Why do so many of our backs hurt, and what can be done?

Millions of Americans are no stranger to ongoing back pain. A leading cause of disability, back pain can come in a variety of forms and has a vast array of sources.

External Forces

One of the most common and unfortunate causes of back pain is when we sustain an injury to ourselves and hurt our back in the process. This can be anything from a slip in the shower to a severe car accident. The spinal column is surrounded by a complex network of ligaments, tendons, and muscle. When an accident occurs, it is possible any of these can become excessively pulled or torn in place. In particularly grievous circumstances, sufficient impact to your back can cause spinal or vertebral fractures that can quickly become chronic sources of pain.

Internal Conditions

Sometimes our bodies will encounter changes through life that will bring heightened risk of back pain. Perhaps the most common is aging. As we get older, our backs are more prone to strain and injury. Some cancers and arthritis can cause stiffness and swelling in the back. During pregnancy, the weight that is gained in the process cause many women to experience strain to the back. If you are prone to feelings of high stress, this can cause considerable tension in your back, and it has been observed that depression and anxiety can agitate back pain even further. Sometimes conditions start from birth, like scoliosis, which unnaturally affects the curvature of the spine.

Life Choices

While life can undoubtedly bear undue stress upon us, at times we may negatively affect our own back through the choices we make day by day. If you work a desk job and spend every hour slouched in your chair, that poor posture will add up over time. Being overweight and not getting enough exercise can place a strain on your back and make it progressively prone to injury as the muscles get weaker. Conversely, if you’re lifting something heavy in the gym or around the home and someone admonishes you to lift with your legs and not your back, that’s because the advice is entirely accurate. Improper lifting technique can easily lead to back pain and injury.

Back pain is a constant presence in so many of our lives. But there are numerous things you can implement today that can help your back recover or possibly avoid pain altogether. Regular exercises can strengthen your back muscles to withstand better the rigors you need to put it through. Maintaining a healthy weight can prevent undue stress to your back and spine. Even something as simple as reminding yourself to assume good posture when standing or sitting will go a long way in preserving your back’s condition.

If you are experiencing prolonged back pain that you cannot alleviate yourself, you should also consider consulting a doctor or a chiropractor to treat the problem. Chiropractors specifically specialize in care for the back and will be able to recommend actions you can take to improve your condition, and if necessary will set you on courses of treatment to fix your back more directly.

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