Back pain is a common problem that can be a nuisance and painful. It can get worse if left untreated. It can also be a sign of more serious problem. The good news is that most back pain is caused by very common conditions. It’s important to seek professional help, but there are also simple steps you can take to cure back pain instantly and prevent it from coming back.
Back pain is one of the most common complaints I hear from my patients. It affects 80% of us at some point in our lives, but not everyone has the same type of back pain.
Some people experience sharp lower back pain when bending over or twisting, while others may have more generalized pain throughout the spine that gets worse when sitting for long periods.
In this article, I’ll explain what causes different types of back pain, how you can treat it instantly with home remedies and exercises (and which ones are most effective), as well as what you need to do long-term to prevent it from coming back again
10 most common causes of back pain
About 80 percent of people will experience back pain at some point in their life, and some will experience it repeatedly.
Here are 10 common causes of back pain and what you can do to prevent or ease the pain:
1. Strained muscles
Strained muscles can be due to aging and degeneration or sudden trauma like a fall. Metabolic diseases such as diabetes can also cause muscle degeneration leading to chronic pain affecting the back, neck, arms and legs. Often, people do not realize that they have a health condition that can contribute to back pain.
Muscle strain can also occur if you lift something too heavy, bend awkwardly or lift with your back rather than your legs. Strained muscles are also commonly caused by poor posture or simply sitting too long in one position, such as at a computer desk.
2. Ligament sprain
Ligament sprain is a very common cause of back pain. Sprain of ligaments means that the ligaments are overstretched. The symptoms are the same as in other back problems and will vary from person to person. Usually, there is pain and stiffness for a few days or weeks, and some people may not fully recover.
Ligament sprains can occur during any movement which puts an extra strain on the back, such as sudden twisting, lifting heavy weights, or bending forwards while lifting. This can happen when you’re doing normal everyday activities like playing sport, gardening or doing the housework.
3. Herniated disc
Herniated disc: Herniated disc refers to a condition in which there is a displacement of the nucleus pulposus (a gel-like substance found in the intervertebral discs) from its normal anatomical location.
Herniation of nucleus pulposus causes compression of the spinal nerves. This is responsible for pain. In medical terminology, it is referred as sciatica. Sciatica is a common cause of back pain which radiates to other parts of body
Arthritis — inflammation of the joints — can affect the lower back. The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which usually occurs in older adults. Osteoarthritis can cause the cartilage that cushions your vertebrae to break down, causing the bones to rub against one another and causing lower back pain.
Osteoporosis is a condition that occurs when the bones become very weak. There are two main types of osteoporosis: Paget’s disease and osteopenia. Both conditions weaken the bones, making them more likely to break or fracture. The consequences are severe: People with these diseases are more prone to back pain and may also experience other problems, including fractures of the spine and hip.
6. Spinal stenosis
Spinal stenosis occurs when the spine is narrowed in one or more places. This can put pressure on the nerves that travel through the spine. Spinal stenosis most often occurs in the lower back and the neck.
Spinal stenosis pain can be caused by a number of diseases such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis causes the cartilage between the vertebrae to wear down. This allows the bones to grow together and form bone spurs which cause the spinal canal to narrow. This narrowing of the spinal canal puts pressure on the spinal cord, causing severe pain.
Spinal stenosis causes back pain, leg pain and other symptoms. Treatment depends on the location of the spinal stenosis and whether a herniated disc is also present.
Sciatica is a term for pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve. It can be caused by compression or irritation of this nerve, which runs from the lower back down your leg to your foot. If you have numbness or tingling in your legs, it’s likely you have an issue with this nerve and not necessarily a muscular cause of your pain. Stretching may help relieve sciatica symptoms.
The sciatic nerve is formed by groups of nerves that exit the lower lumbar spine in the low back and travel deep within the buttocks and down through the thighs. It is possible to injure any part of this nerve leading to symptoms in the low back, buttocks or legs.
8. Poor posture
Poor posture is a big factor in back pain. Poor posture causes tension and strain on the muscles and tendons that support your spine, resulting in muscular imbalance and pain.
Poor posture is more than simply slouching over the computer. It’s a symptom of poor coordination of your upper body with your lower body and core muscles.
The first step to correcting poor posture is to recognize it. Try these simple exercises to find out whether your posture is causing any pain:
1. Sit up straight and inhale through your nose as you lift your shoulders away from your ears, expanding your back and chest at the same time.
2. Exhale through pursed lips while squeezing your shoulder blades together, then release them while simultaneously pulling your shoulder blades back toward the middle of your back.
3. Tighten up all four quadriceps muscles (the ones on the front of each thigh) by tightening up all four quadriceps muscles simultaneously, then relax them again as you exhale through pursed lips.
4. Raise one leg straight up off of the ground and point it toward the sky while you keep the other leg on the ground by keeping both knees bent slightly.
9. Pregnancy and childbirth
Pregnancy and childbirth can cause low back pain by mechanically stressing the lumbar spine (changing the normal lumbar curvature) and by the positioning of the baby inside of the abdomen. Additionally, the effects of the female hormone estrogen and the ligament-loosening hormone relaxin may contribute to loosening of the ligaments and structures of the back. Pelvic-tilt exercises and stretches are often recommended for relieving this pain. Women are also recommended to maintain physical conditioning during pregnancy according to their doctors’ advice. Natural labor can also cause low back pain.
Weight gain is one of the most common causes of back pain, and it’s no wonder why. Your center of gravity shifts as your belly grows, making you more susceptible to lower back injury. This is especially true if you’re not used to lifting heavy things or exercising regularly.
Nature is not always kind when creating a human life. The uterus rests on muscles of the pelvic floor, which can weaken in pregnancy due to hormonal changes that allow connective tissue to relax. The growing uterus then presses into these muscles, causing them to weaken further, which leads to pelvic floor dysfunction, pain, urinary incontinence, and sometimes even prolapse — when pelvic organs drop from their normal location.
Obesity plays a significant role in back pain. A study in the journal Spine found that obese subjects had significantly more low back pain than non-obese subjects, and the difference was most pronounced in younger patients.
The link between obesity and arthritis is well known. Obesity causes increased joint stress and increased joint stress causes accelerated cartilage degeneration and osteoarthritis. Excess weight is a major contributor to osteoarthritis of the knee, hip, spine, hands and feet. In fact, being overweight increases the risk for arthritis by up to 25 percent.
Obesity is also associated with higher risk for many other diseases including heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Excess weight also has an impact on a person’s mental health including depression.
In addition to its impact on degenerative disease, obesity can cause mechanical back pain because of the extra strain it places on the muscles of the back. The spine is built to support a certain amount of weight. When that weight limit is exceeded it leads to muscle fatigue and muscle spasms which can result in acute or chronic low back pain.
Symptoms of back pain
Symptoms of back pain vary widely, depending on the cause and intensity. They can include:
Dull ache, or localized sharp pain
Pain that radiates down your leg
Stabbing pain that makes it hard to move
Pain that gets worse when you cough or bend over
Muscle spasms or cramps
Symptoms differ based on the type of back pain you have:
Acute back pain has symptoms that have lasted less than 3 months
Chronic back pain has symptoms that last longer than 3 months
Prevention of back pain
Excessive sitting is a risk factor for back pain, such as at a desk job or commuting in a car or bus. To combat this, commuters who drive should take frequent breaks and stretch their legs.
Frequent heavy lifting
Lifting heavy objects is often involved in manual labor, construction work, and weight training. This can be particularly hazardous for the back, so lifting with the knees and a straight back is recommended. If equipment is used, keeping it close to the body will help prevent injury.
Smokers are more likely to have low back pain than nonsmokers, possibly because smoking can cause spondylolisthesis by weakening the bones in the spine. Smoking also increases the risk of osteoporosis.
Develop a regular exercise routine that includes aerobic activities and strength training to help condition the muscles in your abdomen and back and strengthen your spine. Be careful not to exercise when you’re in pain. If an activity aggravates your symptoms, stop it immediately and talk to your doctor or physical therapist about other exercises that may be safer for you.
Maintain good posture
Good posture can reduce the stress on your back — and help you look taller and thinner. When standing, keep your shoulders back, with your weight mostly on the balls of your feet. When sitting, choose a seat with good lower-back support and proper position and height for the task. Keep your knees higher than your hips if possible, feet flat on the floor or comfortably resting on a footstool or low stool.
Severe back pain can be a frightening experience, especially if it’s your first time. Whether the pain is acute (brief, severe) or chronic (ongoing), you need to take care of it.
Good posture is especially important as we age. As we get older, our spines become less flexible and more prone to injury. And beyond making us look taller, stronger and more confident, good posture also helps prevent back pain and injuries, reduces headaches and even makes it easier for us to breathe.
It’s important to remember that the human body is designed for movement. We were meant to walk, squat, bend and reach. That’s why it’s important to make sure we’re moving regularly throughout the day – not just at the gym.
Learn how to get rid of a really bad back pain and get back to living your life!
Originally posted 2022-04-11 17:24:20.