5 Common Reasons for Back Pain
Back pain is a common ailment among people of all ages. More than 26 million Americans between the ages of 20-64 experience frequent back pain, and the majority of us will experience back pain at some point in our lives. It is one of the most common reasons for missed work, and low back pain is the single leading cause of disability in Americans under 45.
Do you suffer from back pain? To treat that pain, you must first understand its source. There are many possible causes of back pain, but here are five of the most common.
A back muscle strain or ligament strain is one of the most common causes of back pain. From playing sports to tackling that honey-do list at home, there are numerous activities that can result in a back injury. Cleaning out the garage, lifting heavy objects and even gardening can set you up for injury if your back isn’t strong.
The key to preventing back injury is exercise. A strong back and core are less likely to be injured. It’s also important to remember to bend at the knees and to lift heavy objects with your legs, not your back.
Herniated, Bulging or Ruptured Disk
If a disc in the spine slips out of place and becomes herniated, it can put pressure on the nerves in the spine and cause pain and numbness to travel down the back and through the arms or legs, depending on the location of the herniated disc. A disc that is bulging or ruptured may also put pressure on a nerve.
Degenerative Disc Disease
When the discs between the vertebrae begin to break down (degenerative disc disease), the damaged disc can cause inflammation and instability in the back, causing back pain, muscle spasms and sciatica (low back pain that travels to the buttock, leg and foot).
Yes, even sitting can cause back pain. Whether you have a long commute or you sit at a desk all day, prolonged sitting can cause an achy back. The discs in your back are spongy and require nutrients from the blood. Sitting too much limits circulation to the disks, cutting off their nutrient supply. Poor posture while sitting also causes back pain, as it puts added pressure on the spine and causes your back muscles to become tight and stiff.
If you have a long drive ahead of you, make a point to take regular breaks and get out of the car and move. If you have a desk job, get up and move at least once every 20 minutes. Be sure to keep your spine properly aligned, keeping your computer and any reading material at eye level. Choose an ergonomic desk chair with good back support and sit with your feet flat on the floor.
Osteoarthritis is another common cause of back pain, particularly in the lower back. Inflammation in the spine can lead to a narrowing of the space around the spinal cord, a condition called spinal stenosis. This condition puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves within the spine, causing pain, numbness and muscle weakness. It commonly occurs in the neck and lower back.
No matter the cause of your back pain, suffering for any reason can have a significant impact on your day-to-day life. If you are experiencing back pain, contact Dr. Kushwaha today.