Am I Likely To Get Back Pain
Several factors can increase your chances of having upper and middle back pain. Among them:
- Age.Back pain starts for most people in their 30s or 40s, and itâs more common the older you get.
- Being out of shape. The stronger the muscles in your back, shoulder, and abdomen, the lower your chance of injury.
- Weight. If you carry extra pounds, you put more strain on your back.
- Underlying conditions. Diseases such as arthritis and cancer can cause back pain.
- Smoking. Smokerâs cough can strain your back. And if you smoke, you may be slower to heal, which can make your back pain last longer.
Improper Posture Or Body Mechanics
Bad habits can stress your spine and strain the soft tissue surrounding it. And over time, this repeated stress can break down the structural components of the spine.
While posture or body mechanics are part of every movement you make , your work environment can have a big impact.
If your job requires regular lifting or repetitive movement, proper mechanics are your best defense against chronic back pain.
For office workers, when you sit at your desk for long stretches without stretching, it can cause your hip flexors to tighten. Over time, this can cause hips and hamstrings to weaken, leading to lower back pain.
If you notice yourself hunching over your keyboard several times per day, you may be developing kyphosis. This excessive curving of the spine is often associated with chronic back pain.
When Should I See My Doctor
If you have back pain and have lost feeling or movement in your limbs or are having problems controlling your bowels or bladder, call triple 000 immediately and ask for an ambulance.
You should see your doctor or other health care professional for further advice if:
- your pain bothers you
- your back pain doesnt improve after a few weeks or worsens
- you have symptoms such as weight loss, tingling or numbness in the legs, or problems with bladder and/or bowel control
- you have osteoporosis
You should see your doctor as soon as possible, if you have a history of cancer, are prone to infection, or use intravenous drugs.
For most people, back pain will resolve in a few weeks with appropriate self-care. After 2 months, 9 out of 10 people will recover from back pain.
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Other Conditions That Cause Back Pain
Sometimes pain felt in the back actually originates elsewhere in the body. Such problems may include: prostate trouble in men problems with reproductive organs in women kidney diseases, such as an infection or kidney stone diseases of the intestines or pancreas, such as cancer or a blockage cancer that has spread to the spine multiple myeloma, a form of cancer of the bone and bone marrow curvature of the spine rarely, a tumor on the spinal cord
What Do You Do About Trigger Points And Fibromyalgia
Those are both big, separate topics, but there are many resources on PainScience.com where you can get started. Self-massage and heating are by far the best ways to start working on muscle knots. Fibromyalgia is much more complicated, but the basics are sleep improvements, lots of light but thorough exercise, and learning about sensitization and the weirdness of pain.
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Inflammation Sleep Stress And Pain
The link between sleep and pain is based on some superficially simple inflammatory biology: bad sleep is inflammatory and inflammation makes it harder to sleep, which is not widely appreciated. That means that sleeping badly can actually make it harder to sleep well! This is a vicious cycle every extremely frustrated insomniac is familiar with: being exhausted from a sleepless is not a guarantee that you will sleep well the next night.
And that vicious cycle is relevant to night and morning pain, which is known to be significantly mediated by the immune system signalling molecule interleukin-6. IL-6 and inflammation are almost synonymous more of one means more of the other. Everyone knows that stress makes it harder to sleep, but how? Its not just because your mind is racing its because stress makes us produce IL-6, which is inflammatory, and inflammation in turn makes it harder to sleep! And then the bad sleep also makes us pump more IL-6
And thats why its important to get your sleep!
Nonspecific Low Back Pain
This is the most common type of back pain. The majority of cases of sudden-onset low back pain are classed as nonspecific. This is the type of back pain that most people will have at some point in their lives. It is called nonspecific because it is usually not clear what is actually causing the pain. In other words, there is no specific problem or disease that can be identified as the cause of the pain. The severity of the pain can vary from mild to severe. This type of back pain is discussed further below.
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Is There Such A Thing As Poor Posture When Sleeping
Yes, but I believe its rare for it to be bad enough to matter much. As discussed already, most awkward postures during sleep involve relatively minor postural stresses being a little twisted this-a-way or that-a-way that we tolerate for too long because were unconscious. Such postural stresses arent a bad habit in any meaningful sense. But it is also possible to be so habitually careless with sleeping position that it does constitute poor posture. If you know that a particular sleeping position is uncomfortable for you, but you keep sleeping like that, thats a poor sleeping posture.
Or is it a bad habit if you cant stop it? If its something you do habitually but unconsciously? This is a philosophical puzzle for the reader to work out.
