If you suffer from back pain, you are hardly alone.
Four out of every five adults experience the symptoms of back pain at least once in their lifetime.
If you're the one in five, who doesn't, congratulations.
For the rest of us, though, we might be left wondering why.
It's because the back is a complex structure that is made up of 33 vertebrae, over 30 muscles, numerous ligaments, several joints, and intervertebral discs.
All of these structures have to function together to help you move and provide a stable foundation for your body.
If just one of the structures is injured or out of place, it can cause significant discomfort.
Fortunately, most people recover from back pain without ever realizing what happened.
When the pain lingers, though, discovering the underlying source of the pain can help guide your treatment.
Then, understanding what causes back pain is key to keeping it from coming back.
If you are experiencing persistent back pain, it's important to visit back pain doctors.
In the article below, we'll look at five of the most common causes of back pain.
Table Of Contents
- Muscle Conditioning And Poor Posture
- Degenerative Changes
- Traumatic Injuries
- Spinal Instability
- Herniated Disc
- You're Not Alone
1. Muscle Conditioning And Poor Posture
Over time, the muscles in our back can be conditioned to be stronger or more resilient though exercising and weight training.
But, the reverse is also true. We can also condition our muscles to be weak and fragile by not using them correctly or through a sedentary lifestyle.
In some cases, deconditioning your muscles is as easy as sitting at a desk with incorrect posture for too long.
Slouching in your chair over your desk can result in a loss of strength in the muscles.
Over time, the weakening of the muscles may lead to pain in the area as the experience strains or irritation.
When you slouch, pressure from gravity and the body itself pushes on the spine, neck, discs, and ligaments. That pressure can lead to pain and various other complications.
The first thing to do to correct and prevent this is to use proper posture while you're sitting at your desk.
You should also take "movement" breaks to get up from your desk, stretch, and walk around.
There are numerous exercises that will also improve the strength in your back, but remember conditioning your muscles takes patience and shouldn't be rushed.
Avoiding sitting all together and using a standing desk is a good option as well.
2. Degenerative Changes
As you age, the gel-like discs that cushion the bones of your spine and the cartilage lining the joints can begin to wear.
That will allow the bones to rub against each other, causing osteoarthritis.
Some degeneration of this kind is harmless and unavoidable.
Imaging studies have shown that just about everyone over the age of 60 has signs of spinal wear and tear, but very few actually report significant pain.
3. Traumatic Injuries
Traumatic injuries can lead to back pain.
A few examples of traumatic injuries that can cause back pain are:
- Car accidents
- Slips and falls
- Work-related accidents
- Incorrect lifting
- Sport injuries
Most of the time the injuries will be obvious, and the pain will appear right after the accident.
Other times, though, it could take days for the symptoms to arise.
Traumatic injuries range from the very severe and life-threatening, like fractured vertebrae that can cause lasting complications, or to the very minor bumps and bruises.
A chiropractor should exam all potential back injuries to ensure that they heal properly to avoid long-term pain.
Depending on the severity of the injury, the chiropractor could refer you to another specialist to take care of the injury.
4. Spinal Instability
When disks and joints wear, they have a harder time supporting your spine.
When that happens, your vertebrae move more than they should.
In some cases, a bone could slide forward, causing a condition known as spondylolisthesis.
Symptoms often come and go without warning, sometimes shifting from one side of your body to the other, and can include a feeling of weakness in the legs with prolonged standing or walking.
5. Herniated Disc
Herniated discs are very common in the lower back, but they can occur in the upper back as well.
Discs are the soft, rubbery cushions between each vertebra. A herniated disc occurs when a piece of the cushion pokes through and puts pressure on your spine.
Even the smallest amount of pressure can result in significant pain in the middle of the back, as well as other symptoms, including numbness or weakness in your arms or legs.
Most people won't need surgery for a herniated disc and will recovery with rest or taking anti-inflammatory medications.
You're Not Alone
You're not the first person to experience back pain, and you certainly won't be the last.
Most cases of back pain appear because of aging or lifestyle issues, such as weak or overused muscles from repetitive or prolonged behaviors.
In these cases, lifestyle changes and exercise will likely relieve the pain.
Instances of trauma or chronic back pain are different.
If you fall into one of those categories, you should visit your chiropractor.
Your chiropractor will give you a full exam, and then work out a treatment plan based on your specific needs.
If the trauma is severe enough, the chiropractor can refer you to a surgeon or another specialist that will take care of you.
If you don't have a chiropractor, reach out to Advanced Injury Care in Nashville, and they'll get you taken care of.
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