Almost 80% of Americans experience back pain at some point in their lives. Back pain is one of the leading causes of disability, and its prevalence has increased over time. Back pain can be caused by many different things, including injury or illness. This article will discuss how to prevent back discomfort from happening, what causes it to happen, and when you should see a doctor about your symptoms.
Back pain is one of the most common reasons people visit their doctor or miss work, and it is a major cause of disability worldwide.
Fortunately, you can take steps to avoid or alleviate the majority of back pain. If your back pain persists despite this, simple home therapy and good body posture may usually heal it in a few weeks and keep it operational. Back pain seldom requires surgical treatment.
Back pain can vary from an aching muscle to shooting, stabbing, burning, or sensation. The discomfort may also spread down your leg or increase with bending, twisting, lifting, standing, or walking.
When to see a doctor
Back pain typically improves after a few weeks of home treatment and self-care. If your back pain does not improve with these measures, see your doctor.
- Persists for a few weeks or more.
- Is there a lot of pain, and it doesn’t improve with rest.
- The pain may extend one or both legs, particularly if it reaches below the knee.
- Numbness, tingling, or weakness in one or both legs.
- Unexplained weight loss.
In extreme cases, back discomfort might indicate a critical medical condition. If your back pain gets worse or you have any of the symptoms listed below, go for immediate care:
- Causes new bladder or bowel problems
- If fever is associated with it
Although there is no precise cause for back pain, it can frequently be attributed to various health problems. Back pain is commonly caused by one or more of the following factors:
- Muscle or ligament strain. Repeated heavy lifting or a sudden forceful movement can put stress on back muscles and spinal ligaments. When you’re in poor physical condition, constant pressure on your back can result in painful muscular spasms.
- Bulging or ruptured disks. Disks serve as a cushion between the vertebrate in your spine. A disk’s soft interior may bulge or burst, applying pressure to a nerve. You can experience a bulging or ruptured disk without having back discomfort. Disk disease is commonly discovered incidentally when you have spine X-rays for some other reason.
- Arthritis. The lower back is susceptible to osteoarthritis. Arthritis can cause a narrowing of the space around the spinal cord, resulting in spinal stenosis.
- Osteoporosis. If your bones become penetrable and brittle, your spine’s vertebrae may fracture.
Back pain affects everyone, even youngsters and teenagers. These factors might raise your risk of back pain:
- Age. As you get older, back pain becomes more prevalent, beginning at around 30 or 40.
- Lack of exercise. Weak, inactive muscles in your abdomen and back may cause back discomfort.
- Excess weight. Excess body weight puts an additional strain on your back.
- Diseases. Back pain can be caused by a various diseases, including arthritis and cancer.
- Improper lifting. You can lead the strain on your back by using your back instead of your legs.
- Psychological conditions. Back pain is more likely in those who are prone to anxiety and depression.
- Smoking. Smokers are more likely to suffer from back pain. Smoking may contribute to herniated disks by prompting more coughing, which can cause pain and discomfort in the back. Smoke can reduce blood flow to the spine, putting you at risk of osteoporosis.
You can avoid or prevent back pain by improving your physical condition and learning and practicing good body mechanics.
To keep your back strong, do the following:
- Exercise. Low-impact aerobics, such as walking and swimming, can boost your back strength and endurance while allowing your muscles to function better. Your physician will advise you on what you can do.
- Build muscle flexibility and strength. Back and abdominal muscle routines, which tone your core, train these muscles to work together like a natural corset for your back.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Back muscles are strained when you’re overweight. Back discomfort can be avoided by reducing weight.
- Quit smoking. Smoking increases the chance of developing lower back pain. The more cigarettes you smoke, the higher your risk of suffering from low back pain.
Avoid any activities that put your back under strain.
- Stand smart. Don’t hunch over. Maintain a neutral pelvic posture. Place one foot on a low footstool if you must stand for an extended period to relieve some of the strain off your lower back—alternate feet. Good posture can alleviate the stress on back muscles.
- Sit smart. Choose a chair with good back support, armrests, and a swivel base. A rolled towel or a pillow can be used to keep your back straight. Keep your legs and hips level. Change your position at least every half-hour.
- Lift smart. If at all feasible, avoid heavy lifting, but if you’re required to lift anything hefty, use your legs rather than your back. Try your back straight and only bend at the knees. If the object is heavy or difficult to lift, enlist the help of a lifting partner.