5 Common Causes of Back Pain

5 Common Causes of Back Pain

As one of the leading causes of work absences and disability around the world, back pain is something nearly everyone experiences at some point in their lives. While many types of back pain are preventable, some seem to be inevitable based on your lifestyle, genetics, and other factors.

The team looks at back pain from a multidisciplinary perspective. With this whole-person approach, we can identify the underlying causes of your back pain and offer long-term treatment solutions to reduce your discomfort. Ultimately, we want to relieve your back pain so you can be as active as you want to be at any age.

There are many different reasons why you may experience back pain. Here are five of the most common causes of that dull ache or sharp, shooting pain in your back.


Muscle or ligament strains and sprains

Did you move your couch last weekend or throw a football a few too many times? Muscle and ligament strains are common acute injuries that occur when you lift something that's too heavy for you, exercise without warming up, or simply overdo it.

This type of soft tissue-related back pain typically resolves on its own, and alternating between ice and heat often helps ease your discomfort as you heal.


Ruptured or bulging discs

Herniated (ruptured) or bulging discs are another common underlying cause of back pain. Discs are the cushions between your vertebrae.

When one or more of your discs deteriorates as a result of age, trauma, weight gain, or repetitive stress, they can bulge outward and put pressure on your spinal nerves. Left untreated, bulging discs can become torn and turn into ruptured, or herniated discs.

When your disc is herniated, it can compress spinal nerve roots or your spinal cord, causing pain and discomfort. Sciatica symptoms are a common sign of one or more herniated discs in your spine putting pressure on your sciatic nerve.


Osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative, wear-and-tear condition that commonly affects your joints - often your knees - as you get older. However, osteoarthritis can also affect your lower back and hips.

If this type of arthritis progresses within your spine, it can cause the narrowing of your spinal column and put pressure on your spinal cord. This is called spinal stenosis, and it can cause tingling, numbness, and weakness along the affected portion of your spine.


Scoliosis

If you have scoliosis of the spine, it means your spinal column curves abnormally in an S-shape or C-shape. This structural problem usually develops during childhood or adolescence. Scoliosis occurs in varying degrees, so you may not even realize you have it until later in life.

If you have a family member with scoliosis, you're more likely to have an abnormally curved spine, as well. The condition can cause pain in your lower back, upper back, or neck. In severe cases, your posture may appear hunched forward or bent over to one side, and you could develop breathing problems.


Spondylolisthesis

When you get a stress fracture in one or more of the vertebrae in your spine, it can weaken your vertebrae and make them unstable. As vertebrae become less stable, they can slip out of place - a condition known as spondylolisthesis. This condition is common among young athletes who play football or are involved in gymnastics, as these types of sports put repeated stress on the lower back.

Symptoms of spondylolisthesis include pain and stiffness in your spinal column and tingling or numbness that radiates into your arms or legs as a result of vertebrae pinching nearby nerve roots.


Treatments that help prevent and relieve back pain

Some of these common causes of back pain resolve without treatment, and some of them continue to worsen, which is why it's important to determine the underlying origins of your pain.

To treat the source of your back pain or prevent it from progressing, our integrated wellness team may recommend a series of chiropractic adjustments, physical therapy, massage therapy, and cutting-edge regenerative medicine treatments that help improve the quality of your life.

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