As I rolled out of bed this morning with my lower back aching and stiff, I thought to myself…..This is my topic for today.
I consider myself exceptionally fit for my age and exercise and stretch on a regular basis. So what is causing my back pain?
Here are some facts we all should know about back pain:
The number of medical visits made due to back pain is second only to those caused by upper respiratory illnesses. Back pain occurs because some of the vital areas of the back and spine either degenerate or are under significant stress. Let’s take a brief look at the back’s anatomy and physiology. This will help you learn how these important parts function and relate to the movement of your body. Whether you move backward, forward, upward or downward, your back plays an essential part in propelling your body.
The back is an intricate and complex part of your anatomy. The back consists of the entire posterior of the body that extends from the neck to the buttocks. It refers to both a rigid, protective, bony sheath and an intricate musculoskeletal system that bears the force of your weight and drives motion.
The spine is a critical component that holds your body erect and supports your entire body while performing wide ranges of motion. The spine is divided into four individual regions. Although separate, these four regions can’t work without each other. The regions are the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral regions.
The musculoskeletal component of the back is its second significant section. Generally, the muscles of your back are responsible for allowing proper movement of your spine and your back. There are three types of muscles in the back: extensor muscles, flexor muscles, and oblique muscles.
While the incidence of back pain varies year by year, it usually remains near the top of the prevalence charts. The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) revealed that over 31 million Americans experience lower back pain at any given time. The ACA reported that almost one-half of working Americans admit to having back pain every year. The ACA also said that experts believe that almost 80% of the entire population will experience back pain at some time in their lives. Health care funds spent on the diagnosis and treatment of back pain are estimated to be at least $50 billion annually, along with additional costs relating to disability and delays in people returning to work.
There are as many causes of back pain as there are different and various anatomic parts that comprise the back.
Here are some common causes of back pain:
Bulging or ruptured discs
Intervertebral disc degeneration
While the causes of back pain are typically physical, it is very important to know that emotional stress can play a part in how severe the pain is and how long it lasts. Stress can affect the body in many ways. Some ways include causing the back muscles to become tense and strained, leading to pain and discomfort.
There are several warning signs that back pain may need medical attention. You should consider the following as significant indicators to seek help immediately:
Lower back pain which extends down the leg (this indicates that something is compressing a nerve that runs from your back to your leg)
Leg pain which increases as you lift your leg to your chest or bend over (there is a good chance that a disc is irritating a nerve)
Back pain caused by a fall and your movement is limited (this indicates damage to your spine)
Back pain which becomes worse when at rest or it wakes you up at night (especially if it is accompanied by fever; this can indicate that there is an infection or other serious problem)
Persistent bladder and bowel problems (may be a sign of a tumour compressing the spinal cord)
Numbness or weakness in the leg while walking (this can be an indicator of spinal stenosis)
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms with your acute or chronic back pain, don’t delay, consult with your doctor as soon as possible. A healthy back is the foundation for an active lifestyle.