness caused by injury or arthritis.


Because of this, heat and ice are often recommended as a treatment for chronic and acute back pain. Ice helps by reducing inflammation and numbing the general area, while heat helps by increasing blood flow to the area and promoting healing and flexibility.


If you experience back pain from an acute injury like muscle strain or soreness from exercising, you should ice the area for the first one to three days. Once the swelling and inflammation recedes, apply heat to the area to stimulate blood flow and healing.


For chronic back pain, the benefits of heat and ice are less clear. Some patients experience symptom relief from heat, ice, or both, but others don’t experience any reduction in pain.


If you suffer from chronic back pain because of your COPD, then you can try applying heat or ice to the painful area to see if it relieves any pain. You might also try applying heat to your back before exercising, which some patients find can improve their flexibility during exercise and reduce muscle sorness afterward.


Watch Out for Acid Reflux




Researchers have found that people with COPD are more likely to experience both lower back pain and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD is a disorder that causes your stomach acid to leak out of your stomach and into your esophagus, causing sore throat, heartburn, and other painful symptoms.


GERD can also cause “referred pain,” which describes the phenomenon of experiencing pain in a different spot than where the pain originates from. This happens when the nerves in one part of the body (e.g. your stomach) are closely connected with nerves in another part of the body (e.g. your back).


As a result, whenever you experience pain in one area, it can cause you to feel pain in the other area, too. In the case of GERD, many people experience referred lower back pain because the pain of acid reflux gets referred to the muscles in their lower back.


If you have COPD and experience lower back pain, then it might be worth considering acid reflux as a potential cause. You should at least know how to recognize the signs of GERD and talk to your doctor if you notice any symptoms.


Acid reflux is a common disorder, and it seems to be particularly common in older adults and people with COPD. It can also be worsened by tobacco smoking, which is a problem for the majority of people with COPD who smoke or have a history of smoking.


Usually, the best way to treat GERD is to change your diet and eating habits. Things like eating smaller meals and avoiding acidic foods can go a long way toward reducing GERD symptoms and chronic lower back pain.


Here are the main symptoms of GERD to watch out for:

  • Acid reflux (regurgitating sour liquid or bile, especially when reclined)
  • Lower back pain (especially if it appears after eating)
  • Worsened COPD symptoms when lying down
  • Difficulty sleeping at night
  • Burning chest pain or heartburn (especially after eating)
  • Sore throat (especially in the morning after you wake up)
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Chronic cough


Here are some tips for managing GERD to reduce your lower back pain:

  • Avoid tobacco and alcohol
  • Avoid acidic drinks like coffee, soda, caffeinated beverages, and black tea
  • Avoid acidic foods (e.g. citrus fruits, tomatoes, etc.)
  • Avoid fried foods and fatty foods
  • Avoid minty foods (e.g. peppermint and spearmint candies and gum)
  • Avoid fatty dairy foods and milk (opt for low-fat versions instead)
  • Avoid eating before bedtime and don’t lie down after eating
  • Avoid wearing clothes that feel tight around your chest, stomach, or waist
  • Manage your weight and maintain a healthy BMI
  • Limit how much food you eat at once; instead of large meals, eat several smaller meals spaced out througout the day


Try Massage Therapy




While the research on massage therapy for back pain is not conclusive, many researchers believe it can be an effective therapy for certain types of back pain. Studies show that massage may be able to improve lower back pain, upper back pain, and chronic back pain.


Massage therapy seems to be most effective at reducing pain in the short term, although some studies suggest the relieving effects of massage could last for several weeks or months. Researchers have not yet been able to determine which types of massage are the most effective, but studies have identified relaxation massage, structural massage, and thai massage as potentially helpful therapies.


Massage therapy can also help relieve muscle stiffness, making it easier to exercise and strengthen your back. It can also help you relax, release tension in your muscles, and possibly even reduce COPD symptoms.


In fact, early research suggests that massage therapy may even improve exercise endurance and reduce shortness of breath in patients with COPD. Because of this, massage is often recommended for its potential to improve a variety of ailments caused by COPD, including chronic back pain.


Try Physical Therapy




If you experience chronic back pain that lasts for more than a few weeks, you might benefit from physical therapy. However, you might need physical therapy even sooner if your doctor recommends it or if you are in severe pain.


Physical therapy can help you reduce your pain and improve your range of movement through gentle stretches and exercises. A physical therapist can even apply other therapies, such as ultrasound therapy and electrical nerve stimulators (TENS therapy), which may help relieve your back pain.


Another benefit of working with a trained physical therapist is learning safe and effective techniques for moving your back that won’t cause injury or unnecessary pain. A physical therapist can also help you target the source of your back pain in ways that you wouldn’t be able to do on your own.


What’s more, physical therapy can also help you improve your ability to exercise and do other activities with COPD. It can teach you how to exercise while managing your COPD symptoms and work with other physical limitations caused by COPD.


Get Medication For Your Pain




Sometimes, the best treatment for back pain is medication. This is especially true for serious back injuries and many types of chronic back pain.


What kind of medication you need depends on the type of back pain you experience and how frequent and severe it is. Here’s a quick look at which medications work best for different types of back pain.


Drugs for Acute Back Pain


What kind of medication is appropriate for acute back pain depends mostly on how severe it is. Because acute pains tend to get better relatively quickly, you usually only have to take medication for a short time until your discomfort begins to improve.


If the acute back pain is only minor, then simple over-the-counter pain relievers should work well enough that no heavier drugs are needed. Medications like ibuprofen, Advil, Aleve, and topical creams can usually to do the trick.


If your pain is more severe or over-the-counter medications aren’t effective, you should see your doctor to get an evaluation. If the cause is muscular, your doctor might prescribe muscle relaxants, which are very effective at relieving back muscle pain.


If you experience severe back pain, your doctor might prescribe you a heavier painkiller like an opiate. Although they can cause side effects and be highly addictive, they can be very effective for short periods to help you get through the worst of the pain.


Drugs for Chronic Back Pain


Unlike acute pain, chronic back pain is long-term and often difficult to manage. To treat chronic back pain effectively, you need to work with your doctor to come up with an individual pain management strategy.


What kinds of medications and treatments you get is determined by the cause and severity of your pain. Depending on your unique situation, you may receive any one of the medications that are prescribed for acute or inflammatory back pain, or a combination of medications.


