Back pain is a significant cause of disability globally, and one of the most prevalent reasons individuals seek medical attention or miss work. Most back pain resolves gradually with at-home therapies and self-care, generally within a few weeks. You should see your Cary Generations Family Practice doctor if you have back pain that:
- Is persistent and does not improve with rest.
- Spreads down one or both legs, particularly if the pain goes below your knee.
- Causes weakness, tingling, or numbness in one or both legs.
- Is accompanied by unexplained weight loss.
Common causes of back pain
The human back is a complicated system made up of muscles, ligaments, tendons, disks, and bones that work together to support the body and allow you to move. The sections of your spine are cushioned by disks, which are cartilage-like cushions.
Issues with any of these components can cause back pain, and the source of back discomfort is unknown in certain circumstances. Many injuries, conditions, and disorders can cause back pain, including:
- Strains and sprains: Back sprains and strains are the most prevalent cause of back pain. You might harm muscles, tendons, or ligaments by lifting something too heavy or not lifting securely. Some individuals strain their back by sneezing, coughing, twisting, or bending over.
- Disk issues: The vertebrae are cushioned by disks (small spinal bones). Because of their location in the spine, disks can bulge and push on a nerve. They can also cause tears (herniated disks). Also, disks can flatten and provide less protection (degenerative disk disease) as you age.
- Structural problems: Spinal stenosis occurs when the spinal column becomes too thin for the spinal cord. A pinched spinal cord can result in acute sciatic nerve pain and lower back discomfort. Scoliosis (spinal curvature) can cause discomfort, stiffness, and difficulty moving.
- Fractures: The bones in the spine might break in an event, such as a vehicle accident or a fall. Fractures are also more likely in those with certain diseases, such as spondylolysis or osteoporosis.
The outlook for those living with back pain
Back pain is a common issue; the older you become, the more likely you will suffer from it. In reality, most Americans will have back pain at some point in life, and a small percentage may experience chronic back pain.
Most instances of back pain will disappear on their own with therapy. You may require prescription medications or injections from your doctor on occasion. In extremely rare circumstances, surgery may be an alternative.
The good news for those who have had back pain and want to avoid another occurrence is that you can take steps to prevent back pain. Daily stretching, yoga, and strength training can aid in making your back and core muscles become more resilient.
Talk to your clinician if back pain does not go away, or you cannot do the activities you like. Several therapies can alleviate pain, assist you in moving better, and get more out of life. Call Generations Family Practice or book your appointment online to determine the ideal back pain treatments for you.