Four out of every five people are bound to suffer from back pain at some point of their lives. Therefore, this condition is quite common, especially in individuals older than 35 or 55 years of age. The back is a complex structure, consisting of many bones, joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons. The spine provides support for the whole back, consisting of 24 vertebrae, along with the coccyx and the sacrum.
Structure of the Back
The spine contains discs between each pair of vertebrae. These discs remove friction and absorb shock, making it possible for the human back to bend. The spinal cord travels through the central part of each vertebra, spreading nerves from the brain throughout the body.
Due to all these factors, it is very hard to diagnose the exact cause of any occurrence of back pain. Nevertheless, in most cases of back pain, the problem lies in straining of some of the interconnected elements rather than in any nerve complication. Also, unless you are very young or old, the back problem you are facing is likely to be less serious.
Signs of Back Pain
Back pain mostly manifests through tension, soreness or stiffness affecting the lower back portion of your body. However, this pain usually goes away after a couple of days.
The pain affecting the back can be either acute or chronic, depending on the duration of the symptoms related to the condition. If the pain disappears in 6 weeks or less, the back pain is considered to be acute. On the other hand, if the pain remains prevalent for up to three months, the condition is referred to as sub-acute back pain. Finally, any back pain lasting for longer than three months is perceived as chronic.
Facts about Back Pain
If high body temperature, redness or swelling, leg pain, numbness in the legs, loss of bowel or bladder control, pain getting worse during the night, spreading all over your spine appear along with the back pain you are experiencing, you are advised to seek medical assistance.
As for reasons behind the onset of this pain, standing for a long time or assuming abnormal body positions excessively are some of the most common causes. Also, carrying, lifting, pulling or pushing heavy objects are actions which can lead to back pain, especially if these actions are carried out improperly.
Injuring your back by falling can also lead to pain. Finally, mental stress, anxiousness, excessive body weight and poor posture are all additional causes of this condition.
However, some more serious conditions may be triggering back pain too, including osteoporosis, a slipped disc, spinal stenosis, misaligned, slipped back bones, back bone deterioration, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Once you pay your doctor a visit, he/she may perform X-ray, CT or MRI scans and do blood tests in order to diagnose your condition and engage proper treatment. Medications, hot and cold compresses, staying active, undergoing physical therapy or back surgery are all possible ways of treatment, depending on the severity of the condition.