Although it may seem strange, many doctors also prescribe antidepressants to help with chronic back pain. That’s because antidepressants can change how your brain processes pain, helping to suppress and dampen chronic back pain.


Antidepressants can also help you cope with the psychological difficulties that come with living with chronic pain. They can also help you cope with anxiety and depression, which often accompany chronic diseases like COPD.


Drugs for Inflammation and Arthritis-related Back Pain




To start with, anti-inflammatory medications are often the first step to treating inflammation-related chronic pack pain. NSAIDs (Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) are the most common type of drug prescribed, which include medications like Aspirin and Aleve.


Anti-inflammatory drugs relieve back pain by reducing inflammation in the bones and joints of your spine. It can also slow down the progression of arthritis by reducing the damage it does to your bones and joints.


Sometimes doctors prescribe drugs to suppress the immune system as a way to control severe inflammation. However, they prescribe these medications only sparingly because of their high risk for serious side effects like liver damage and anemia.


Doctors also prescribe other drugs like TNF-inhibitors and corticosteroids to treat arthritis-related back pain. But because they can have serious side effects, including infections and osteoporosis, doctors usually only prescribe corticosteroids for short periods of use.


The earlier you start treatment for inflammation and arthritis-related pain, the better your results will be. If you get diagnosed before the inflammation has caused too much damage, you may even be able to slow down or prevent some of the more advanced symptoms.


That’s why it’s important to talk to your doctor about your pain early and often, making sure to mention when anything changes or your pain becomes more severe. The more information you give your doctor, the more likely he is to be able to help you find a solution for your chronic back pain.


Treat Arthritis-Related Back Pain




As we mentioned before, people with COPD are prone to chronic inflammation and the myriad of other health conditions that chronic inflammation causes. This includes inflammation-related back pain and arthritis, including the spine-disfiguring condition ankylosing spondylitisis.


Aside from medication, there are certain habits and behaviors that can reduce inflammation-related back pain. Many of these include modifying your exercise routine to reduce spine strain and increase your back’s movement and flexibility.


Tips for reducing inflammation-related back pain:

  • Stay active to keep your spine flexible and strong.
  • Stretch your back and other joints every day. Breathing exercises and back-extension exercises are often very helpful.
  • Try light aerobic exercises that don’t strain your spine, such as swimming or low-impact aerobics.
  • Sleep with good posture on a firm mattress.
  • Rearrange your living space to accommodate any movement limitations you have.
  • Use chairs and furniture that support proper posture and support your spine when you sit.
  • Don’t smoke; tobacco smoking worsens inflammation and inflammation-related pains.


Other Therapies for Chronic Pain


So far, we’ve looked at a lot of different methods that you can use to specifically target back pain caused by COPD. However, there are also a variety of effective techniques for treating chronic pain in general that can be useful for treating chronic back pain.


These techniques can help relieve physical pain, muscle tension, and help you manage the psychological aspects of living with chronic pain. You can use them as an alternative or in combination with other pain medications and treatments.


Reduce Stress




Too much stress can do devastating things to your body and mind. It can cause physical pains, chronic inflammation (which can worsen physical pains), and cause serious mental disorders like depression.


As a result of these effects, chronic stress can both cause chronic back pain and make your back pain more severe. Over time, it can even rewire your brain to make it more sensitive to pain, amplifying any chronic pains you experience.


That’s why, if you suffer from COPD, it’s so important to look after your mental well-being and find healthy ways to manage stress. There are many ways to do this, including therapy, healthy lifestyle changes, and seeking support from family and friends.


To learn some helpful techniques for keeping stress under control, visit our guide on reducing stress and anxiety from COPD here. You’ll find a plethora of practical methods you can use to relax, cope, minimize stress, and get rid of the major stressors in your life.


Get Psychological Therapy




Many people believe that there is nothing that psychological therapy can do for a physical issue like chronic back pain. The truth is, living with chronic pain can have serious effects on your mental health, and your mental health can also affect the severity of your chronic pain.


Many types of chronic pain, including back pain, have a psychological component. That doesn’t mean that the pain is just in your head; it simply means that emotional and psychological distress can make chronic pains worse.


People with chronic pain are also more likely to experience stress, anxiety, and depression as a result of living in constant pain. Because of this, many people with chronic pains can more easily cope with their condition by seeing a psychological therapist.


Therapy can help you cope with your pain better, reduce your anxiety, and help you live a more fulfilling life. Treating your psychological symptoms may even be able to noticeably reduce the severity of your back pain.


Therapy can also help you deal with anxiety and mental distress caused by COPD. If you suffer from chronic pain and COPD, you should definitely consider seeing a therapist, especially if you also experience chronic anxiety, depression, or stress.


If you talk to your doctor, he may be able to recommend a good therapist or another mental health program for people with chronic pain or COPD. You can also find therapists in your area using online search tools like GoodTherapy or Find a Psychologist.


Try Mindfulness Meditation




This kind of meditation uses quiet reflection to help you calm both your body and mind. It can help you disrupt negative thought patterns about your pain and even change how your brain is wired so that you experience pain less intensely.


Research studies have proven that mindfulness meditation can be effective, if only slightly, for chronic pains. In addition, they show that it can also improve symptoms of depression, overall quality of life, and even emotional functioning in COPD patients.


Use Guided Imagery

This type of meditation helps you relax by focusing on positive thoughts and sensations. It can help you reduce stress, cope with your pain better, and serve as a distraction from your pain.


Studies show that guided imagery can be effective for pain caused by fibromyalgia and arthritis, and may even help psychological issues like anxiety and stress. This suggests that guided imagery could be effective for other chronic pains, including back pain caused by COPD.




Chronic back pain is difficult to live with, especially if you also suffer from COPD. It not only causes discomfort and limits your physical abilities, but it can significantly affect your overall quality of life as well.


Unfortunately, back pain can be a challenge to treat and often requires a multi-faceted treatment approach to manage effectively. That’s why it’s important to learn everything you can about how to treat and reduce back pain.


Through diet, exercise, healthy lifestyle changes, and psychological therapy, you can reduce or eliminate many different types of back pain. Whether it is acute, chronic, mechanical, or inflammatory, there are plenty of options you can try to get relief.


Everyone’s body and experience with pain is different, so it may take some time before you find what works best for you. But you’ll never know until you try, and with some trial and error you can figure out which treatment or combination of treatments is most effective for your pain.


That’s why it’s also important to talk to your doctor, especially if you suffer from chronic back pain. Your doctor can diagnose the source of your pain, point you toward the best options, and help you develop a long-term strategy for relief.

