7 common causes of back pain
Between 60-80 percent of adults in the United States will experience neck, spine, and back pain at some point in their lives. Back pain is one of the most common medical conditions reported in the U.S., and you're likely to experience it at some point in your life. This type of pain is typically a symptom of some other medical condition and can have many causes.
Here are seven common reasons for having a sore, aching, or painful back:
1. Pulled muscle or tendon: Lifting boxes or heavy objects, working out, and even sleeping in an awkward position can lead to a sore back. Often this means you might have strained or sprained one of the many muscles and tendons in your back. Back pain from a pulled muscle or ligament can sometimes cause tightness and spasms.
2. Inflammation: Inflammation is part of your body's natural immune response but can still cause discomfort, heat, and pain. If inflammation lingers because of an injury or disease, it can cause chronic soreness in your back and spine.
3. Arthritis: More than 52 million adults suffer from the stiffness and pain of arthritis. Arthritis is a type of chronic inflammation that can affect joints throughout your body, including your back. Arthritis pain is often associated with stiffness and swelling.
4. Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bone mass to decrease, especially in the hip, wrist, and spine. This decreased mass makes bones weaker and can lead to painful fractures.
5. Injured, herniated, and ruptured discs: Cushions of tissue called discs separate the bony vertebrae of your spine. When these discs move out of place, bulge, or are injured, they can become painful and even debilitating. Discs become more prone to damage as you age.
6. Stress: Your spine has an important job in keeping your body upright. Poor posture and excess weight can both cause extra stress on your spine. When your back muscles have to work extra hard, that can cause discomfort and aching in your back.
7. Fibromyalgia: Fibromyalgia is not well understood but can cause pain throughout your body, including your back. Although researchers are still working to understand the aches and pains of fibromyalgia, most agree it's caused by abnormalities in the nervous system.
Even though there are many different causes of back pain, it can often be treated and managed. Lifestyle changes such as learning to lift heavy objects carefully, sleeping in a back-friendly position, and maintaining a healthy weight can help relieve back discomfort. If your back pain is severe or debilitating, it's time to talk to an orthopedic specialist at Reid Health about options to improve your symptoms.
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