Do you know that back pain is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide? The stubborn pain that sometimes refuses to go away is also one of the most common reasons why people miss out on work. Back pain interferes with the quality of your daily routine at some point in your life and can affect people of any age or gender. There exist many types of back pain and each one can be unique and hard to diagnose and treat. That is why you must understand this complicated painful experience and its related symptoms for effective treatment. This article will help you to say no more to that stubborn pain in the back by demonstrating the types, causes, and risk factors of lower back pain. Alongside, the article throws light on 10 habits to stop that pain and how to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Types and Causes of Back Pain
Understanding the different types of back pain is essential to get a proper diagnosis. How you describe your pain to the physician is critical to identify or locate the cause of the pain. This further helps your doctor to find the appropriate treatment approach for you. Back pain is categorized into three types:
- Axial pain- In this case, the pain occurs in one specific spot or region and can be characterized as sharp or dull, persistent, or even throbbing. This type of pain is caused by muscle stiffness or strain.
- Referred pain- This form of pain differs intensity-wise and is described as dull yet achy. It may feel as though the pain is moving around to the hips and upper thighs.
- Radicular pain- The pain here feels like an electric-shock, sudden and excruciating. Also known as sciatica, radicular pain follows the spinal nerve root and is caused by inflammation in the same region.
So, what causes back pain? Lower back pain often develops followed by spinal degeneration and injury. Some pain is also known to develop without a cause. However, few commonly known causes linked to back pain are:
- Ligament strain- This is when you ‘pull a muscle’ due to heavy lifting and you strain your muscles. These types of regular strain on your muscles or ligament can cause spasms in muscles.
- Disc dislocation- Discs in your spine can bulge out or rupture, pressing on a nerve resulting in lower back pain.
- Arthritis and Osteoporosis- Osteoarthritis and osteoporosis can affect your lower back leading to develop painful fractures.
- Cauda equina syndrome- This condition arises when spinal nerve roots stand out from the spinal cord leading to a flat pain in your back and buttocks.
- Tumor or cancer- Cancer of the spine, undoubtedly may lead to excruciating lower back pain.
- Movement and posture- Sudden jolts, twisting, and poor postures also result in back pain.
Risk Factors of Lower Back Pain
Some other conditions associated with back pain are stress, anxiety, and extreme mood disorders, or psychological conditions. It is interesting to note that lower back pain is way more common in women than in men. However, both genders are equally susceptible to back pain if they are not aware of the risk factors linked to this condition. Some of them include:
- Lack of Exercise- A sedentary lifestyle makes your muscles weak and might lead to lower back pain.
- Pregnancy- Your body carries extra weight during pregnancy that makes you prone to back pain.
- Age- As you get older, your chances of getting back pain also increases.
- Heavy Lifting- Improper lifting, like using your back instead of your legs leads to muscle strain easily.
- Mood disorders- Psychological conditions like depression and anxiety can also cater to your risk of developing back pain.
- Obesity- Excess weight means extra stress on your back.
10 Ways to Fix That Pain
Although you can never predict what will cause you back pain, there are many ways or habits you can develop to keep that agonizing pain at bay. These ways and habits ensure that the pain doesn’t get worse and even protect your spine and strengthen your muscle. Follow these 10 steps for a pain-free back for the long haul.
- Exercise- Regular and proper exercise has major health benefits including a pain-free lower back! When your workout involves back and abs strengthening exercises, you develop a strong core that reduces the risk of strains and muscle spasms.
- Good nutrition- Increase your calcium and vitamin D intake to get stronger bones. Food such as milk, yogurt, leafy greens, fish, eggs, etc. has plenty of calcium and vitamin D that would make your spine stronger and better.
- Quit smoking- If you thought smoking only causes cancer, you were wrong. Many research outlines that smokers experience unhealthy and weak back that might result in strains causing back pain.
- Stretch- Stretching improves circulation to your back and reduces any strains on your lower back due to inactivity. You must do some simple stretches after sitting idle for a long time.
- Take some weight off- Please consider lightening your load in your daily life. Refrain from carrying unnecessary loads such as suitcases or even bags of groceries.
- Maintain good posture- Do not slump over your desk and avoid slouching at all costs. Bad posture puts immense strain on your back and can even change the shape of your spine structure.
- Good shoes- Change your shoes to comfortable, low-heeled ones, and experience the difference yourself!
- Improve your sleep positions- Improving your sleep positions based on the type of back pain you experience will lessen back pain to a certain extent. Sleeping on your side, your back, or even on your stomach depending on your pain will help you recover as well as put your spine in better alignment. Sleeping with a pillow under your knees or back or even stomach certainly helps as well.
- Maintain a healthy weight- We all know what being overweight does to our back. Thus, we must follow a healthy and active lifestyle to maintain a good and appropriate weight.
- Remain stress-free- Last but not least, your mental well-being plays a crucial role in reducing the chances of back pain. Engage in activities and people that provide you with a strong and healthy mental state and stay away from things that give you depression and anxiety.
Lifestyle, posture-correction, exercising, etc can help lessen back pain to a great extent. However, let us not forget that some back pain like lower back pain can suddenly flare up from nowhere and then subside as easily as it came- only to occur all over again, gradually escalating over time. The underlying root cause of the pain may be hard to determine on your own. Whether your job requires you to do the heavy lifting, or you being an athlete, or even if you are someone with ordinary jobs, the chances of developing lower back pain are inevitable as we age. Fortunately, the aforementioned measures can provide relief even to the most stubborn pain. See a doctor if the pain persists. Get your symptoms evaluated to identify the root cause of your pain and devise a personal treatment plan for yourself.