Reporting of pain by people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): comparative results from the HUNT3 population-based survey | BMC Public Health

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  • How to Combat Back Pain Caused by COPD


    Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a general term for lung related diseases. They are grouped together for their similar symptoms and care directives and all form a progressive disease that involves congestion of the respiratory system. Back pain is a common inconvenience caused by COPD.

    How the Cytokine Network is Affected

    Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury. When you cut yourself or stub your toe, acute inflammation occurs. It is the body’s attempt to reduce pain, fight off infection, and repair damaged tissues. With a condition like COPD inflammation can become chronic with the body always at work attempting to repair damage to the lung tissue, which for the most part is irreparable. Inflammation then becomes chronic and can be dangerous.

    Cytokines are instrumental in orchestrating the inflammatory response along the respiratory track in asthma and COPD patients. Certain inflammatory cytokines can be associated with pain behaviors and can cause injured nerves to express pain responses. This can can cause back, muscle, joint or bone pain within COPD or asthma patients.

    Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis

     Back pain could also be due to osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. These two conditions are reported in about 20% of COPD patients. Osteoporosis is the thinning of the bones, which leads to frequent fractures. Many COPD patients have given up dairy for it’s tendency to thicken mucus which is already a problem to clear for respiratory patients. This often leads to a calcium deficiency which weakens bones. There are plenty of foods that are rich in calcium that are not dairy. Add some of these to you diet and see if back or bone pain subsides. It’s also important to eat foods with magnesium as magnesium ensures that the body receives maximum benefits from calcium consumption.

    • Almonds
    • Figs
    • Bok choi
    • Okra
    • Kale
    • Tofu
    • Spinach
    • Navy beans
    • Watercress
    • Celery
    • Salmon

    Muscle Atrophy

    The pain could also be caused by something as uncomplicated as inactivity. As COPD becomes more pronounced it is common for patients to try to avoid taxing themselves to avoid exacerbation. Unfortunately this often has the opposite effect as muscles atrophy from lack of use. Diminishing core strength leads to poor posture, which leads to back pain. If you have been experiencing back pain for longer than a week it’s time to consult your physician.

    Talk to your Doctor

    Whatever the reason is for back pain, the patient should let their physician know so they can get advice on how to be relieved of the pain. There are some general tips to relieve back pain and then there are some specialized ones. However, only the physician can give proper advice depending on the cause of pain and lung function. Below are some general guidelines on how to deal with COPD back pain.

    The first 24-48 hours pain can be tolerated by chilling the affected area with an ice pack. Generally applying cold is for injuries and can alleviate swelling.  After this, patients can apply a little heat. These actions are geared towards relaxing the muscles on the back. Heating pads, heating wraps, hot baths and warm gel wraps are some of the tools to use for a simple home heat therapy. 

    Heat dilates the blood vessels in the back subsequently increasing flow of oxygen and nutrients to the spine. It also stimulates sensory receptors to decrease the pain signals being sent to the brain. This method of pain relief is inexpensive and easy. The patient should ensure it is not so hot that it burns the skin. If the pain persists then medical intervention is necessary.

    Physical Activity
    Exercise features quite prominently in the wellness of a COPD patient. There is a recommended list of exercises for COPD patients. The activities on that list are meant to keep the body mobile thus avoiding some of these consequent pains. Often patients forget that they are ailing and end up exhausting themselves. It is important to remember to pace one self. Too little activity is also a problem. Some COPD patients avoid moving too much for fear of pain. This causes the spine to tense up. It is okay to take a walk or even do aerobics, with permission from the doctor, of course. You don’t have to run a marathon, chair exercises or some light weight training might do the trick.

    Muscle Stretch
    For the less severe COPD patients who still go to work, they should try to stretch at least once every hour. Sitting in one position and even worse, slumped over, can cause massive pain in the back for any person. Their work spaces should also be arranged ergonomically. They should have chairs with proper back and neck support.  There are any number of stretches for back pain on YouTube or online. Exercise practices such as Yoga or Tai Chi could also be beneficial for strengthening your core, increasing joint flexibility, as well as working out sore muscles.

    Diet and Weight
    All COPD patients, whether they are experiencing pains or not, should eat a balanced diet. The food should be rich in essential nutrients. Low fat proteins, complex carbohydrates, a lot of fruits and vegetables and foods rich in vitamins and essential minerals. 

    A patient may also be asked to avoid, caffeine, dairy and salt.  Dairy may seem like a bit of an odd restriction but it thickens phlegm therefore blocking the respiratory passages. This causes irritation and coughing which will most definitely cause back and chest pain.

    In the same respect, optimum weight should be maintained. A Body Mass Index (BMI) between 18.5 – 24.9 is considered a normal/healthy BMI. Your BMI is determined from your height, weight and age, and is then correlated to a scale. How to calculate BMI:

    weight (lb) / [height (in)]2 x 703 = BMI

    Example: 160 (lbs) / 69 (in)2 x 703 = 23.6

    For someone who is 5’9″ and 160 lbs, they are at a healthy BMI.

    Digestion itself takes a lot of energy to accomplish so avoid foods that are hard to digest. An overly full stomach also pushes against the diaphragm making breathing extra work. Eat smaller portions and try to eat slowly.

    No Smoking
    Smoking is harmful to everyone’s health. It is worse for COPD patients. Research has proved relation between smoking and degeneration of intervertebral disc. Nicotine was found to restrict blood flow to the discs that cushion the vertebrae. To decrease the prevalence of back pain and COPD exacerbation. You’ve heard all the harmful effects of tobacco, this is just one more. Please download our free Quit Smoking Guide and quit today!

    This is a form of alternative medicine where thin needles are inserted into the skin at strategic points. This helps the body embark on a natural self-healing process. Acupuncture has the ability to stimulate the nervous system, release neurotransmitters and trigger electromagnetic impulses. All these reactions affect pain. 

    In addition to letting the physician know about acupuncture plans, the patient should make sure to find an accredited acupuncture professional. The practitioner should be licensed and trained lest they harm the patient.

    Therapeutic Massage

    One could also try out massage. Professionals knead the body applying pressure where necessary by this technique. The setting and oils used in massage are all aimed towards maximum relaxation of the person before the muscles themselves can soften. This has been reported to be very effective in the alleviation of pain and would be especially helpful for COPD patients. Be sure to ask your doctors if there are any essential oils you should be wary of at the massage therapist. 

