Back pain can be detrimental both to your physical wellbeing and your ability to enjoy your day both at work and in your free time. That's why it's a good idea to pinpoint what's causing your back pain so you can start to get some relief.
Here are six such causes that are common among back-pain sufferers.
If back pain is persistent or long-term, there's a chance you may be experiencing some sort of chronic condition. These can vary greatly depending on your genetics and your life situation, but they can include conditions such as arthritis, which can, in turn, spur stenosis or osteoporosis. These conditions typically become more prevalent with age but can be treated with physical therapy. In addition, chiropractic treatment, injections and acupuncture are among the many non-surgical treatments that can curb your back pain.
Since your back is not only made up of vertebrae but also muscle, strains are also a factor in back-related pain. A strain of a back muscle or ligament can often be traced back to overdoing it when lifting or engaging in manual labor. In fact, the less often you exercise or the less fit you are, the more likely you are to strain your back when you suddenly use those muscles for physical activity. Orthopedic Institute's (OI) athletic training partner D1 can help you learn the best ways to use your body during physical activity. Schedule a session with a D1 trainer.
Sometimes it's not even your spine or back muscles themselves that are causing your back pain. The disks that act as cushions between the vertebrae in your spine can also be a reason you're experiencing pain. These disks are critical for keeping your spine in good working condition, but they can sometimes bulge or rupture for a variety of reasons, including improper heavy lifting or hereditary conditions.
Athletes in particular may encounter pain related to certain types of abnormalities, such as spondylolysis—a crack or stress fracture in a vertebrae—and spondylolisthesis—a weakened bone shifting or slipping out of its proper place due to spondylolysis. This is particularly evident in track and field athletes (high and long jumpers), dancers and gymnasts. In many cases, symptoms will typically improve through conservative treatment, including a period of rest from sports and other strenuous activities. In severe cases, surgery may be recommended in order to relieve symptoms.
While often easier to pinpoint due to the ability to link it to a specific trauma event, injury-based back pain can often go unnoticed if what caused it seemed minor. The truth is, acute fractures can sometimes be caused by seemingly everyday things, such as a severe cough or sneeze or a minor fender bender in your vehicle. If you can link your pain back to an event such as these, a fracture may be a possible cause.
What you do in your day-to-day life can also have an adverse effect on your back. Excess weight due to unhealthy eating habits or lack of consistent exercise can put undue strain on your spine and back muscles, as well as your joints. Your posture and how you sit for prolonged periods (if you're an office worker especially) can also be a primary cause of back pain. Your choice of footwear or the way you position yourself during sleep can even be a cause for pain.
The important thing is that your back pain can most likely be diagnosed and treated - schedule an appointment with an OI professional to get to the bottom of it.