Back Pain Causes
By Caitlin Violette, PT, DPT
Back pain causes disability throughout the world. Luckily, surgery is rarely needed to fix back pain and you should be able to treat it easily. There is often home treatment that you can do to improve your pain.
Back pain will often be felt in the form of back aches or pain radiating down the leg. This can sometimes be a shooting or stabbing pain. Back pain can be caused by many different factors.
Back Pain Causes
There are many back pain causes and speaking with your doctor is always a good idea to figure out your cause and help to prevent future flare-ups.
- Muscle or ligament strain. Lifting something heavy or repeated lifting can strain the back, especially with poor mechanics such as bending instead of squatting to lift objects. A sudden awkward movement such as bending or twisting in a weird way.
- Arthritis. Osteoarthritis of the lumbar spine (low back) can lead to narrow space around the spinal cord. This can cause spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis will be relieved by bending forward as this decreases the narrowing around the spinal cord.
- Osteoporosis. Porous and brittle bones can be susceptible to compression fractures in the spine.
- Bulging or herniated disc. The disc acts as a shock absorber for the vertebrae, the bones in spine. The discs are filled with a jelly like material called the nucleus pulposus. When this fluid bulges or ruptures out of the disc, it can press on a nerve and cause pain. Bulging discs are also common in people without back pain. It is common for disc disease to be found on an x-ray for another reason. It can be the cause of pain but is not always, even when imaging comes back positive.
- Scoliosis. You could have some pain when your spine curves to one side. Pain is usually not from this until middle age.
- Accidents or Injuries. Falls, car accidents, or any other traumatic injury can cause back pain. Injuries can cause fractures or muscle strains. It would be smart to see your doctor if you have had a traumatic injury.
- Lifestyle and body mechanics. Daily activities such as lifting heavy objects or slouching at your desk can cause low back pain. Being overweight, not exercising, and smoking are factors associated with back pain, also.
Prevention of Back Pain
Back pain causes have been listed above, but what can you do to prevent back pain? There is a lot you can do at home to prevent a flare-up of your back pain.
- Keeping a healthy weight. Being overweight puts a strain on your entire body, including your back. Losing excess weight if you are overweight can assist with keeping your pain away.
- Exercise. The body likes movement. Increasing your strength and endurance in your back muscles and core will let you move better to do the things you want to do without pain.
- Back strength and flexibility. Keeping your entire core strong is critical to prevent back pain; the muscles help to stabilize the spine to improve your movement without pain. Keeping your hips and legs flexible also helps with low back and pelvic alignment so you can do your activities with your back feeling better.
If you have persistent tightness or pain in your back, physical therapy can be a helpful option. A physical therapist will evaluate the health of your back and the surrounding area to determine any issues.
The Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute has the answers for your back pain. From world class physical therapy to the some of the top orthopedic surgeons in the country. JOI has the experience to solve your back issues. Come see us!