    Stress Free
    It is very common for emotional and psychological pain to cause physical pain. When one is stressed, the body does not function properly. It is a matter of grave importance that a patient learns to manage stress and worry. It may be easier said than done but considering the health benefits, it is a goal worth chasing. It may start with simple pleasure. Take time for the things that bring you joy. Join a club full of people who have a common interest. Social contacts are important for everyone and have proven to lead to better patient outcomes.

    There are many COPD support groups. The benefits of the companionship and understanding cannot be overstated. It is easy to be tempted to become a recluse but that urge should be fought, as it does nothing for the patient’s welfare. If you would like to join our Facebook Group Just Click Here  I’m sure there are many support groups in your area through respiratory clinics or even local churches.

    Guided Imagery
    This is a technique by skilled practitioners whereby the imagination is focused in a proactive and positive way. They help participants generate mental images that create sensory perceptions. This practice brings up mental content that elicits strong emotion. It takes advantage of the connection between visual brain and involuntary nervous system. Visualization therapy, as it is otherwise called, has been used extensively to lower blood pressure and relieve stress. It also helps in the struggle to quit smoking, which is essential for COPD patients. This form of therapy is also known to manage pain and promote healing.

    Chemical Intervention
    General relief tips may not be very helpful to a COPD patient. The patient should see a doctor for a treatment plan that is in line with their medical history. Any type of pain for a COPD patient should be taken very seriously. COPD patients are often prescribed a dose of steroids for dyspnea episodes and other situations. These steroids can worsen back pain if it is due to osteoporosis. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed for osteoporosis cases. However, the patient should be very careful as overdose could lead to stomach bleed and other serious complications.

    Over the Counter Painkillers
    The doctor might determine pain to be only mild to moderate. In this case, non-steroidal pain medication will be prescribed with detailed instructions on how to take them. It is imperative that the patient follow doctor’s orders concerning medication and treatment plan. Speak to your doctor about long term use as some are detrimental to kidney function.

    Narcotic Painkillers
    This very strong pain medication can only be bought with a prescription. They are potentially addictive but they work quite well for moderate to severe back pain. A doctor would determine the dosage with other prescribed medication in mind, careful not to over medicate the body.

    Pulmonary Rehabilitation
    This is an interactive program where COPD patients learn how to cope and live the highest quality of life possible. The program integrates exercise, education and support. Exercise covers activity, education covers what to and not to do while support covers mental health. In some cases, back pain is caused by stress and feelings of despair. The support offered at Pulmonary Rehabilitation will cover this extensively.

    Calcium and Vitamin D

    For strong bones and prevention of osteoporosis, the body needs to have adequate calcium. Vitamin D, or sunshine to keep it simple, helps in the absorption of Calcium. It is not entirely necessary for one to take supplements but the physician’s advice should be considered on this matter. Effects are not immediate but the patient’s pain will decrease gradually.

    Eat Foods with Anti-Inflammatory Properties

    There are plenty of foods that fight inflammation that are good and good for you too! First of all lets look at some foods to avoid if inflammation is a problem.

    • Red meat
    • Processed meat
    • Margarine
    • Fried foods
    • White breads
    • Refined carbohydrates
    • Sugary beverages

    The good news is that foods to add are readily available as well as tasty!

    • Almonds
    • Walnuts
    • Olive oil
    • Tomatoes
    • Strawberries
    • Cherries
    • Orange
    • Salmon
    • Sardines
    • Tuna
    • Spinach
    • Collard greens

    The Mediterranean Diet is considered one of the healthiest diets overall and is especially beneficial for combating inflammation.

    Physical pain will sometimes be brought about by emotional and psychological pain. Living with COPD can be very distressing and the support suggested above might not be useful. Therefore, the doctor will prescribe anti-depressants to attack the emotional root of the back pain.

    Radiofrequency Ablation
    Science is constantly advancing to better human lives. This method of pain relief involves a heated needle and is targeted towards pain carrying nerves. The needle interferes with the transport of pain information to the brain. However, this is a little extreme and requires a doctor’s stamp of approval. This could be a last resort.

    Take Heed
    There could be a variety of causes for back pain for COPD patients. Whatever the cause, a patient should see a doctor as soon as possible to rule out dire complications. COPD patients should not ignore back pain as it could worsen their anxiety or otherwise negatively affect mental health, limit activity and contribute to a COPD flare up. The tips and medications given may not necessarily cure back pain. The aim is, first and foremost, to improve the quality of life of the COPD patient.

    Signs of a COPD Exacerbation


    Breathe: The Lung Association (Canada): “Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease — Flare-ups.”

    COPD Foundation: “Staying Healthy and Avoiding Exacerbations,” “What is a COPD Exacerbation?” “Having Trouble Eating with COPD?” “Coping with COPD.”

    Neil Schachter, MD, professor of pulmonary medicine and medical director, Respiratory Care Department, Mount Sinai Center, New York City.

    Care Community: “Caring for Others: Breathing Problems.”

    European Respiratory Journal: “Standards for the diagnosis and treatment of patients with COPD: a summary of the ATS/ERS position paper,” “Anxiety and depression in end-stage COPD.”

    National Lung Health Education Program: “Lung — COPD and Asthma.”

    National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “COPD: Learn More Breathe Better.”

    International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: “Risk factors of hospitalization and readmission of patients with COPD exacerbation — systematic review.”

    My COPD Action Plan, v2, American Lung Association, 2016.

    American Family Physician: “Management of COPD Exacerbations.”

    Cleveland Clinic: “Nutritional Guidelines for People with COPD,” “Have COPD? Exercise Helps Keep You Out of the Hospital,” “COPD General Medication Guidelines.”

    American Lung Association: “Nutrition and COPD.”

    Psychological Bulletin: “Psychological Stress and the Human Immune System: A Meta-Analytic Study of 30 Years of Inquiry.”

    American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine: “Impact of Anxiety and Depression on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Exacerbation Risk,” “Risk Factors for Hospitalization for a Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Exacerbation: EFRAM Study.”

    Harvard Medical School: “How stress affects seniors, and how to manage it.”

    Respirology: “Outcomes and health-related quality of life following hospitalization for an acute exacerbation of COPD.”

    Chronic Respiratory Disease: “What really matters to patients living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease? An exploratory study.”

    Chest: “COPD Readmissions: Addressing COPD in the Era of Value-based Health Care.”

