09 Jun Back Pain: A Common Problem with Very Common Causes
If you had to guess as to the most common type of pain our patients suffer with, what would you say? Guessing back pain would be absolutely correct. Back pain is extremely common, especially as people get older. Indeed, it is one of the most commonly heard complaints in doctor’s offices. Believe it or not, it also has some very common causes.
It is estimated that 80% of all adults will experience back pain at least once in their lives. Globally, back pain is the leading cause of disability and one of the most common reasons people miss work. Most importantly, back pain is rarely the result of a serious illness, infection, etc. Most cases of back pain are mechanical or non-organic.
Here are the most common causes of back pain:
1. Poor Posture
The spinal column is designed to handle heavy loads when a person is sitting or standing. But to do so properly, it needs to be properly aligned. This is why posture is so important. Good posture significantly reduces the chances of experiencing back pain. Poor posture is just the opposite.
We are all prone to poor posture thanks to the world in which we live. It is normal for people in the modern era to sit hunched over a computer or in an office chair with poor back support. Slouching while staring down at the phone is a big problem too. All these things can strain back muscles and ligaments.
2. Lifting, Bending, or Twisting
Back muscles and ligaments can also be strained when lifting, bending, or twisting. Lifting with the back rather than the legs is a common culprit among manual laborers. As for bending or twisting, sudden movements related to either can cause muscle or ligament strain.
People tend to think of osteoarthritis in terms of the knees and hands. The disease certainly causes pain in those joints, but it can also cause lower back pain. As cartilage between the joints deteriorates, bone contacts with bone to create a very painful sensation.
4. Disc Herniation
Yet another common cause of back pain is disc herniation. Discs are small pieces of soft tissue that provide cushioning between the individual bones of the vertebrae. If a disk herniates, which is to say that part of it protrudes from its normal space, it can press on a nerve. Herniated discs can be treated in several different ways. Surgery is an option, but it is not always necessary.
5. A Variety of Diseases
Although back pain is rarely the result of a serious disease or infection, there are diseases that can cause it. We have already discussed osteoarthritis. There are others, including spinal stenosis, scoliosis, and osteoporosis.
Spinal stenosis is a condition in which the natural spaces within the spinal column narrow and compress. This puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. Osteoporosis is a condition that results in weak, brittle bones. Bones in the back can break, creating pain.
As for scoliosis, it is a skeletal irregularity that results in curvature of the spine. People with scoliosis tend to experience increased pain as they age. The disease is more likely to cause pain in older patients as compared to their younger counterparts.
Despite back pain being so common, we want you to know that it is treatable. Back pain is one of the conditions we treat most often here at Lone Star Pain Medicine. If you’ve been living with back pain under the misunderstanding that there’s nothing you can do about it, we hope you’ll come to see us for a second opinion.