When it comes to pain, lower back pain ranks at the top of one of the most commonly reported conditions with about 10 percent of people worldwide suffering from it. Over 31 million people in the U.S. will experience lower back pain during their lifetime and Americans spend over $50 billion per year on treatment.
Back pain causes economic hardship in the form of lost wages and lower productivity as the result of increased work absences. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 149 million workdays are lost each year in the U.S. due to this common condition.
Learn more about the risk factors and common causes of back pain, when to seek professional help. and what treatments provide relief if you are one of the unlucky ones suffering from back pain issues.
Risk Factors Leading to Back Pain
Spondylosis is general degeneration of the spine that occurs over time. This condition is associated with normal wear and tear on your joints, discs, and bones of the spine that is part of the aging process.
The top factors that can increase your risk of experiencing back pain include:
- Wear and tear as the result of aging
- Occupational hazards such as a job that requires a lot of lifting or bending
- Having a sedentary lifestyle
- Genetic disorders such as degenerative disc disease
- Carrying excessive weight
- Poor posture
Also, smoking is another risk factor for suffering from back pain. Smokers experience slower healing rates and a reduction in blood flow to the lower spine.
What Causes Back Pain
One in three adults mention back pain interferes with their everyday activities. Back problems are more common among women than men but more men than women report that back pain impacts their ability to work.
According to the Mayo Clinic, common causes of back pain include:
- Arthritis including rheumatoid and osteoarthritis
- Bulging or ruptured discs
- Muscle or ligament strains
- Injuries, fractures, or falls
- Skeletal irregularities such as scoliosis
- Osteoporosis leading to brittle and porous bones
- Other conditions such as kidney stones, fibromyalgia, or endometriosis
Back pain isn’t always the result of injury or an underlying disease. Prolonged lying down or sitting, sleeping in an uncomfortable position or on an unsupported mattress, and spending long hours hunched over your desk can also result in some form of back pain.
When to Seek Help for Your Back Pain
It’s important to know what is a normal amount of pain and when you should consider your back pain to be serious. Many back pain issues will resolve on their own after a few weeks with a bit of self-care and home treatment.
However; if your back pain doesn’t improve within a few weeks, it may be time to enlist the services of a doctor. Seek care from a healthcare professional if you experience issues such as a fever or bladder or bowel issues along with your back pain or if the pain started after a sharp blow to your back or after a fall.
Another reason to seek medical attention is if your lower back pain doesn’t get better after you rest, or you experience tingling or numbness radiating down either of your legs or if you’ve experienced weight loss that can’t be explained.
There are many things you can do to help prevent or bring relief to back pain.
Common Treatments That Help Back Pain
There are many preventative measures you can take to help prevent or reduce back pain such as maintaining a healthy weight, participating in low-impact aerobic activities and building muscle strength and flexibility.
Common back pain treatments that could help bring relief to your symptoms include:
- Self-care methods such as rest and applying heat or ice to the affected area
- Lifestyle changes such as following a healthy nutrition plan and even dropping a few pounds if you are carrying extra weight
- Participating in regular exercise to help build muscle, bone, and ligament strength
- Physical therapy like massage, stretching, and yoga to increase range of motion
- Chiropractic care including back and spinal manipulation
- Alternative medicine such as acupuncture or acupressure
- Topical pain-relieving creams and ointments
- Over the counter NSAID pain relievers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen
- Prescription pain medications
- Injections including epidural steroid injections to help reduce inflammation
- Traction, ultrasound, or TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation)
- Surgery, such as spinal fusion, as a last resort, if all other options fail to bring relief
Finding Relief for Your Back Pain Issues
Let us help you find the correct path to a pain-free future. The experts at MidSouth Pain will help you identify the source of your back pain, reduce your pain and improve your overall quality of life.
Contact us at Midsouth Pain Treatment Center for more information on how to treat back pain and learn how we use the most advanced interventional pain management techniques to bring quick relief to your symptoms.