General Health

7 Common Reasons for Back Pain and How to Avoid Injury

Common Reasons for Back Pain

So many people suffer with back pain and it can be both frustrating and debilitating. Understanding the cause can help to offset the risks however, it takes very little to injure your back. A sudden movement without thinking can easily lead to a pulled muscle and even though, this is likely to heal quickly, it is an unnecessary pain. Even one sudden sneeze can cause muscular spasms or worse if not careful. Think about the amount of stress in your life. Stress helps tighten the muscles of the neck and back region making it easier to injure them. Stress also works to intensify existing pain, so, the emphasis must be on preventative measures.

Here are 7 additional reasons for back pain.

  1. Back pain and lifestyle issues

Accidents can occur without warning and a car accident may lead to whiplash or worse. Any type of injury can cause pain in the back however, or, lead to other injuries such as fracturing a bone if tripping over or if falling. These are common injuries. While it is impossible to avoid these types of accidents, pain caused through moving or lifting incorrectly is avoidable.

When strain impacts the muscles, ligaments or tendons, it will be difficult to lift or to perform twisting movements. Learning to lift correctly is paramount. Instead of bending forward to pick up a heavy object, lift through the legs. The legs are stronger and more resilient that the back. Standing awkwardly or sitting in a poor position for long periods of time also create risks. When at work, good ergonomics is essential as is moving regularly to ensure flexibility and having time out from the desk.

  1. Herniated discs

Herniated discs are painful. It is often known as a  slipped disc and is where the soft tissue within the disc protrudes. This may be due to wear and tear and can lead to pain in the lower back or hip region if the nerve is compressed. When it comes to degenerative disc disease, think of the discs as shock absorbers. If they shrink, which they are liable to do, the bones may rub together.

The discs are extremely important in that they aid flexibility.  There is a tough outer wall and a soft core. When they dry out, lose water and become thinner, they are unable to absorb trauma in the same way. They may even crack as a result of everyday movements and even minor injuries can cause tiny tears in this external wall. If the damage is severe, the softcore can push through the cracks.

When pain is experienced in the lower back, the buttocks or thighs, this can be indicative of degenerative disc disease. If the pain eases through movement and walking, or, if it suddenly comes and goes, or, feels worse when bending, twisting or lifting, this is indicative of degenerative disc disease. For some, it can lead to numbness or tingling in arms the arms and legs. This often happens through age.

  1. Damage to the sacroiliac joint

The sacroiliac joint provides stability in the back. It is located at the point where the spine and pelvis connect and is the joint between the sacrum and the ileum bones of the pelvis. The sacrum supports the spine and in turn, are supported on both sides by the ileum. It is a strong joint and it must be because it supports the entire upper body weight.

It is a synovial plane joint and there are two sacroiliac joints on the left and right side. Through age, the joint characteristics can change. In early life, they are flat, or planar but as we walk, the surfaces develop angular orientations. In addition, an elevated bridge develops along the iliac surface and there is a depression on the faithful surface. The ligaments increase the stability of the joints which is important to ward off dislocations. These joints act as shock absorbers. They have a self-locking mechanism which aid stability or walking.

If sacroiliac disease is diagnosed, there will be inflammation on one or both joints leading to back pain. In addition to the back hurting, pain may be experienced in the buttocks and thighs. Joint cartilage can wear away and injury, infection, arthritis or even pregnancy can play a role in impacting this joint.

  1. Back pain and arthritis

Arthritis is a very common disease impacting the joints and causes inflammation, stiffness and swelling. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease and it is known to affect those over a certain age, but it can affect young people when an injury occurs. Equally, if there is a genetic defect impacting the cartilage then this can lead to more pain. The cartilage that acts as protection breaks down and swelling occurs.  It may lead to bone spurs, stiffness and pain in the back and neck.

Reasons for Back Pain

  1. Spinal stenosis

Spinal stenosis is the term for the narrowing of the spinal canal and it occurs through osteoarthritis and wear and tear. It common in those over the age of 50. The root nerve compresses and this pinching sensation may lead to weakness or numbness. Osteoarthritis affects the spinal column but, the ligaments can thicken in the back along with the discs bulging.  It usually starts slowly but symptoms grow progressively worse over time.

  1. Cervical radiculopathy

A root nerve in the cervical spine becomes damaged and inflamed and this may cause numbness, weakness, pins and needles, tingling or burning sensations running down the arms. There are eight cervical nerve roots and they branch from the spinal cord and exit the spinal canal. These nerves enable the function of the shoulders, arms, hands and fingers. Some movements or, awkward head positions can be enough to irritate these nerves but usually, they heal without problems.

  1. Pregnancy and back pain

Back pain is common during pregnancy because the center of gravity shifts forward. Due to this, women may lean backwards and this strains muscles in the lower back. Two thirds of women experience low back pain during their pregnancy, but pain can occur in the center of the back, in the lumbar area or the tail bone.

In addition to posture, other factors for back pain include hormonal issues. In the first trimester, stress can lead to physical symptoms of muscle pain, stiffness and fatigue and in the second and third trimester, the uterus is expanding  and muscle separates.

Weight change along with changes in posture will all contribute to back pain. In respect of muscle separation, this relates to the two parallel bands of muscles connecting in the middle of the abdomen. These muscles play an important role in stabilizing and supporting the back and spine. As the fetus grows, it pushes against these abdominal muscles and this stretches them. As they become weaker, it increases the risk of back injury or low back or pelvic pain.

Preventative methods

It is not possible to always avoid back pain, but it makes sense to take some preventative measures to sustain health. By making simple adjustments in life, back pain may become a thing of the past. The spine is intricate and although, strong, if you sit, stand or move awkwardly repeatedly, you will strain it. Women often develop back problems through wearing high heels as this puts the body out of alignment, but any sudden fall or accident can lead to back pain.

Core muscles are so important when it comes to the health of your back. You have the front abdominal muscles, the internal and external obliques along the sides, the muscle that wraps itself around the front of the stomach known as the external obliques and the muscles in the back known as the multifidi and the erector spinae. By working on all these muscles once the back has healed, you will be less likely to develop back pain going forward. A strong core protects the back from minor issues and helps with movement and biomechanics.

In conclusion

It is important to consider the health of the back by looking at good nutrition, drinking plenty of water and managing weight. By improving sleep patterns, this can aid healing and learning to lift correctly can help avoid some back-muscle strains. Proper ergonomics in the workplace can also help to reduce stress on the lower and the upper back and if remaining active and stretching regularly, this will help to keep the body strong and flexible and will limit the potential for back pain.


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