Mild to moderate back pain is generally treated no worse than the common cold: take pain-relieving aids and wait for it to pass. What most people don’t know is that back pain, specifically lower back pain, is the leading cause of disability worldwide for senior citizens and the younger population alike.
Read on to see if any of the following 10 possible causes for back pain might be contributing towards your daily discomfort:
Located between two joints, discs contain a soft material (tissue) that acts as a cushion between any two vertebrae in your spine. Any damage to these disks or the material inside can result in moderate to severe back pain. These include:
Herniated or Slipped Disc:
Wear and tear can sometimes cause the soft disc tissue to leak out. This places extra pressure on the nerves close to the damaged disc, resulting in the lower back and/or hip pain.
In this case, the tissue protrudes but does not come out entirely as in the case of a herniated disc. Bulging discs don’t usually cause any symptoms unless pushing on a nerve root and are generally detected during testing for another cause of back pain.
A stronger variant of a herniated disk, sciatica occurs when the displaced disk presses on the sciatic nerve that connects the spine with the legs. As a result, sciatica is often marked by sudden lower back pain that radiates down the back thigh, legs and feet, producing a burning, pins and needles sensation.
Degenerative Disc Disease:
In this condition, a herniated disk either tears or thins out over time, causing the bones to rub together and placing pain-inducing pressure on spinal nerves. Degenerative Disk Disease generally occurs with age.
Accidents that occur during exercise or daily activity can damage spinal muscles, resulting in some of the most common causes of back pain:
Sprains and Strains:
Repetitive heavy lifting or sudden movement can affect the various ligaments, muscles, and tendons supporting the spine. In such cases, pain is generally felt in the muscles surrounding the spine, and may move down towards the buttocks.
Muscular spasms occur when muscles and tendons located in the lower back tear. Weightlifting, playing sports, and even a poor physical condition are the most common causes. The pain pattern is similar to that of a strain or sprain; only more intense.
A hit to the back or a fall can cause a break in the spine, resulting in sudden, intense pain often requiring immediate medical attention. Instances of bone fractures increase with osteoporosis; a bone-weakening chronic condition.
3-Inflammation and Wear of the Sacroiliac Joint:
Named after its location, the sacroiliac joint connects the spine and pelvis together, helping transfer the load of the upper body to the lower body. Therefore, any damage to the joint, or wearing away of the cartilage can result in moderate to severe pain.
As you age, your discs start to shrink, along with swelling in spinal bones and ligaments (if you have osteoarthritis). Both of these factors cause the spinal canal to sufficiently narrow. This puts extra pressure on the spine and spinal nerves, resulting in numbness, cramping, and weakness in the shoulders and legs that worsens when standing or walking.
This particular condition occurs when a crack or fracture in a vertebra weakens it to the extent where maintaining its original position becomes difficult. As a result, the weakened vertebra slowly begins to shift out of place, resulting in periodic lower back pain.
Commonly affecting older individuals, arthritis is a degenerative condition that gradually weakens the joints, resulting in stiffness, swelling, and inflammation. All of these factors cumulatively result in persistent, chronic back pain.
Chronic back pain can also be caused by certain daily activities that may worsen over time, even resulting in one of the above conditions. Some of these activities include:
- Regularly lifting heavy objects without maintaining the proper posture
- Slouching while sitting for prolonged time periods
- Regularly wearing high heels
- Failing to exercise regularly
- Excessive smoking
This is a relatively unknown, yet highly common cause of back pain. Prolonged stress causes back muscles to tense, which when paired with depression and anxiety can heighten the sensation of pain.
Moreover, fear of damaging one’s back, particularly in the case of high-risk patients or those affected with a degenerative condition leads to exercise avoidance. This in turn results in back pain due to underuse.
A primarily congenital condition, scoliosis is the abnormal curvature of the spine. When paired with consistently poor posture, it can result in excess pressure on the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and vertebrae, causing persistent back pain.
Scoliosis is generally initially diagnosed during childhood or adolescence, with the pain often surfacing duirng middle-age.
Perhaps the least concerning item on this list, pressure placed by the growing fetus on the organs and spine often results in lower back pain. A change in posture to accommodate the fetus can further contribute towards the pain.
Due to innumerable causes, your particular set of symptoms can help your doctor best diagnose and treat your condition. Book an appointment with a top psychiatrist or relationship counsellor in Lahore, Multan and Rawalpindi through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT professional for your concerns.