One of the most common reasons that people go to the doctor or miss work is for back pain. Most people in the US will experience low back pain at least once in their lives; however there are ways to prevent most episodes of back pain. There are many ways to treat it, however surgery is rarely needed. There are different types of back pain; acute, which lasts a few days or weeks, and chronic, which is back pain that lasts for 3 months or more.
- Muscle ache
- Stabbing or shooting pain
- Pain radiating down the leg
- Limited flexibility and/or range of motion of the back
- Inability to stand straight
Back pain can arise from problems with any component of its structure, including bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and disks (cartilage-like pads between segments of the spine). Strains most often occur from:
- Strained muscles and ligaments
- Improper or heavy lifting
- Sudden awkward movements
Muscle spasms can also be the cause of back pain. Some structural problems that may cause back pain are as follows:
- Bulging or ruptured disks. Material inside the cushions between the vertebrae may bulge or rupture, and press on a nerve.
- Sciatica. Bulging or herniated disc presses on the main nerve, and causes a sharp, shooting pain through the buttock and back of the leg.
- Arthritis. Most commonly affected joints include the hips, hands, knees, and lower back.
- Skeletal irregularities. The natural curves in the spine may become exaggerated and may cause visual abnormalities. Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine curves to the side. This can also cause pain.
- Osteoporosis. Compression fractures of the spine’s vertebrae if the bones become porous or brittle.