Back pain affects over 80 percent of people at some point during their lifetime. This pain usually originates from the muscles, bones, nerves, or joints which can contribute to several types of back pain. The most common types of back pain include neck pain, lower back pain, middle back pain, and tailbone pain. However, there can be many underlying causes for each of these.
Causes of Back Pain
While there are many obvious causes of back pain, there are also various underlying conditions that back pain can signal. Some of these underlying conditions are scoliosis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, endometriosis, fibromyalgia or kidney stones. Infections and tumors are also underlying causes back pain. Many intra-abdominal disorders, such as bladder infections, appendicitis, and kidney diseases may also cause pain in the back
Additionally, spine injuries, like fractures and sprains, can trigger chronic back pain. Inflammation of nerves from the spine is a health condition that often occurs from improper or heavy lifting or after a sudden awkward movement, and can be a major cause of upper back pain. However, recent studies suggest that psychosocial factors such as dysfunctional family relationships and stress can also cause back pain.
Pregnant women and older adults face an increased risk of developing back pain. Those who suffer from depression and anxiety are more likely to develop this condition. Back pain is more common among women than men. Obesity is often associated with back pain. Strenuous physical exercise and smoking may also cause pain in the back.
Back Pain Symptoms
It is important to understand that back pain is a symptom of a health condition, not a diagnosis itself. Although the causes may be different, most often they share the same signs and symptoms. Pain in the lumbosacral area is the primary symptom associated with this condition. The pain may be worse at night. Its intensity varies from mild to severe. Back pain symptoms may include:
• Inability to stand straight
• Limited flexibility of your back
• Numbness (lack of feeling) in any part of your leg
• Stiffness of the back muscles in the morning
• Muscle weakness
• Numbness around the genitals
• Difficulty urinating
• Inflammation (swelling) on the back
• Weight loss
• Severe muscle spasms
• Achy and dull pain
• Difficulty moving that can be severe enough to prevent standing or walking
• Pain that wakes you up from sleep
Back pain symptoms depend on the cause. People with arthritis of the spine may experience severe pain that starts gradually and lasts longer than six months. If you have sciatica, you may experience ongoing pain accompanied by weakness, numbness or difficulty moving the leg. In most cases, the pain goes away with simple back care products or exercise.
The basic treatment for relieving back pain is rest. Your doctor may also recommend physical therapy, individually tailored exercise programs, and controlled application of heat. Over-the-counter painkillers can be helpful. Hot or cold compression packs may also help relieve pain. For back pain lasting for more than six weeks, treatment involves a combination of muscle relaxants and anticonvulsants. Other treatment options include massage therapy, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and acupuncture. Surgery is the last resort in the treatment of back pain.
Lower Back Pain Stretch:
Back pain may indicate a severe condition. If back pain keeps you from normal daily activities, seek medical help. Regular exercise is an excellent way to prevent back pain. Activities such as pilates and yoga can improve your flexibility and strengthen your back muscles.
Jaime Arnold is a staff writer for BackPainRelief and yoga enthusiast. Jamie is also an animal lover and avid traveler, and loves to blog about health, fitness, and back pain relief.