If you’re experiencing back pain, you’re in good company. Experts at the Mayo Clinic estimate that as many as 80 percent of Americans will experience low back pain at some point in their lives. The Global Burden of Disease 2010 indicates low back pain is the single most common cause of disability worldwide.
One possible reason why back pain is so prevalent is that so many different things can trigger it. Below is a quick compendium of just a few of the many possible causes of back pain.
1. Activity and posture
Many times back pain is triggered by our posture or our movement — how we move, stand, sit, lift, etc. Anything from a bad mattress to awkward bending to lifting something heavy to standing on a hard surface all day can trigger an episode of back pain, while bad posture can cause more chronic issues over time. Specific movement-related causes may include:
- Muscle strain
- Pulled ligaments
- Muscle spasms
- Spine issues
2. Structural causes
Back pain can also be tied to a number of different structural/skeletal causes, any of which can misshape the spine and cause undue pressure. These include:
- Curvature of the spine (e.g., scoliosis)
- Bulging or ruptured disks
3. Medical causes
Often a medical disorder or illness may cause back pain symptoms, including the following:
- Cancer of the spine
- Infections of the spine (e.g., spinal meningitis)
- Other infections (e.g., bladder infections, pelvic inflammatory disease)
Of course, any sudden or severe impact can cause injury to the back and spine, causing back pain.
5. Other Possible Causes
Back pain can be triggered or aggravated by quite a few other unrelated causes, including any/all of the following:
- Sleep deprivation
- Sedentary lifestyle
As you can see from the partial list above, back pain may be caused by a multitude of factors. In many cases, the pain is manageable and treatable by simple changes, such as correcting posture, exercise, diet and quitting smoking. At other times, back pain can be treated through physical therapy, massage therapy and other noninvasive treatments. For more acute, extreme or structural-related cases (including injury), surgery may be the best option — but usually we recommend surgery as a last resort.
Since back pain has so many possible causes, it’s not wise to try and diagnose yourself. If you’re experiencing back pain, the best course of action is to consult with a spinal specialist who can determine the exact cause(s) and recommend a course of treatment. To learn more, call Polaris Spine today at 404-256-2633.