"Oh my aching back!" This is one of the most common complaints that doctors hear each day. It is estimated that back pain will affect 4 out of 5 adults, at least one time during their lifetime! Back pain is currently the leading cause of work related disabilities.
The causes and symptoms of back pain vary according to:
- The area of the back that is involved
- The age and health of the sufferer
- The activities that the person engages in
- Underlying medical illness
- Hereditary defects (such as one leg being shorter than the other) are those defects that we are born with which predisposes a person to back pain
The structures of the back can be divided into the spine and the muscles that attach to it. The spine is our backbone and it not only protects our spinal cord, but it provides support for our entire body (without it we would not be walking upright on two feet). The muscles in the back attach to the spine, and help move the spine when we bend forward or lean to either side. Normally, the components of the back work in harmony, and we are pain free. However, when the back is overstressed in sports or everyday activities, or it is injured, the soft tissue structures become inflamed, swollen, and painful. If these problems are not immediately addressed, the individual may experience a period of complete disability.
Other causes of back pain can include:
- Aging...arthritic changes in the bony structures of the spine can cause pain and disability.
- Nerve impingements...a spinal nerve is compressed as it leaves the spinal column, causing numbness, abnormal feelings, and pain.
- Predisposing hereditary defects...such as a person having a short leg or poor posture causing the spine to move and bend in an irregular manner. This causes pain and fatigue.
- Excessive weight gain...causes abnormal forces to be placed upon the spine. This may result in lower back pain.
To fully understand back pain, we have provided the following information. Please click on the subject that you are interested in: