Up to 80% of American adults will suffer from back pain at some point. Back pain can result from a variety of causes and really affect quality of life. Knowing the cause of your back pain and proper treatment can help your back feel better and keep you feeling happy.
There are many common causes of back pain ranging from a sedentary lifestyle, foot injuries or ailments, hard physical work, pregnancy, aging, obesity, even depression or stress. Back pain symptoms can include muscle aches, shooting pain, stiffness or limited range of motion, as well as pain that radiates down your legs.
According to the , there are several possible causes for different back pain symptoms. If you have sore back muscles, your pain may be caused by a muscle or ligament strain. Heavy lifting, especially if you’re not in top shape, can cause spasms in your back muscles.
If you have chronic back pain or pain that radiates down your leg, you might have a bulging or ruptured disc. In your back, gel-like discs act as cushions between the vertebrae of your spine. When a disc bulges out of place or ruptures, it can push on a nerve causing back pain.
Back pain can also be caused by arthritis, scoliosis, or osteoporosis, which can cause compression fractures. recommends you talk to your doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment options if you have chronic pain (10 days or longer), swelling or tingling, sudden changes in bowel function, or are over 70 years old.
In addition to consulting your doctor, there are several steps you can take to treat your pain. Regular stretching or yoga practice can help you relax your muscles and improve your posture, promoting a healthy back and working to ease back pain. Because maintaining a healthy weight helps promote a healthy back, regular exercise can help as well. When you experience pain, use a hot pad to relax your muscles or a back brace to promote better posture. Any new workout routine should be discussed with your doctor. The intensity of the workout should also only increase after an appropriate amount of time.
You may also consult an alternative care practitioner such as a chiropractor, acupuncture expert, or massage therapist to help with your back pain. Some doctors recommend manipulation of your back muscles and spine to help correct misalignment that can cause aches and pain.
To prevent back pain, the best step is to exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight. Weak core muscles (your abdominals and back) can cause strain on your back. Regular low-impact physical activity can help you develop strong muscles and prevent back pain. Additionally, developing flexibility in your muscles can help prevent strains and misalignment of your spine. Flexible hips, legs, and back muscles can help your back function properly and improve your over-all physical health too.
In addition to developing strong, flexible muscles, good posture, and smart lifting can help prevent back pain. When you stand, maintain a neutral pelvis (don’t tilt your hips) and keep your shoulders aligned above your hips. If you have to stand for long periods, shift the weight periodically to take the strain off your lower back. You may also wear for extra care. When sitting, choose a chair with good lower back support. Keep your knees level with your feet, your shoulders back, and your back straight. Shift positions periodically to prevent stiffness. When lifting, lift from your knees. Ask for help if you need it!
A healthy back does more than prevent pain; it promotes over-all good health and confidence. There’s a reason your mom always told you to stand up straight.