Back pain is a common condition that many people suffer from. It is also a leading cause of disability worldwide, but fortunately, there are measures that can be taken to prevent and relieve backaches. It can range from muscle aches to burning or shooting sensations in the body.
Most back pain cases will gradually improve with proper care and home treatment. If your back pain persists, our licensed team of neurologists can diagnose the cause of your back pain and recommend medication or treatments to ease the pain. You should consult a doctor if:
- Back pain lasts over a week
- Pain is severe and doesn’t improve after resting
- Pain spreads down the legs
- You have feelings of weakness, numbness or tingling in the legs
Causes of Back Pain
In many cases, back pain will develop without a specific cause that your doctor would be able to identify with an imaging study. Here are some of the conditions linked to back pain.
Herniated or slipped discs occur when the soft tissue between the joins have slipped out. This condition is typically caused by wear and tear and can cause pain in the lower back or hip where the nerves are being pressed.
Degenerative Disc Disease
When the discs between the spine’s vertebrae shrink or tear, the bones will rub together, causing pain. This occurs as you get older.
Spinal Stenosis is a condition in which the spinal canal has narrowed. If you are suffering from this, there is added pressure on the spine and nerves and will result in numbness in the legs and shoulders. However, this is more common with people over the age of 60.
Muscles or ligaments tend to be strained when there is a continuous activity of heavy lighting. Sudden, awkward movements can also strain the back muscles and spinal ligaments.
Osteoarthritis is known to affect the lower back. With osteoarthritis, the spine’s vertebrae can develop painful fractures if the bones become weak and brittle.
Inflammation of Sacroiliac Joint
The sacroiliac joint is where the spine and pelvis come together. While it doesn’t move much, it’s vital to the body as it helps move the load of the upper body to the lower. After injuries, the joint can swell and start wearing away.
Spondylolisthesis is a spinal condition that is known to affect mainly the lower vertebrae. This condition causes the lower vertebrae to slip out of place. While it is a painful condition, it is treatable using therapeutic and surgical methods.
Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine and happens most often during growth spurts. Back pain from scoliosis happens due to the pressure that’s put on nearby nerves.
Accidents and Injuries
Accidents and injuries can also cause back pain, depending on the severity of each situation.
Back pain can also be triggered by how you live daily life. Having bad posture, not exercising, lifting heavy objects, slouching when sitting, or even wearing high heels are common causes of back pain that aren’t medical-related.
Anyone is susceptible to back pain, no matter how old they might be. Factors that may put you at greater risk of developing severe back pain include:
- Lack of exercise will lead to weak or unused muscles in the back and abdomen and can cause severe back pain.
- Diseases and conditions such as arthritis and cancer can also contribute to back pain.
- Improper lifting by using your back instead of your legs.
- Psychological conditions such as anxiety and depression.
- Smokers have increased rates of back pain as smoking tends to prompt coughing, which can lead to herniated discs. Smoking can also decrease blood flow to the spine.
- Excess body weight also puts more stress on the back.
The best way to prevent back pain is to improve your physical condition and wellbeing. To keep yourself in prime physical shape, you can:
- Build muscle strength and flexibility. Specifically in the back and abdomen, strengthen your core so that your muscles work together naturally.
- Exercise! Start off with low-impact activities that won’t strain your back. Work slowly to increase strength and endurance in your back.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight can cause stress to your back muscles, so it’s vital that you watch your weight.
- Stop smoking. Smoking increases the risk of lower back pain and the risk increases with the number of cigarettes smoked per day.