Back pain causes can occur from injuries, activities, and sometimes medical conditions.
Back pain can affect people of any age and for different reasons.
As people age, the chances of developing low back pain increase, due to factors such as profession and degenerative disc diseases.
Back pain causes may be associated with:
- Lumbar spine bones.
- Discs between the vertebrae.
- Ligaments around the spine and discs.
- Lower back muscles.
- Internal abdominal and pelvic organs, and
- Skin around the lumbar area
In addition, back pain causes may be linked to disorders of the aorta, tumors in the chest, and inflammation of the spine.
But why does back pain develop?
Back pain causes
Human beings backs are made up of a complex structure of muscles, ligaments, tendons, discs and bones, which work together and harmoniously to support the weight of the body and allow us to move.
The segments of the spine rest on “padded” cartilage discs.
Back pain causes are generally associated with problems with some of these components.
Sometimes back pain is a complete mystery.
Back damage can occur from deformation, medical conditions, poor posture, among others.
Back pain main cause is deformation, stress, or injury. It frequently occurs due to:
- Deformed muscles or ligaments.
- Muscle spasms.
- Muscle tension.
- Damaged discs.
- Injury, fracture or fall
And the activities that can cause deformation or spasms are:
- Improperly lifting objects.
- Lifting objects that are very heavy.
- Make an abrupt and uncomfortable movement.
A large number of structural problems can also be back pain causes.
Among the structural problems that we can find we have:
- Disc Rupture: Each vertebra in the spinal column is padded by discs. If the cliffs break, they will put more pressure on the nerves, resulting in back pain.
- Disc Inflammation: As with ruptured discs, an inflamed disc can be produced by more pressure on a nerve.
- Sciatica: Sciatica is a sharp, throbbing pain that can travel down the buttocks and back of the thighs, caused by a swollen or herniated disc that presses on a nerve.
- Arthritis: Arthritis in the bones can cause problems with the joints in the hips, lower back, and other places. In some cases, the space around the spine and nerve is reduced, producing what is known as spinal stenosis.
- Abnormal curvature of the spine: If the curvature of the spine is unusual in shape, it can cause back pain. An example of this is scoliosis, in which the spine curves to one side.
- Osteoporosis: The bones, including the vertebrae of the spine, become brittle and porous, making fractures more likely.
- Kidney problems: Kidney stones and infections can cause back pain.
Movement and posture
Back pain can also be caused by daily activities or poor posture.
- Coughing or sneezing
- Muscle tension
- Flexing awkwardly or for long periods
- Pushing, pulling, lifting or carrying objects
- Sit or stand for long periods
- Twist your neck forward when driving or using computers
- Long driving sessions without a break, even without bad posture
- Sleeping on mattresses that do not support the body or keep the spine straight
Other less frequent back pain causes, but that can occur are:
- Cauda equina syndrome: This syndrome is a set of nerve roots of the spinal column that come out from the lower part of the spine. Symptoms include dull pain in the lower back and upper buttocks, as well as numbness in the buttocks, genitals, and thighs.
- Cancer of the spine: A tumor in the spine can press against the nerve, causing back pain.
- Spine Infections: A fever and a tender, warm area on the back could be due to an infection of the spine.
- Other infections: Pelvic inflammatory diseases, kidney or bladder infections can also be the cause of back pain.
- Sleep Disorders: Individuals who have sleeping disorders also have a propensity to experience back pain, compared to others.
- Herpes: Herpes is an infection that can affect the nerves and cause back pain, depending on the nerves affected.
Back pain causes are linked to the following factors:
- Occupational activities
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Bad physical condition
- Advanced age
- Obesity and excess weight
- Intense physical exercise or work, especially if done incorrectly
- Genetic factors
- Medical conditions, such as arthritis or cancer
Back pain is generally more common in women than men, possibly due to hormonal factors. Stress, anxiety, and mood disorders are also related to back pain.
The main symptom is pain anywhere in the back and sometimes even the buttocks and legs.
Some back pain can cause pain in other parts of the body, depending on the nerves affected.
The pain often goes away without treatment, but if any of the following symptoms occur, you need to see a doctor immediately:
- Weight loss
- Inflammation or swelling in the back
- Persistent back pain, where lying or resting does not decrease
- A recent injury, blow, or trauma to the back
- Leg pain
- Pain below the knees
- Urinary incontinence
- Difficulty urinating
- Fecal incontinence, or loss of stool control
- Numbness around the genitals
- Numbness around the anus
- Immobility around the buttocks
When to see a doctor
You should seek medical attention if you experience any type of numbness or tingling, or if you have back pain and:
- Does not improve with rest
- After an injury or fall
- Produces numbness in the legs
- Unexplained weight loss
As a general rule, doctors will diagnose back pain after asking about the symptoms and performing a physical exam.