Habitual sleeping position is clearly a factor in some back pain. Just about the only study ever done on this topic showed a small improvement in a few back pain patients who were instructed regarding the recommended way to sleep which basically meant a more neutral position. The benefit was real but small. I think conscious sleep positioning is only a minor factor in low back pain, and tough to fix. Usually we dont even suspect a problem with our sleep posture until its too late! For most people, trying to work on sleeping position probably does not offer particularly good bang for buck.
What Is Back Pain
Back pain can be a symptom of many different illnesses and conditions. The main cause of the pain can be a problem with the back itself or by a problem in another part of the body. In many cases, doctors can’t find a cause for the pain. When a cause is found, common explanations include:
- Stress or injury involving the back muscles, including back sprain or strain chronic overload of back muscles caused by obesity and short term overload of back muscles caused by any unusual stress, such as lifting or pregnancy
- Disease or injury involving the back bones , including fracture from an accident or as a result of the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis
- Degenerative arthritis, a “wear and tear” process that may be related to age, injury and genetic predisposition.
- Disease or injury involving the spinal nerves, including nerve injury caused by a protruding disk or spinal stenosis
- Kidney stones or a kidney infection .
Rarer causes include:
- Inflammatory arthritis, including ankylosing spondylitis and related conditions
- A spinal tumor or a cancer that has spread to the spine from elsewhere in the body
- Infection, which may be in the disk space, bone , abdomen, pelvis or bloodstream.
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How Is Lower Back Pain Diagnosed
Your provider will ask about your symptoms and do a physical exam. To check for broken bones or other damage, your provider may order imaging studies. These studies help your provider see clear pictures of your vertebrae, disks, muscles, ligaments and tendons.
Your provider may order:
- Spine X-ray, which uses radiation to produce images of bones.
- MRI, which uses a magnet and radio waves to create pictures of bones, muscles, tendons and other soft tissues.
- CT scan, which uses X-rays and a computer to create 3D images of bones and soft tissues.
Depending on the cause of pain, your provider may also order blood tests or urine tests. Blood tests can detect genetic markers for some conditions that cause back pain . Urine tests check for kidney stones, which cause pain in the flank .
Morning Baths Are Almost Miraculous For Some Kinds Of Morning Back Pain
A hot bath is one of the oldest medicines. While most people appreciate a nice hot bath, few people think of it as a serious treatment for back pain just something that takes the edge off. Maybe.
But for morning back pain, it can be incredibly effective. Reader C.B. writes:
I am 73 with assorted age-related issues, but this low back pain every morning is new. Here is what I do: I run a hot bath, and jump in and immediately the pain goes away, all of it. Why would that be, and what does it mean?
C. is not alone: many people report near rapid, profound relief from morning back pain. Baths seem to be at their best in this context, and its not clear why. When a bath has an immediate, profound effect on pain, its probably because immersion/flotation is a fairly potent dose of novel sensory input, which can very persuasively tell the brain that theres no need for the alarm of pain. This may be more pronounced with some kinds of pain that are aggravated by gravity, so the partial flotation might be directly relieving.
And then, by the time you get out of the bath, the relatively transient phenomenon of morning back pain is already retreating and perhaps even faster because of some thermal effects .
P.S. Showers may be just as good! Or nearly as good. It would be nice if I could cite a nice, well-controlled trial of this, but thats probably never going to happen.
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What Are Some Common Lower Back Pain Causes
The causes of lower back pain are sometimes viewed as being mechanical, organic or idiopathic. Sometimes spinal conditions are congenital or acquired meaning the disorder develops later in life.
Mechanical lower back pain is often triggered by spinal movement and involves spinal structures, such as the facet joints, intervertebral discs, vertebral bodies , ligaments, muscles or soft tissues.
Organic lower back pain is attributed to disease, such as spinal cancer.
Idiopathic refers to an unknown cause.
These are some of the things your doctor might look for or rule out when you schedule a visit for back pain.
The common symptoms of lower back pain.
Sprains and strains. Ligament sprains and muscle or tendon strains are the most common causes of lower back pain. Theyre often related to overuse.
Degenerative disc disease. While the name sounds worrisome, it just means you have a damaged disc causing pain. Over time, discs become thinner and flatter due to wear and tear. That leaves them less able to cushion the vertebrae and more likely to tear .
