Updated: Jun 2
Have you ever thought about what causes your back pain? Do you know where your pain originates from in your body? Have you ever visited a Manhattan pain management center to find out why you have back pain?
Many people who suffer from chronic back pain never seek treatment because they don't know the cause of their pain. Others ignore the problem and hope it goes away. The reasons for your back pain may be different than the reasons for someone else's back pain, making it difficult for you to decide how to treat yours and get better. But how can you prevent back pain and work to get your life back?
Many cases of back pain can be treated with non-invasive techniques to ease the discomfort. Read on to learn the possible cause of your back pain and how you can relieve the pain.
First, Know That You Are Not Alone
Our back is made up of a complex system of bones, cartilage, ligaments, and muscles that support us day in and day out. The vertebral column helps us move, bend and twist in a variety of directions without thinking about it. So naturally, we don't realize how much work it is doing until a degenerative problem surfaces, which causes you to experience aches and pains in your back.
It's not uncommon to experience back pain. Pain in the back is one of the most common conditions, resulting in about 80% of the adult population complaining about back pain at some point in their lives.
A lot of people think that back pain is only caused by inactivity and are not aware of the causes. And if left untreated, they can cause problems with the ability to function and maintain an active lifestyle. It is important that you consult your pain specialist when you are experiencing back pain so they can explain to you what is causing the discomfort and what can be done about it.
The Source of Your Pain Can Help You Manage it Better
There are many causes of back pain, including physical injuries and arthritis. The good news is that most cases can be treated with multidisciplinary approach. While many people think of back pain as a condition that's only temporary, it can become chronic and last for years if not treated properly. [Read article: Chronic Pain Management 101: 7 Signs That Your Back Pain Has Gone Chronic]
In fact, nearly half of all Americans who have chronic lower back pain experience symptoms for more than a year. And those who have back pain lasting longer than one month have a greater risk of developing depression and anxiety. Here are some common causes of back pain:
Inactivity, or lack of movement in your daily life, is one of the most common reasons for back pain. For example, sitting for extended periods of time can cause back pain. This is because your hips are designed to move, and when you sit for long periods of time, your hips get stuck in an unnatural position.
Spending most of your day sitting at a desk, driving in a car, or doing other sedentary activities makes it very easy to develop stiffness and tightness in your lower back muscles. This can lead to disc degeneration and narrowing of the space between bones in the vertebrae (spinal canal). You might also experience numbness in your legs or feet, which is a signal that it's time to get up and move around.
Poor posture is a common cause of back pain. The way we carry ourselves has a direct impact on our spinal health. For example, if you slouch or hunch over while sitting or standing, you're putting extra pressure on your lower back, which can lead to pain and muscle strain.
You're rounding your shoulders forward and tucking your chin when you slouch. This causes the top of your head to poke forward and strains muscles in the back of your neck. It also shortens the front of your body and lengthens the back, which stresses the muscles and ligaments that hold up your torso.
When you slouch, gravity pulls down your discs. This puts pressure on them and makes them bulge or rupture if they're already weak or damaged. The same thing happens with nerves when they're stretched too far — they can get pinched or compressed by bones or other tissues in your spine.
Slouching also changes how much weight you're putting on different parts of your body. When you're standing upright with good posture, most of the stress goes through joints at an angle that's relatively easy for them to handle (with some exceptions). But when you slouch, there's suddenly more weight coming through joints at a straight angle.
It's important to make sure you're posture is correct. For example, your spine should be straight and your feet flat on the floor. A more upright posture also improves blood flow through the spine, which reduces stiffness and helps prevent arthritis.
If your back pain is chronic or long-lasting, it's more likely to be due to a condition such as arthritis or spinal stenosis — narrowing of the spinal column — which will require different treatments.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is a degenerative joint disease that causes stiffness, swelling, inflammation, and pain in your joints. The pain often worsens when you move the affected joint. It most commonly affects your knees, hips, hands, and spine, but it can also affect other parts of your body.
Weak core muscles
The core muscles are the group of muscles that support the spine, pelvis, and lower back. It is made up of the abdominal muscles, back muscles, and pelvic floor muscles. Weak core muscles can lead to poor posture, low back pain, and injuries.
For example, poor posture is often caused by sitting at a desk all day or driving in a car for long periods of time. This can cause your body to become stiff and tight in the shoulders, neck, and upper back. This stiffness can lead to lower back pain because it affects how you move throughout the day.
Core strengthening exercises are done to improve posture, strength, and flexibility of the spine. These exercises can also help prevent injuries like sprains or strains while playing sports or performing other activities that require quick movements, such as running or jumping.
There are many different types of core strengthening exercises that you can do. A physical therapist can teach you exercises to strengthen and stretch the muscles in your lower back, hips, and legs. This may help to relieve your pain and stiffness. You may need to do these exercises every day at home for several weeks before they start to work.
Injuries or overuse
Injuries or overuse can lead to muscle strain or spasms. If you have a sudden injury, it's likely that you will feel pain directly where the injury occurred. Likewise, bending down frequently without proper preparation or support can strain muscles in your lower back — especially if you're lifting something heavy like furniture or luggage.
Muscle strain is a common cause of back pain that can last anywhere from two weeks up to several months, depending on its severity. You might also get a muscle strain if you've been exercising too much without warming up first, especially if you haven't been doing regular exercise before this time.
Spasms are sudden, painful contractions that may occur when parts of your body are irritated by something like an injury or disease process in another part of your body (such as arthritis). Spasms tend to come and go and aren't usually ongoing like strains and sprains are.
Spinal disc disease
Spinal disc disease is another cause of lower back pain. Discs are made up of strong cartilage tissue between each vertebra in your spine that act like cushions between bones in your back.
When you have spinal disc disease, these discs lose their water content, become brittle, and thin out — causing them to bulge out from the joint space between two vertebrae. This bulge can push on nearby nerves and cause pain that radiates down into your legs, hips, or buttocks areas.
Stress is a major contributor to back pain. Stress can come from many different sources, and over time, stress can cause your body to tense up and put more pressure on your spine, which puts additional pressure on your spine. This can cause minor aches or pains that may feel like a dull throbbing sensation in your lower back.
When you're stressed, it's easy to make poor choices about how you spend your time and energy. You may take on too much work or sleep too little, which puts additional strain on your back. If you have a desk job, you may not be getting enough exercise throughout the day to help keep your muscles loose and flexible.
Stress also has an impact on how well you sleep at night. When you're stressed out, it's harder to fall asleep easily at night, which means you'll likely wake up in the middle of the night because of pain or discomfort. And when you don't get enough sleep at night, it becomes harder for your body to cope with stress during the day.
There are Treatments Available for Back Pain
In some cases, mild to moderate back pain goes away on its own within a few days or with simple exercises and stretches. However, if you have chronic back pain or have been dealing with it for more than three months, you should consult with a pain management professional who specializes in treating musculoskeletal disorders.
Many different factors causes back pain and treatment options are available. The treatment for back pain depends on the cause and severity of the condition. Talk with a specialist about the best treatment options for your specific type of back pain. They may recommend physical therapy, steroid injections, or other treatments to help ease symptoms and prevent them from coming back.
Physical therapists often treat people who have chronic back problems. They are highly trained professionals who use exercise, massage, and other treatments to help people with injuries or disabilities improve their health and function.
Stretching exercises help loosen tight muscles if you have arthritis or other conditions that affect soft tissue in your spine. Massage therapy may help relax tight muscles, so they're less likely to spasm (tighten). In many cases, physical therapists can help prevent chronic back pain from occurring in the first place. If you've had back pain for a long time, physical therapy may help you regain strength and flexibility so you can move without pain again.
Don't Let Your Back Pain Untreated
When it comes to back pain, you need to understand what's causing your pain and how to try to alleviate it. Back pain is a major cause of disability, and studies suggest that not properly treating it can lead to devastating health complications later in life. Therefore, knowing what causes back pain and how to treat it should be among your top priorities.
If you have back pain, it's easy to focus on the negative. You probably want to know when the pain will end or how to make it stop altogether. And that's understandable. But being proactive about your pain—while there are ways to make it better—may help lessen your discomfort and reduce its severity. And if you do so with the right treatment from a Manhattan pain management professional, you should be in good shape to get yourself back on track.