Fast Facts about Back Pain

Complaints of back pain is the second most common reason people visit their doctor, and the leading cause of disability among men over 45. It’s the third most frequent reason for surgery.

Some of the most common causes of back pain:

Age. Often beginning in the mid-30’s or 40’s, the likelihood of back pain from wear and tear, injury, or arthritis increases as we get older.

Obesity. Carrying around excess weight strains the back, shoulders, and other joints, causing pain and stress.

Physical fitness. Those who don’t get enough exercise, even moderate levels, don’t develop strong enough muscles and other tissue in the back to perform well, making stress and injury more likely.

Family history. Some people are prone to back pain and injury due to hereditary factors like arthritis or certain spinal alignments.

Career and hobbies. Jobs that keep you sedentary and hunched over a desk, doing heavy lifting, or require a lot of bending and twisting can strain the back,

Sprains and muscle strains are commonly responsible for acute back pain; overstretching or tearing muscles, ligaments, and tendons can occur from strenuous physical activity like lifting or twisting incorrectly or from overextending the back or arms.

Damage to the spinal discs, such as a rupture, herniation or other erosion, are another leading cause of back pain; these are often the result of excessive strain, which causes too much compression.

Injuries sustained during a fall or crash – whether from playing a contact sport, being in a traumatic accident, or falling due to osteoporosis, also lead many people to seek medical treatment.

Over the counter pain relievers, regular icing, and rest are typically sufficient to treat minor back pain from a strain, sprain, or sports injury. However, rest does not mean ceasing activity: normal activities should be continued as much as possible, temporarily stopping only those that aggravate the pain.

Reasons to see a doctor for your back pain include: experiencing numbness or tingling, severe pain that does not clear up with home treatment, a traumatic injury or accident (including a bad fall), weakness in the limbs, noticeable weight loss, and difficulty urinating.


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