. The protective covering on intervertebral discs can tear over time. When this happens, the soft inner disc tissue may push through the outer layer. A disc that bulges or slips out of place is known as a herniated disc, bulging disc, or slipped disc. The herniation may press on nerve roots, leading to symptoms such as pain, tingling, numbness or weakness in the area that the nerve serves
Will I Need Any Tests
If it’s a short-lived mild pain with an obvious explanation , your doctor will probably suggest some treatment before arranging tests.
However, because back pain is more likely to be serious if it occurs in the thoracic area rather than in your neck or lower back, your doctor is likely to suggest tests if the pain persists, is severe, or is accompanied by any of the ‘red flag’ features mentioned in the section on Symptoms.
The tests will depend on the conditions that the doctor wants to rule out. They are likely to include blood tests such as a full blood count and inflammatory markers, and maybe a magnetic resonance imaging scan. An ordinary ‘plain’ X-ray doesn’t give much information unless you have an unusual appearance of the spine or a fracture is suspected.
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Howto Find Relief If The Pain Is Spinal Stenosis
If you do have spinalstenosis, there are several treatments:
Can Lower Back Pain Be A Sign Of Something Serious Like Cancer
Lower back pain can be related to cancer. In fact, it is one of the first symptoms of prostate cancer when it metastasizes and creates lesions. Almost any cancer can spread to the back and some, like sarcoma, can originate in the back. Be cautious, especially if you are experiencing other symptoms besides lower back pain. Talk to your doctor if you have additional symptoms or concerns.
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How Tria Neck And Back Strengthening Program Helps You Heal Your Back Pain
What many people dont realize about chronic back pain is that it can often be solved without surgery. Yes, sometimes surgery is the suggestion but only after non-surgical options have stopped working.
At TRIA Neck and Back Strengthening Program our spine strengthening program focuses on active physical therapy which focuses on movement-based activities. This is a proven method for healing chronic back pain just ask any of the 200,000-plus patients weve worked with over the past 30 years.
Through this program, youll do an intake with a doctor or physical therapist who specializes in spine care and chronic pain. Theyll work with you to determine the best pain management treatment plan. Then youll work one-on-one with a physical therapist.
Most programs are six to 12 weeks long, and your therapy happens at one of our facilities that features state-of-the-art medical exercise equipment. As part of your care, youll learn about what chronic pain is and how the brain processes it.
Youll also focus on body mechanics such as proper lifting, standing and sleeping all the things that can contribute to back pain but you probably dont think about. And as you progress, youll learn how to continually improve and maintain your back strength on you own so you can keep back pain at bay long-term.
Want to learn more about TRIA Neck and Back Strengthening Program? Watch this short video.
Other Conditions That Cause Back Pain In Older Adults
We often see a range of less serious but still painful spine conditions in seniors. Most patients with these conditions will not require surgery. Physical therapy, medication, injectable anesthetics, or a combination of treatments usually can control symptoms.
- Degenerative disc disease, which can cause whole spine pain, and lumbar arthritis, which usually causes low-back pain, commonly develop with age and are considered wear-and-tear conditions.
- Sacroiliitis is an inflammation of the joints that connect your spine and pelvis. This condition can cause pain in the low back, glutes, and upper legs.
- Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory arthritis that causes patients spines to become inflexible, resulting in a continual hunched forward position and spine pain.
- We also check for adult degenerative scoliosis and kyphosis, spine-curving conditions that can result in back pain and weakness in the lower extremities.
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What Are Some Other Causes Of Lower Back Pain
The shape of your spine, and well as spinal diseases, are other culprits in lower back pain. Depending on a range of factors, your doctor may look for:
Abnormal spinal curvature. A normal spine resembles a gently curved letter S when seen from the side. Abnormal curves include:
Lordosis, in which the spine curves too far inward at the lower back
Kyphosis, in which the spine is abnormally rounded in the upper back
, in which the spine curves from side to side, often in a C shape
Normal and abnormal curves of the spine
Arthritis. There are more than 100 types of arthritis, many of which can cause lower back pain. The most common types include osteoarthritis , , and .
. Compression of the bundle of nerves that forms below the spinal cord in the lumbar spine. It is a rare but serious disorder that requires immediate medical attention and possibly emergency surgery. CES got its name from the fact that the fanned-out bundle of nerves resembles the base of a horses tail.
. Both infections of discs and bone can cause severe pain and require prompt medical attention.
. Your bones lose mass faster than it can be replaced, making them brittle. They can even fracture with little or no warning. These fractures are especially common in the spine, where they’re called vertebral compression fractures. Both men and women lose bone mass as they age, but postmenopausal women lose it much faster and so are more at risk for osteoporosis.