Imaging or other tests may be required if:
- Back pain is the product of injury
- There is an underlying cause that needs treatment
- The pain persists for long periods
- X-rays, a CT scan, or an MRI can give enough information about the condition of the soft tissues of the back.
X-rays show the alignment of the bones and detect signs of arthritis or fractures, but may not reveal damage to the muscles, spine, nerves, or discs.
CT scans or MRIs can reveal herniated discs or problems with tissues, tendons, nerves, ligaments, capillaries, muscles, and even bones.
Other types of diagnosis:
A chiropractor will diagnose back pain by touch, palpation, or even a visual exam. The chiropractor’s approach is direct, with a predominant focus on adjusting the joints of the spine.
Like a doctor, the chiropractor may require viewing the results of a CT or MRI, as well as blood and urine tests.
Back pain usually goes away with rest and home remedies, but medical treatment is sometimes required.
Back pain usually remits with pain medication, usually non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
For example, ibuprofen or paracetamol can be a good remedy.
Applying warm compresses or an ice pack to the affected area can also help reduce pain.
Rest can also help, but movement will help relieve stiffness, reduce pain, and prevent muscles from weakening.
If home treatment does not relieve back pain, a doctor may recommend taking medication, physical therapy, or both.
Modern chiropractic treatment is based on the assumption that back pain is caused by misalignment of the spine.
Spinal manipulation involves methodically pushing, pulling, and re-positioning the head, shoulders, neck, back, or hips to help alleviate back pain.
Once considered a marginal medical treatment for low back pain, the practice of spinal manipulation for low back problems is being adopted by more doctors.
The American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society, in their patient care guidelines, included spinal manipulation as one of several treatment options for trained professionals to consider using.
The group guidelines specify that spinal manipulation should be considered when uncomplicated, ordinary back pain (pain not caused by a more serious underlying problem, such as compression fractures or herniated disc) does not improve with self-care.
Adjustments can help with acute back pain of six weeks or less or with flare-ups of chronic back pain.
Why consider chiropractic treatment?
According to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), chiropractors treat not only back pain, but also other health conditions, such as neck pain, headaches, and muscle, ligament, and joint disorders and injuries.
Depending on the causes of back pain, a chiropractor will be able to relieve pain.
Chiropractors receive extensive training to diagnose and treat musculo-skeletal problems.
Taking a holistic or whole-body approach to patients, advising them on diet, nutrition, and healthy lifestyle habits.
Treatments generally consist of six to 12 visits over two to four weeks. Conservative pain management emphasizes medications and surgery.
But, a good chiropractor will refer patients to other medical professionals if the diagnosis is beyond the scope of their practice.
Chiropractors perform spinal manipulation using their hands or a device to apply a small amount of force, or a stronger push, to readjust the bones of the spine and neck.
Spinal manipulation is usually more effective when combined with more traditional therapies to treat back pain, such as:
- Hot and cold therapies
- Relaxation techniques
- Electrical stimulation or ultrasound
- Exercise and stretching
- Patient education
Back pain prevention
The steps to reduce the risk of developing back pain consist mainly of dealing with risk factors.
Regular exercise helps build strength and control body weight. Low-impact, guided aerobic activities can help improve heart health without having to twist or move your back.
Before starting any exercise program, we recommend consulting a health professional.
In addition to exercises, a balanced diet with enough calcium and vitamin D intake will improve bone health. Similarly, a healthy diet will help control body weight.
Smokers are in a group with a high probability of developing back pain. Compared to nonsmokers of the same age, height, and weight.
Controlling weight is an excellent alternative to stay healthy and reduce the risk of developing back pain.
Posture helps with pain
The posture when standing and sitting also influence the appearance of back pain. Make sure you have a neutral pelvic position when standing. Stand up straight, head facing forward, back straight, and balance your weight on both feet. Keep your legs straight and your head in line with your spine.
When sitting, you should also maintain good posture. Make sure your chair at work has good back support, arm rest, and a swivel base. When sitting, try to keep your knees and hips level, and rest your feet on the floor or use a base to rest your feet on.
Ideally, you should be able to sit up straight, with support in your lower back. If you use a keyboard, your elbows are at a right angle and your forearms are horizontal.
Healing and Chiropractic Rehab Center
If you experience back pain and are considering chiropractic treatment to relieve it, you can be sure that at our offices located in Gaithersburg, MD, Silver Spring, MD and Frederick, MD you will find experienced, trained and professional staff to help you relieve your back pain.
We invite you to visit us and check the effectiveness of chiropractic alternatives in the treatment of back pain.