An aching back is a problem suffered by more than 50% of American adults. According to the American Chiropractic Association, it is estimated that over 80% of Americans will suffer from back pain at some time in their life. Becoming familiar with the causes of back pain and their subsequent treatment protocols can be of great help should you ever find yourself suffering from back pain. While both men and women can develop back problems, there are some causes that primarily affect women. Other groups susceptible to chronic back pain include the elderly, athletes, the overweight and people with a genetic disposition to back problems.
Typical Causes of Back Pain
The primary causes of back pain are related to muscular sprains and strains, spinal disc injuries and diseases which affect the joints, such as arthritis. Acute back pain stems from a short term injury or strain and can be treated with rest and readjustment. Chronic causes of back pain are generally more difficult to identify and treat. While many of the symptoms are similar, identifying the underlying causes is the key to finding effective treatment.
Coccydynia – Considered fairly rare among the causes of back pain, Coccydynia is a localized pain that stems from the coccyx or tailbone. This condition can manifest as the result of a fall, or from giving birth. Lower back pain caused by Coccydynia is almost always aggravated by sitting. Treatment for severe cases of this condition can include a surgical removal of the coccyx.
Pregnancy-Related Back Pain – It is commonly known that pregnancy is one of the main causes of back pain in women. The additional weight combined with birth related hormones can result in moderate to severe back pain in pregnant women. The best treatment for pregnancy-related back pain is exercise.
Osteoarthritis – One of the most well documented, but least understood causes of back pain is degenerative arthritis of the spine. While most frequently seen in elderly patients, Osteoarthritis can affect younger patients as well. Arthritis causes the disintegration of cartilage, the cushioning material that supports spinal vertebrae. While there is no cure for Osteoarthritis, patients can receive treatments for pain management.
Muscle Strain – Arguably one of the most common causes, muscle strain can be the result of stress, bad posture, repetitive activities or applying too much force to the back muscles. Muscle strain injuries are typically treated with a combination of exercise and rest.
Herniated Disc – One of the most painful causes of back pain is a herniated disc. When spinal cartilage is pushed up against the sensitive nerves in your back, the result is a herniated or bulging disc. If the affected never is the Sciatic nerve that runs down your spinal column, pain can extend down into your legs and feet. Treatment for back pain stemming from spinal vertebrae issues can include medication, physical therapy, and occasionally, surgery.