The Main Causes Of Back Pain & How To Avoid It
Countless people suffer from acute or chronic back pain that can be so bad that people have to alter their daily lives in an attempt to keep away the pain. There are different types of back pain that can hit people at different times in their lives for different reasons. The causes of the back pain can be anything from strained muscles to spine deformities.
Here, you’ll find out the common causes of back pain and how to avoid it during your daily activities.
Causes Of Back Pain
Whether it comes on suddenly or has been a chronic problem that lasts for long periods of time, back pain happens for different reasons. There are a lot of times where back pain comes about for no real reason other than muscle fatigue or even stress and tension. There are a few different things that can be flagged as causes of back pain, however. Some of the common causes are:
#1. Muscle/Ligament Strain
If you were lifting heavy items, bending over frequently, or simply moved the wrong way you could have strained some muscles or ligaments in your back. This can cause back pain in one spot or radiating pain throughout the back when you move a certain way. If you’re in bad physical shape, this can lead to more pain and spasms in the muscles in question.
#2. Ruptured/Bulging Disks
While the disks in your spinal cord act as a sort of cushion between your vertebrae, there is also soft material inside of them. This material can start to bulge or even rupture causing pressure on nerves and cause back pain. Bulges or ruptures can occur from trauma or even age. You can only know about this injury through x-rays to your spine.
Osteoarthritis can target your lower back in the same way that it can affect your other bones. When it occurs, it can cause back pain and stiffness and also lead to spinal stenosis, the narrowing of the empty space surrounding the spinal cord.
#4. Skeletal Issues
If you have scoliosis where your spine curves unnaturally, you can have chronic back pain. Here, the spine curves to the one side or the other and can put pressure on muscles and nerves. While some cases of scoliosis are mild and don’t lead to pain, other cases can be quite severe and cause severe debilitating pain and even problems walking.
This disease causes your bones to become weak and brittle. It leads to broken bones and is most common in the elderly. When osteoporosis attacks the spine, the vertebrae can sustain compression fractures easily from minor stress. This can cause back pain which is usually the only symptom related to the disease before it is diagnosed.
#6. Facet Joint Dysfunction
Behind each disk are two facet joints to facilitate motion. Around the joints are cartilage and ligaments that are full of nerves. These joints can become inflamed and cause pain on their own or along with disk pain from bulges or ruptures
#7. Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction
This joint is the one that connects each side of the pelvis to the sacrum. It’s a low-motion joint that is made to absorb tension and shock that occurs through the upper and lower body. If there is too much tension, shock, or motion the sacroiliac joint can become inflamed and cause back pain.
When a vertebra slips over another vertebra, spondylolisthesis occurs. This occurs pain typically in the lower back. The pain can also come from instability in the back from the condition along with nerve compression in the leg from shock. Spondylolisthesis usually occurs due to joint disorders in the spine like the previously mentioned facet dysfunction.
#9. General Trauma
If you had a back injury including a spine dislocation or fractures to the spine, you may be in pain more often than not. These types of issues can occur if you’ve been in a motor vehicle accident, took a bad fall, or underwent another trauma that harmed your back.
These are the most common causes of back pain in the general population, but there can be other causes of back pain that weren’t discussed here. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you believe that your back pain is more than just a strained muscle or ligament.
How To Avoid Back Pain
Now that you know some of the most common causes of back pain, you can take care to try and avoid the activities that can lead to back pain in your daily life. While certain medical conditions or previous trauma can cause pain and might night be easily avoidable, the tips here can help you lessen chronic pain or at least help you get some relief from your back pain.
Remember, discuss any exercise plan or alternative treatment with your doctor in order to make sure you’re not exacerbating any of your current conditions that might be leading to the pain.
- Exercise: Moving around might not sound too appealing when you’re dealing with back pain, but physical activity and remaining active can help prevent acute pain. The more active you are, the more your muscles are used to moving and working. When you’re stagnant, your muscles are more prone to strains and even tears since they aren’t used to moving as much. Doing something as simple as stretching can help keep your muscles loose and strong.
- Eat a proper diet: Believe it or not, spicy foods or greasy fast foods can put a strain on your nervous system and lead to back pain. Choosing lean meats, fresh vegetables and fruit, and whole grains can help you avoid back pain by feeding your body properly and keeping strain off of your nervous system.
- Sleep on your side: Sleeping on your back can lead to back pain. Medical professionals have found that sleeping on your side if the best way to avoid back pain. If you are someone who can’t sleep on your side, sleep on your stomach with a pillow positioned under your abdomen to take some stress off your back. Make sure your mattress and pillow are also supportive as any strain on your body can lead to back pain.
- Watch your posture: If you sit at a computer all day or just generally slouch, you can be causing your own back pain. By maintaining good posture, you can help ease strain to your spine and the muscles in your back. Try to get an ergonomic chair to help you if you sit at a desk a lot during the day. You should also try to move around when you can get away from your desk. Generally, make sure that you keep your back straight when you walk or are sitting casually.
- Lower your stress level: Stress plays an important role in your overall health so it should be no surprise that it can lead to back pain, too. When you are feeling stressed, your body tenses almost automatically causing strain to your muscles. It may also cause inflammation in the body that will lead to pain. Try different stress busting activities to stay as relaxed as possible throughout your day.
- Quit smoking: Smoking cigarettes can cause damage in many different ways but not many people know that it can also cause chronic back pain in people who have any kind of existing back pain. The reason for this isn’t entirely clear yet, but most believe that the narrowing of blood vessels and the decreased amount of oxygen and nutrients being carried to the spine can cause pain and lead to more spinal injuries.
- Lose weight or maintain a healthy weight: The more weight you carry around, the more strain you’re putting on your body, especially your spine and your legs. If you’re overweight, consider losing weight and maintaining a healthy body weight in order to take the pressure off of your spine and decrease your chances of back pain.
- Use braces or other supports: If your back pain is acute and related to things like heavy lifting or awkward motions, you can help limit that impact by wearing a back brace or wrap your back in an Ace bandage. This additional support can help you as you do strenuous activities that might cause muscle strains or tears.
Now that you know some of the causes of back pain and how to avoid it, you can go about your daily life with a better understanding of what your body is going through. Be sure to keep the tips to avoid back pain in mind throughout your day. If your back pain is from a medical condition like the ones discussed here (or if you suspect it to be), talk to your doctor about a management plan that is right for you.