What Causes Back Pain?
Almost everyone experiences back pain at some point in their lives. While back pain can lead to uncomfortable symptoms and interfere with your quality of life, there are ways to prevent and relieve it. Back pain usually occurs in the lower back but can also make its debut in the upper back. So what exactly causes back pain? Keep reading to find out.
Reasons for Back Pain
There are two types of back pain: temporary that only lasts for a short time and chronic that persists for more than 12 weeks. It may be the result of something simple like a pulled muscle or something more serious such as a chronic disease. While there are countless reasons you may experience back pain, some of the most common include:
- Scoliosis: You may be diagnosed with scoliosis if your spine curves unusually or to one side. Scoliosis is widely seen in adolescents and known to cause back pain.
- Herniated or Ruptured Discs: Discs are the cushions between the bones of your spine. When they rupture, you may face herniated or ruptured discs that prompt back pain.
- Pinched Nerves: An injury to a joint, muscle, or disc often causes a pinched nerve. If you have a pinched nerve, the nerves in your body may experience compression and send signals of pain to your brain.
- Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis is a condition that occurs when your bones become weak or brittle. They can stimulate compression fractures which lead to back pain.
Although anyone can develop back pain, there are a number of factors that can increase your risk for the condition. If you're overweight or obese, have a disease such as arthritis or cancer, smoke, lead a sedentary lifestyle, or cope with a psychological condition like anxiety or depression, you may be at a higher risk for back pain.
How to Relieve Back Pain
Fortunately, most cases of back pain can be relieved through conservative measures. A doctor may recommend rest, stretching, hot and cold therapy, medications, injections, and/or physical therapy to treat your condition.
Surgery is uncommon and usually only recommended when conservative treatments deem to be ineffective. If your back pain is related to radiating leg pain or progressive muscle weakness, surgery may be an option. It may also be worthwhile if your back pain has to do with a herniated disc or other structural complications that have not improved with other treatments.
If you're living with back pain and ready to pinpoint the cause and find the relief you deserve, it's time to consult a doctor.