The back is a highly complex part of the body as it contains joints, nerves, muscles, and bones. Because of this, the most common causes of back pain can be very hard to determine, as there are so many parts that it could affect. In the majority of cases, the issue is not really serious and not related to a disease. Rather, most people have an irritated or pinched nerve, an injury or strain, or a minor sprain. This is often caused by general day to day activities, but they can become worse over time.
The Most Common Causes of Back Pain:
The most common causes of back pain include:
– Long periods of bending in an awkward way
– Pulling, pushing, carrying, or lifting heavy objects
– Slouching when sitting down
– Doing awkward twists
– Sitting or driving while hunched for a long time without breaks
– Overusing your muscles, including repetitive strain injuries common in sports.
Sometimes, back pain seems to come on all of a sudden for no clear reason. You may, for instance, wake up on the morning with significant pain in your back, but not know of anything that could have caused it.
Who Is at Risk of Back Pain?
There are a number of things that can make it more likely for you to develop back pain. These include:
– Being overweight or obese, as the additional weight carries by the body puts serious pressure on the spine. Make sure, therefore, that your BMI is within the healthy range.
– Smoking, because tobacco can cause tissue damage anywhere in the body, including the back. Additionally, smokers tend to have less healthy lifestyles overall, such as not exercising enough and eating too much.
– Pregnancy, because the weight of being pregnant often puts significant strain on the back. The back pain should go away after the baby is born. If not, you may want to seek medical attention.
– Long term prescription drug use, particularly if this weakens the bones just like corticosteroids do.
– Being depressed or stressed.
While these are the most common back pain causes, there are a number of other possibilities as well, including:
– Sciatica or a prolapsed or slipped disc. Lower back pain, particularly if it comes with tingling and numbness down one leg, could be indicative of this.
– Arthritis, which tends to manifest itself as stiffness on waking up, as well as painful walking during the day.
– Frozen shoulder. If it takes more than half an hour for this stiffness to resolve itself, or if it seems to appear or get worse during or after exercise, you should speak to your physician.
– Whiplash, which usually leads to back pain, headaches, stiffness and neck pain. A whiplash usually occurs during a road traffic accident.
In very rare cases, back pain can also be indicative of far more serious problems. These include cancer, spinal infections, or spinal fractures. If you visit your physician describing this type of back pain, they are likely to look at whether you have any underlying conditions, thereby hopefully ruling out any of these conditions.