    Norwegian Institute of Public Health: “Intermediate Care Units and Hospital at Home for Acute Exacerbations of COPD.”

    CDC: “Interim Guidance for Influenza Outbreak Management in Long-Term Care Facilities.”

    Pain a Common Problem for People With COPD – WebMD

    By Alan Mozes

    HealthDay Reporter

    TUESDAY, May 21 (HealthDay News) — Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients experience a significant amount of pain, new research suggests.

    Pain levels are nearly on par with the kind of discomfort experienced by many osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis patients, according to the study, which is scheduled for presentation Tuesday at the American Thoracic Society annual meeting in Philadelphia.

    “Several studies have found high rates of pain medication use among COPD patients, and pain has also been an important determinant of overall health status and quality of life in COPD,” study author Melissa Roberts, a senior research associate at the Lovelace Clinic Foundation in Albuquerque, N.M., said in a society news release.

    The researchers analyzed data on nearly 8,000 COPD patients over the age of 40. Nearly 16,000 other men and women not diagnosed with COPD also were included in the study. All were enrolled between 2006 and 2010 in the same managed-care insurance system in the southwestern United States.


    Pain levels among the participants were determined by reviewing diagnostic codes and pain medication prescriptions as noted in their medical records. COPD patients were found to have more chronic pain indicators and used more pain meds, including both long- and short-acting opioid (narcotic) drugs.

    The pain experienced among COPD patients did not appear to be a direct function of their airflow obstruction.

    “We found the prevalence of chronic pain among adults with chronic disease to be almost twice as high as among individuals without chronic disease,” Roberts said. “Among those with chronic disease, individuals with COPD were similar to those with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis in their experience of pain, but with even greater use of opioids.”

    Because this study is being presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

    90,000 Why does my back hurt?

    Back pain is a whole group of diseases united by a common manifestation. More than 70% of the inhabitants of developed countries face them; the annual incidence among adults is about 45%, with people aged 35–55 being the most affected. In most cases (90%), acute episodes of back pain resolve within 6 weeks, but in 7% of patients, the disease becomes chronic.

    Let’s consider the causes of back pain in more detail:

    Back pain causes:

    In view of the fact that back pain can be symptoms of various diseases, we will list only the main cases that occur in the vast majority of people.

    • Osteochondrosis and spondyloarthrosis
    • Radiculitis, scoliosis
    • Physical overload, trauma
    • Infectious diseases
    • Diseases of internal organs: kidney, small pelvis
    • Psychological causes: stress, stress, anxiety, etc.

    This list can be easily expanded to several dozen positions, therefore, in case of frequent, severe or unusual back pain , it is necessary to consult a specialist. If your back hurts you need to make an appointment with a neurologist.

    It is worth noting that back and neck pain are related. Therefore, all of the above must be taken into account in case of neck pain. The cervical spine is the most mobile and vulnerable.

    In 1–5% of cases, back pain is caused by dangerous diseases that require urgent medical attention – spinal trauma, tumors, infection. There are 11 “red flags” – alarming symptoms, upon detection of which should immediately consult a doctor.

    • Recent serious injury – fall from a height, car accident, etc.
    • Recent minor trauma in persons over 50 years of age – falling even from several steps of a ladder or from a height of their own growth.
    • Long-term use of glucocorticoids (they can be prescribed for bronchial asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, rheumatological diseases, etc.).
    • Osteoporosis.
    • Age over 70: increased risk of cancer, infections.
    • History of cancer.
    • Recently transferred infectious disease.
    • Increased body temperature.
    • Intravenous medication (higher risk of infections).
    • Severe back pain at rest – often a sign of a tumor or infection.
    • Unexplained weight loss.

    You should also consult a doctor immediately if:

    • Walking disorder.
    • Inability to raise or lower the foot (bend or straighten at the ankle).
    • Inability to lift up the big toe or stand on tiptoes.
    • Urinary or fecal incontinence.

    Unfortunately, only 10-15% of people see a doctor if severe pain in the back and neck . The rest, apparently, do not attach importance to mild back pain and prefer to extinguish them with painkillers.

    Back hurts.What to do?

    You should not ignore back pain , if you do not understand and eliminate the cause of the pain, then this can entail various consequences such as: dizziness, neck pain, headaches, impaired functioning of the digestive system, kidneys, etc.

    Despite the widespread prevalence of back pain, the problem is not well understood. The causes of this disorder are not entirely clear. Usually, physical changes in the spine, joints, ligamentous-muscular apparatus lead to back pain, but psychological, behavioral and social factors are also of great importance.

    The doctor examines the function of the nerves that leave the spinal cord. He may ask you to walk on your heels, toes, and the outside of your feet. The doctor will also evaluate the reflexes with a neurological mallet. Sensitivity is investigated. A special neuro-orthopedic examination of the state of the spine, muscular system, joints is carried out. These techniques are mastered by a vertebral neurologist. In the clinic “Your Health” you can get a complete treatment of back pain.

    First of all, you need to undergo diagnostics, which may consist of one or several procedures.

    • MRI, X-ray, ultrasound
    • Visit to chiropractor
    • Comprehensive blood test
    • Analysis of the patient’s emotional state

    Also, the doctor should learn about your chronic diseases and the localization of pain.

    Back pain.Treatment

    Treatment for back pain is case-specific. There is a list of the main methods that are most often prescribed by neurologists:

    • Massage, manual therapy
    • Physiotherapy exercises
    • In case of emergency – surgical intervention
    • Taking medications
    • Medical blockade
    • Acupuncture, etc.

    If back pain is caused by life-threatening conditions such as swelling, spinal trauma, infection, urgent specific treatment is needed.However, most often – in 80–90%, there is nonspecific back pain, the cause of which is the impact on the spine and nearby structures of mechanical and positional influences. In this case, the treatment is complex, it is aimed at relieving pain and improving the quality of life.

    Treatment for back pain includes medications, special exercises, physical therapy, and manual therapy. In some cases, surgery is necessary, however, as a rule, a good effect can be achieved with the help of conservative measures.

    Simple preventive measures can help eliminate complications and reduce back pain.

    Office workers are advised to equip the workplace as conveniently as possible. Observe the correct height of the table and chair, use a comfortable chair. Such advice is also relevant for schoolchildren who spend a lot of time at their desk.

    Try to keep your back straight when walking. Eat foods high in calcium and magnesium.Exercise, do exercises to strengthen your back muscles.

