Some 16 million Americans suffer from chronic back pain, making it the sixth most costly medical condition in the United States.
Chronic back pain impacts all aspects of life: sleep, mood, work, family, and holidays. It’s hard to move around, you lose workdays, and the costs of treatment can be expensive.
Addressing chronic back pain starts with understanding the origins of this condition. I’ll address the five major types of back pain below.
Muscle Atrophy: #1 Cause of Chronic Back Pain
As we age, our muscles weaken and do not support our skeletal frame adequately. This puts pressure on ligaments, vertebras, and other tissues, which can tear and swell, causing pain.
Age isn’t the only cause; a sedentary lifestyle leads to muscle atrophy. A daily regimen of some form of exercise is key to avoiding muscle atrophy in your spine, especially the lumbar (lower) spine.
Posture Issues: #2 Cause of Chronic Back Pain
Hunching over, such as while typing on your computer, is a common cause of chronic back pain due to bad posture.
Being overweight puts undue stress on back muscles. Extra weight, especially in the gut, causes an imbalance in your posture that puts extra stress on the muscles in your back.
Related to posture is smoking, which leads to couching that can aggravate compromised discs.
Wearing high heels is another posture-related cause of chronic back pain. The high heels shift your body weight forward, exaggerating the curve in your back, putting strain on areas of your back not used to this extra stress.
Chiropractic adjustments are a proven back pain treatment. Click on this service to learn more about chiropractic treatments for chronic back pain.
Disc Diseases: #3 Cause of Chronic Back Pain
As we age, we lose water content in our otherwise spongy discs. As our discs dry out, they lose volume and even crack, and in severe instances, can rupture completely, leading to a condition called a herniated disc.
Osteoarthritis is an age-related disease that can cause a narrowing of nerve channels, referred to as spinal stenosis.
Osteoporosis, too, can lead to cracking of your vertebra, further weakening them and leading to chronic pain.
Many age-related conditions can lead to pinched nerves in your back, which is another cause of chronic pain.
The sacroiliac joint in your lower spine is critical for weight distribution from your upper body down through your pelvis. Inflammation there typically leads to chronic back pain.
Trauma: #4 Cause of Chronic Back Pain
Strong impacts on your spine, such as accidents, falls, and hard impacts, can damage the soft tissues and vertebrae, leading to chronic pain.
Traumatic injuries are common in contact sports such as football, basketball, and wrestling.
Torn tendons, ligaments, and muscles in your back from accidents can lead to painful spasms and linger on as chronic back pain.
Repetition: #5 Cause of Chronic Back Pain
Sitting all day while driving a semi-truck is a good example of a repetitive activity that stresses your back.
Activities such as bowling, golfing, and stocking heavy items on shelves can overwork the muscles of your spine and lead to chronic back pain.
Any repetitive motion can overuse muscles, ligaments, and tendons in your spine and lead to tearing, swelling, and pain.
Understand the Cause of Lower Back Pain
Knowing why your back hurts is the first step in finding solutions to treating back pain.
And effective treatments exist for chronic back pain, such as medicines, chiropractic, physical therapy, and exercise.
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