Common Causes of Backaches

Oh, My Aching Back—Common Causes of Backaches

Are you experiencing back pain and trying to figure out the cause?

Most people either have or will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Back pain is one of the most common reasons people call out sick from work, although not everyone seeks medical treatment.

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Back pain can be caused by a variety of factors including car accidents, incorrectly lifting something heavy, or gradual spinal deterioration. Each cause has a different treatment including stretching, chiropractic care, steroid injections to reduce inflammation, and surgery.

The spine is strong, but not impervious

Although the spine is fairly strong, it’s prone to injury in a variety of places. The spine is made up of 33 bones, including seven cervical vertebrae, twelve thoracic vertebrae, five lumbar vertebrae, five sacrum vertebrae, and four coccyx vertebrae.

Are you experiencing back pain and trying to figure out the cause? Hopefully you’ve scheduled an appointment with your doctor, but until then, here’s a list of the most common causes of backaches.

1. Poor posture while working

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Whether you stand or sit to work, good posture is essential for maintaining a strong, healthy back.
The most common cause of back pain is from muscle tension and strain related to poor posture. Poor posture has become a concern thanks to the rapid shift to remote work environments in the wake of COVID-19. In the United States, 61% of the entire workforce is now working from home. Prior to COVID-19, only 8% of the workforce worked remotely.

Working remotely is new to thousands of people and isn’t as easy as it sounds. Many employees who have never worked from home don’t have access to an ergonomic office environment. Some don’t even know they need an ergonomic office environment and work from the couch, their bed, and the dining room table.

Working from home without an ergonomic office creates bad habits that can cause back pain that worsens over time. For example, slouching over a laptop on the couch or a bed will eventually lead to back pain. Sitting at a kitchen table sounds better, but without proper back support, it’s hard to maintain good posture.

Some people swear by standing desks, but standing all day can encourage poor standing posture, which can lead to back pain. Whether you stand or sit to work, good posture is essential for maintaining a strong, healthy back.

The good news is most back pain caused by muscle strain eventually resolves, unless there’s an underlying condition like arthritis.

2. Congenital conditions

Some backaches are caused by congenital conditions that can’t be corrected without surgery, if at all. For example, skeletal irregularities like scoliosis, kyphosis, and lordosis all contribute to back pain.

Spina bifida is another congenital condition that causes back pain. A person with spina bifida has an underdeveloped spinal cord, which creates pain, unusual sensations, and can cause paralysis.

3. Injuries and accidents

The human body is built to withstand a certain amount of injury, but an injury to the spine can cause severe and long-lasting pain. For example, a traumatic injury from a fall can damage tendons and ligaments, but can also cause ruptured or herniated discs.

Traumatic injuries are largely caused by car accidents, falls, and sports injuries. The pain caused by traumatic injuries can last a lifetime. Many people choose to take pain killers daily rather than risk the complications associated with back surgery.

4. Degenerative diseases

Like congenital conditions, degenerative diseases aren’t within a person’s control. It’s possible to mitigate the effects, however. Degenerative diseases that cause back pain include:

  • Spondylosis
  • Arthritis
  • Intervertebral disc degeneration

These degenerative diseases can’t be stopped, but the damage can be mitigated, and the pain can be managed.

5. Kidney stones

Sometimes back pain is caused by a problem with internal organs. For instance, kidney stones create sharp, lower back pain. Anyone who hasn’t experienced kidney stones might not realize their kidney is the source of pain.

6. A variety of medical conditions

Oh, My Aching Back

The good news is most back pain caused by muscle strain eventually resolves, unless there’s an underlying condition like arthritis.
Often, back pain is caused by a number of medical conditions including:

  • Endometriosis. This occurs when the body builds up uterine tissue outside of the uterus.
  • Tumors. Tumors can press on the spine and disrupt the nerves, causing severe back pain.
  • Fibromyalgia. The chronic pain of fibromyalgia can affect all parts of the body, including the back.
  • Osteoporosis. As bone density deteriorates, the vertebrae can fracture, causing severe back pain. The best way to beat osteoporosis is to build stronger bones. While the traditional advice is to take a calcium supplement, there are serious risks associated with calcium supplements, including heart attack and stroke.There’s a better, safer way to build bone density that is based on the way our bones are naturally strengthened through impact. The bioDensity machine, invented by Dr. John Jaquish, Ph.D., uses self-generated force to increase bone density. His invention is scientifically proven and used in medical facilities across the world to reverse osteoporosis and ultimately relieve back pain.
  • Spinal infections. There are several types of spinal infections that can cause back pain. These include osteomyelitis, discitis, and sacroiliitis.
  • Spinal stenosis. This condition places pressure on the spinal cord and nerves caused by a narrow spinal column.
  • Sciatica. Sciatica is one of the worst types of back pain anyone can experience. The condition is caused when something presses on the sciatic nerve. It could be a disc or tight piriformis muscles. Either way, the pain is a sharp, shooting pain that travels from the buttocks sometimes down to the feet. Many people who experience sciatica can’t walk without pain, or need to use a cane. The pain is nonstop.
  • Spondylolisthesis. This condition occurs when the nerves at the end of the spinal column get pinched. Spondylolisthesis is caused by displaced lower vertebra.

Does your back hurt? Seek medical care immediately

You rely on having a strong back to function. If you’re in pain, don’t wait to see a doctor. If there’s an internal reason for your pain, you’ll want to catch it as soon as possible to get treatment. The faster you seek treatment, the sooner you’ll have relief.

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