    What is it and how is COPD treated?

    COPD is an insidious disease that is usually detected at an advanced stage. Therefore, people at risk should be especially careful about their health. According to the World Health Organization, over 3,000,000 people died from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in 2012.

    What is COPD and what are the causes of its occurrence

    There are many reasons that cause chronic inflammation in small bronchi: exposure to tobacco smoke, occupational hazards (dyes, building dust), frequent respiratory infections. Inflammation narrows the small bronchi and makes it difficult for the patient to breathe.

    This disease is characterized by a progressive restriction of air flow in the airways.COPD is caused by inflammation of the lung tissue in response to irritation by pathogenic gases and particles. The development of the pathological process begins with changes in the composition of the secretion of the bronchi. Completely chronic obstructive pulmonary disease cannot be cured; its development can only be slowed down. However, if the disease is detected in the early stages and the harmful effects on the bronchi are stopped, the progression is very slow and does not interfere with the patient’s active lifestyle.

    Symptoms of the disease

    In chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the following symptoms are observed:

    • frequent cough with phlegm;
    • shortness of breath, feeling of shortness of breath.

    These symptoms, especially with age, can be associated with a variety of other conditions, making COPD difficult to recognize.


    COPD can develop in two scenarios – either the patient develops chronic bronchitis , or pulmonary emphysema . It is possible to talk about chronic bronchitis when the patient is worried about coughing for a total of at least 3 months a year for 2 consecutive years or more. In this case, purulent inflammatory processes prevail in the bronchi, which are accompanied by swelling and cyanosis of the patient’s skin.The development of complications and the terminal stage occurs at a young age. In the case of an emphysematous scenario, shortness of breath with difficult exhalation comes to the fore in the symptomatology. Such patients are characterized by a pink-gray skin color, a barrel-shaped chest. The disease is milder, and patients usually survive to old age.

    In any scenario, five consecutive stages of COPD development are distinguished. Cough and phlegm are present on all of them:

    1. Pre-disease (stage zero) .There is long-term exposure to risk factors, the patient is already worried about coughing up phlegm or shortness of breath, but lung function is not affected. Such patients are at risk, but not always get sick.
    2. Light current (first stage) . Pulmonary ventilation rates begin to decline, but the impairments are insignificant. Patients are more likely to suffer from prolonged bronchitis.
    3. Moderate course (second stage). Shortness of breath interferes with the patient to lead a normal life, pneumonia may occur, pulmonary dysfunction is significant.
    4. Severe current (third stage) . Shortness of breath becomes more frequent, cough worsens, the patient is unable to cope with daily activities, and lung function is severely impaired.
    5. Extremely severe course (fourth stage) . The patient can hardly breathe on his own, complications of the disease develop. Starting from the fourth stage, there is a high probability of death, since the patient practically cannot breathe normally, the work of the heart is disrupted.

    Therefore, early diagnosis of the disease is essential.

    Diagnosis – COPD, or How to identify the disease

    The following methods are used to diagnose COPD:

    • The gold standard for diagnosing COPD is spirometry and conducting a test with bronchodilator . These studies allow you to objectively assess lung function.
    • Radiography of lungs reveals complications of the disease.
    • ECG is regularly performed in order to detect heart complications in time – changes from the right ventricle.
    • Complete blood count . In the exacerbation stage, an increase in leukocytes is usually observed, in the later stages of the disease, blood viscosity, the number of erythrocytes and hemoglobin increase.
    • Cytological examination of sputum . In patients with COPD, sputum is usually mucous, in the exacerbation phase – purulent.

    Prevention of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

    The risk group includes smokers – active and passive, patients with occupational hazards, as well as those who have had cases of COPD or bronchial asthma in the family.They are recommended to undergo spirometry once a year, regardless of the presence of symptoms of the disease – this allows them to identify the first signs of impaired pulmonary ventilation in time and take action in time. First of all, it is necessary to minimize risk factors: quit smoking, get vaccinated against influenza and pneumococcus in order to reduce the frequency of respiratory infections, spend the summer in coastal and mountainous regions.

    Treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

    The goals of COPD therapy are to prevent the progression of the disease, its complications and exacerbations, reduce the severity of clinical symptoms, achieve better exercise tolerance, improve the quality of life of patients, and reduce mortality.For this, medications, oxygen therapy, surgical intervention, as well as physiotherapy and physiotherapy exercises can be used, which maximize the improvement of lung function by non-drug methods.

    Drug treatment

    For COPD, the following groups of drugs are prescribed:

    • Bronchodilators . Eliminate shortness of breath, block bronchospasm.
    • Glucocorticosteroids . They have a pronounced anti-inflammatory effect.
    • Expectorants . Thinning phlegm.
    • Antioxidants . Reduces the duration and frequency of exacerbations of COPD.

    Oxygen therapy

    When the possibilities of drug treatment of a disease in severe course are exhausted, oxygen concentrators are used, which allow patients to breathe oxygen-enriched air for a long time (from 15 hours a day with a two-hour break). Usually, these procedures are performed at home.

    Surgical treatment

    Surgical methods of treatment are sometimes used for COPD, incl. lung transplants, but they are ineffective. COPD is characterized by the formation of large cavities in the lungs – bullae, filled with air or phlegm. Removing them can alleviate the patient’s condition. This operation is called a bullectomy.

    Although the World Health Organization recognizes COPD as an incurable disease, it also draws attention to the fact that many cases of this pathology are preventable.A healthy lifestyle, regular examinations of the lungs, adherence to the doctor’s recommendations will help reduce the risk of illness and alleviate the patient’s condition in the event of COPD.

    Signs of lung disease. What do you need to know?

    Lung disease can affect the ability to breathe, potentially causing short-term or long-term harm to general health. The American Lung Association estimates that more than 35 million Americans are living with preventable chronic lung disease.

    Some of the most common lung diseases include bronchial asthma, bronchitis, lung cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In the United States, bronchial asthma is the most common, with about 25 million people living with this condition. Even if you have mild symptoms, you should see a doctor, as early detection of the disease can improve treatment outcomes and potentially save lives. Here are some warning signs of lung disease to watch out for.

    Severe cough

    As a rule, a common cough as a result of a cold gradually disappears within a maximum of 2 weeks. But if the cough symptoms are persistent and there are no signs of decreasing in severity, it may be worth seeing a doctor.

