Back pain affects millions of Americans and is a leading cause of physical incapacitation worldwide. The intensity of the discomfort usually varies from person to person, depending on the grounds of back pain. You may experience a dull muscle ache or a sharp, burning, or stabbing sensation on your lower back. If your pain is mild, home remedies such as over-the-counter medications, rest, and hot compresses may help alleviate the pain. However, you may need to see Adam E. Shestack MD if the pain does not improve with self-care measures or you have additional symptoms such as weakness and numbness in one or both legs.
The following are the different causes of lower back pain and measures to prevent or relieve back pain episodes.
Causes of back pain
Most back pain develops without a cause that your doctor can establish with a test or imaging study. The most common reasons for back pain include:
Herniated or bulged disc
The vertebrae are small bones that make up your spinal cord. Between the vertebrae lie round discs that cushion the bones and absorb shock. These discs have a tough outer membrane called the annulus, protecting the nucleus. Over time, the annulus degenerates and may develop a weak spot through which the disc’s inner content pushes out. When the disc nucleus bulges in the spinal space, it may press on nerves, producing pain.
Herniated or ruptured discs can occur anywhere along the spine but are common in the cervical (neck) and lumbar (back) regions. You may experience pain based on where the disc has bulged along the spine. Sometimes herniated discs cause no symptoms.
Constantly lifting heavy objects may strain your muscles and other connective tissues, including ligaments and tendons, causing pain. Pulled muscles are common in your lower back and may result from sudden awkward movements. It may overstretch if you strain your muscle, but severe injuries can cause partial or complete tears. The intensity of the symptoms you experience depends on the severity of the damage. Muscle and ligament strains cause pain, muscle spasms, limited motion, redness, muscle weakness, and swelling.
Although anyone can strain a muscle, being physically unfit puts you at risk of this problem. Your muscles are meant to be in motion, and lack of exercise makes them rigid. Strengthening exercises can help you reduce your risk for muscle strains.
Osteoporosis is a health condition that makes your bones brittle and more likely to fracture from mild stress. It is an age-related problem that mainly attacks the hips, spine, and wrists but can affect any bones in your body. Osteoporosis develops when there is insufficient done renewal to replace bone breakdown. During your younger years between 20 and 30, your bone renewal occurs more rapidly than the breakdown. For this reason, you have adequate bone mass, meaning that your bones are strong.
However, as you grow older, bone renewal decreases, causing your bones to become fragile gradually. Your risk of osteoporosis depends on how much bone mass you attained during your youth. Symptoms of osteoporosis include stooped posture, loss of height, and easily fractured bones.
If back pain is getting in the way of your daily activities, book a session with your doctor at Florida Pain Management Institute for treatment to improve your quality of life.