    In more serious cases, the cough may be accompanied by the discharge of sputum with blood. This indicates damage to the airways, which can be caused by the geographically high location of the patient, taking medications, the cough itself, or lung cancer.

    It should be noted whether such problems have arisen after the person has encountered a potential trigger in daily life. For example, if he has been spending more time with smokers lately. Informing your doctor about any lifestyle changes will be helpful in identifying the source of the problem.

    Shortness of breath

    If the sudden onset of shortness of breath is not associated with obesity or heart problems, this may indicate bronchial asthma or COPD.According to the Mayo Clinic, USA, this can also be an early sign of a collapsed lung, airway obstruction, pneumonia, a blood clot in a lung artery, etc.

    If the breathing sound seems unusual, resembling a wheezing noise (a high-pitched wheezing sound), there is a possibility of inflammation, swelling, or even a foreign object blocking the airway.

    Pain in different parts of the body

    Haunted by a constant feeling of fatigue? You should pay close attention if it does not go away after taking some measures and is accompanied by pain.For example, pulmonary fibrosis can affect body tissues, resulting in muscle and joint pain.

    Lung cancer is associated with back pain, which is aggravated by deep inhalation and is noted even at rest. This pain often spreads to other areas of the body and affects the chest and shoulder areas.

    “You should also note whether the pain is limited to a specific area or extends to the entire chest area,” say Healthline experts. “When lung cancer causes chest pain, discomfort can result from swollen lymph nodes or metastases in the chest wall, pleura, or lungs.”

    Based on materials from www.medicaldaily.com

    90,000 What kind of beast is COPD and why does it kill?

    Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an inflammatory disease of the respiratory system that occurs under the influence of various environmental factors, the main of which is tobacco smoking. According to studies, rural residents, mostly men, are most often affected by COPD.According to statistics, in Buryatia, every second man over 70 is sick with this.

    COPD is one of the most common causes of premature death. How to avoid a terrible illness and what to do if you have already been affected by this disease? Especially for our readers, doctors give advice: therapists of the republican health center Oksana Oshchepkova and pulmonologist of the medical prevention center Gama Baldanova.

    Sneaked unnoticed

    We are all afraid of getting cancer, panicky checking any tumor and praying to ourselves: “If only not oncology.”Trembling with fear and anxiety, we await tests for HIV and syphilis. These diseases, really dangerous and deadly, are well known in society, and even the most ignorant citizens have heard something about cancer, AIDS, syphilis or tuberculosis at least once in their lives.

    Meanwhile, on soft paws, quite quietly and imperceptibly for us, but for a long time already frighteningly for doctors, COPD crept up. The average man knows almost nothing about him, while today COPD occupies one of the first places among the causes of disability and death among the working-age male population of the earth.

    – The disease is characterized by a steady progression and gradual decrease in lung function with the development of chronic respiratory failure, – says therapist Oksana Oshchepkova, – This disease is prone to gradual progression, but this process can be significantly slowed down by treatment.

    The mortality rate in COPD is also increasing among women. The factors that increase the risk of dying from this disease are overweight, severe bronchospasm, low endurance, severe shortness of breath, frequent exacerbations of the disease and pulmonary hypertension.

    In Russia, the morbidity data largely depend on the region, but in general they are close to world indicators. The prevalence of the disease increases with age.

    Who is at risk?

    The main percentage of the sick are people over 40 years old. This pattern is explained by doctors with the fact that at this age the immunity is somewhat weakened, as a result of which the respiratory system, which is sensitive to negative effects, can malfunction.

    The disease begins in the bronchi and, as it develops, spreads to the lung tissue.At the moment, the diagnosis of COPD is being made more and more often, and the disease is beginning to get younger. This is due to active smoking, which today is the habit of the vast majority of men and more than half of women around the world.

    In most cases, patients seek medical help only at a late stage of the disease, when it is impossible to restrain its development. As a result, the mortality rate of patients with COPD is very high. In order to successfully treat the disease, at the very first symptoms of it, you should seek medical help and start therapy, which combines medications, folk remedies and breathing exercises.


    • smoking (both active and passive) is the main factor in the development of the disease;

    • harmful production factors – long-term exposure to dust, acid and alkali vapors, and other chemical particles in the air. Most often, COPD develops in miners, metallurgists, grinders and polishers of metal products, electric welders, workers in the pulp and paper industry and agriculture, where the impact of dust factors is most aggressive;

    • harmful environmental factors (for example, smoke from combustion of bioorganic fuels).

    • Genetic defect – deficiency of the enzyme Alpha-1-antitrypsin (extremely rare).


    • Cough with mucous sputum, usually in the morning.

    • Shortness of breath: it is more difficult for people to exhale than to inhale. In the early stages, shortness of breath occurs during exertion, and as the disease progresses, it also disturbs at rest.

    • During an exacerbation with the addition of an infectious process, the amount (becomes more) and quality (becomes purulent) of sputum increases, shortness of breath increases.

    As the disease progresses, symptoms from other organs and systems (cardiovascular system, muscles, bones) join: interruptions in the work of the heart; aching pain in the heart; bluish tint of lips and fingertips; changes in fingers and nails: fingers become thickened due to bony growths, nails – bulging; bone pain; muscle weakness.

    Treat! Can’t leave

    – COPD is diagnosed using a simple test called spirometry, explains pulmonologist Gama Baldanova. This is a simple and painless test.Remember, COPD is not possible. This disease affects only adults, most of whom are smokers or ex-smokers. Moreover, any type of smoking, both active smoking and passive smoking, can lead to COPD.

    Smoking cessation is the first and mandatory step in a COPD treatment program. And the main method of drug treatment is bronchodilating (dilating the bronchi) drugs. The patient will have to take medications all his life and only according to the scheme prescribed by the doctor.Medicines can be in different forms: in inhalers, tablets, syrup.

    Yes, doctors cannot completely cure COPD, but they can help reduce the symptoms of the disease. Therefore, if you follow the recommendations of your doctor, you will be less disturbed by shortness of breath, you will cough less and feel better.


    First, it is obvious that you need to quit smoking and avoid exposure to harmful production factors and the environment.For those patients who have already been diagnosed with COPD, they need to work to slow the progression of the disease. Adequate physical activity can help here, for example, walking at a moderate pace, swimming, breathing exercises. Vaccination is mandatory (to prevent infectious diseases that provoke exacerbation of COPD) – pneumococcal, influenza vaccines. Optimal vaccination time: October – mid November.

    It is also necessary to constantly take medications prescribed by a doctor.And make sure that the prescribed inhalers are used correctly: according to the pulmonologist, often the lack of effect from the prescribed drugs is associated with improper inhalation technique.

    Breathing exercises for COPD

    Exercise for COPD is aimed at clearing mucus from the lungs, which can improve their function. These activities are not burdensome, since it is enough for the sick person to regularly perform just a few simple exercises.

    The first breathing exercise requires very simple equipment – a glass of water and a cocktail straw.Taking the deepest possible breath, the patient should slowly exhale air into the water through a straw. Repeat the exercise 5 times.

    This exercise is performed from a supine position. The legs should be bent at the knees. A strong and deep breath with the involvement of the abdominal muscles is done at the expense of 1,2,3. When inhaling, the abdomen should be retracted as much as possible. At the expense of 4, an exhalation is made, in which the diaphragm is forced to work. For this, the stomach should be protruded as much as possible. Further, abruptly returning the abdomen to a normal state, they produce a dull cough.The exercise is performed 3 times.

    This exercise should complete the gymnastics. While standing, you need to spread your arms wide without bending them at the elbows. After that, with a vigorous exhalation, the arms are quickly crossed over the chest, striking the shoulder blades with the palms. Then take the starting position. The exercise is repeated 7 times.

    Exercise should be done in the morning, when the coughing attack has passed, and in the evening 2 hours before bedtime.

    Be healthy! Remember: you don’t need to be afraid of getting sick.Just listen to your body and try to live as healthy as possible.

    Recorded by Zoya Stepanova

    photo: pixabay.com

    Treatment and rehabilitation of patients with COPD in Moscow

    1. Home
    2. For a patient
    3. Directory of diseases
    4. COPD

    COPD is a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.It is a progressive, life-threatening lung disease that causes shortness of breath (initially on exertion), characterized by periods of exacerbation. According to a 2016 study, the prevalence of COPD in the world was more than 251 million.

    Tobacco smoke (including secondhand smoke or secondhand smoke) is the main cause of COPD.

    When establishing the diagnosis, the following are taken into account:

    • information in the history of obstructive pulmonary disease,
    • clinical picture with the presence of bronchial obstruction and / or cough, shortness of breath;
    • Objective signs of bronchial obstruction, which can be determined using spirometry tests.

    COPD may be suspected in patients with chronic productive cough lasting more than 3 months per year for 2 years or more and / or shortness of breath if risk factors are present.

    Cough – the earliest symptom, which often occurs during exercise.

    Sputum , as a rule, is excreted in a small (rarely more than 50 ml / day) amount in the morning, has a slimy character. Purulent sputum and an increase in its amount are signs of an exacerbation of the disease.

    Dyspnea is a cardinal symptom of COPD, and very often it is the main reason for seeking medical attention. Shortness of breath with the development of the disease and impaired lung function becomes more and more pronounced.

    COPD is one of the most important problems in internal medicine due to the high prevalence and mortality from this pathology. When treating COPD as a heterogeneous disease, different approaches are required depending on the severity and characteristics of its course.

    The objectives of COPD therapy are to prevent progression, reduce the severity of the clinical picture, improve exercise tolerance and, as a result, improve the patient’s quality of life.

    Patients with this disease have the greatest drop in exercise tolerance, therefore, the effect of drug therapy can be enhanced through the introduction of rehabilitation treatment.

    The main method of rehabilitation treatment for COPD, in addition to various physiotherapy procedures, is physical rehabilitation, which improves exercise tolerance and reduces symptoms of the disease.

    The training program is calculated individually under the supervision of experienced specialists, taking into account the stage and severity of the disease and concomitant pathology.

    You can find out information about the rehabilitation of patients with COPD, as well as make an appointment with a specialist by calling +7 (495) 620-83-83.
    Address: Moscow, Losinoostrovskaya st. 45.

    Rehabilitation programs


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    90,000 The main symptoms of lung disease | Euromed. Private clinic in Omsk. The largest medical center in Omsk

    The main symptoms of lung diseases

    Chest pain .The pain can be varied. It can be constant or intensify with inspiration. The pain can radiate to the neck, shoulder, shoulder blade. Chest pain cannot be ignored, since it can be a manifestation of not only “the notorious osteochondrosis”, or “intercostal neuralgia”, but much more serious and dangerous diseases. In addition, chest pain may have a real cause and not in the chest at all, but, for example, in the abdomen or retroperitoneal space. Chest pain is a reason for going to a doctor, and not for self-medication in the form of thoughtless and uncontrolled use of pills and warming ointments.

    Cough and phlegm. Cough is dry (when sputum is not coughing up) and moist (with sputum discharge). Cough is one of the most persistent symptoms of pulmonary disease, although not strictly necessary. A cough can be accompanied not only by lung diseases, but also by heart disease, taking certain medications, diseases of the peripheral nerves, stomach and esophagus, etc. The sputum that the patient coughs up has characteristics that can be helpful in diagnosis.For example, the color of the sputum is important. Mucous sputum is white and / or transparent, purulent sputum is light yellow to green in color. If there is blood in the sputum, it can be scarlet to rusty or brown. The smell of phlegm is also important. Fetid putrid odor – indicates destructive processes in the lungs. Unfortunately, patients often neglect to see a doctor, believing that a daily cough is a common phenomenon “I smoke, it means I cough”, “Yes, I cough, I will have to go.”Unfortunately, it is often difficult to help a patient if he is not treated in a timely manner, and sometimes it is impossible.

    Shortness of breath and suffocation . Perhaps this is the only complaint that does not allow postponing a visit to the doctor. Shortness of breath can be during exertion, it can disturb the patient at rest and even during sleep. It happens that shortness of breath increases or occurs when in contact with strong odors or pets. Some patients “attribute” shortness of breath to age, body weight, smoking, fatigue.There are many reasons for shortness of breath. These can be: lung disease (asthma, COPD, bronchitis, tuberculosis, cancer, etc.), heart disease (myocarditis, arrhythmia, coronary artery disease, heart failure, heart defects), blood diseases (anemia, erythremia), vascular disease ( pulmonary embolism, pulmonary vasculitis, pulmonary arterial hypertension), kidney disease (glomerulonephritis, pyelonephritis, polycystic kidney disease), metabolic disease (obesity) and much, much more. In order to identify the cause of shortness of breath, it is necessary to undergo an in-depth examination, which will make it possible to make the correct diagnosis and start treatment.