We’ve probably all suffered from back pain at some point in our lives. For most, these sporadic aches in your back aren’t too severe or too debilitating.
Often, these aches generally go away after some rest and maybe some over-the-counter treatment. For others, the pain may be so excruciating and grueling that they may have to stay home from work.
If you fall into the latter category, or if you’re just curious, you’re in luck. We’re going to explore all the causes, symptoms, and possible treatments for back pain, so lie back, put your feet up, and read on.
Causes of Back Pain
Your body is a highly complex series of mechanisms consisting of musculature, cells, organs, and more. The human back alone has numerous components, including plenty of muscles and tendons, as well as disks and bones.
A problem with any one of these parts can lead to back pain. Because of that, there are plenty of possible causes to consider.
You’ve probably experienced muscle strain at some point in your life, and it’s the most common reason why people suffer from back pain. Examples include:
- Strained muscles and/or ligaments
- Muscle spasms
- Tension in your muscles
- Injuries to your back, including fractures or falls
These examples can generally be traced to certain physical behaviors, such as:
- Improper lifting of heavy objects (it’s all in the knees)
- Lifting something that’s far too heavy for you
- A sudden jerk or awkward movement in your back
Your back pain may also be the result of a more severe underlying issue, examples of which include:
- Ruptured disks: The vertebrae in your spine are each cushioned by a disk. If the disk ruptures, more pressure is placed on the nerves, leading to an ache in your back. Similarly, bulging disks also put more pressure on your nerves.
- Sciatica: A sharp, searing sensation shoots through the buttock and down the back of the leg, resulting in a herniated disk, which – again – places more pressure on the nerves and causing pain.
- Arthritis: If you suffer from arthritis, the effects may circulate around the joints in your hip or lower back. In rare cases, the space surrounding your spinal cord may narrow.
- Abnormal spine curvature: The most notable example of abnormal curvature of the spine is scoliosis. However, any unusual positioning of the spine can cause back pain.
- Osteoporosis: This condition results in the bones being more brittle and less dense, making compression fractures more likely to occur. These fractures, again, may cause significant pain in the back.
Posture and Movement
The way you regularly conduct yourself may also result in back pain. Examples of poor physical behaviors include:
- Holding an awkward pose for an extended period of time
- Constant strain of the neck
- Sleeping on an inadequate mattress that doesn’t provide ample support for your body
Generally speaking, back pain usually goes away after a period of rest. In some cases, though, professional medical treatment is required.
Before visiting your doctor, consider getting your hands on some over-the-counter medication first. Test its efficacy in relieving your back pain first, as most anti-inflammatory drugs will help.
You should also try applying an ice pack to the affected area. It isn’t guaranteed to work, but it could do wonders for relieving any discomfort you may be feeling.
Lastly, be sure to get enough rest, and be careful not to physically exert yourself too much. Lie down for a while, then carefully move around afterward to prevent your muscles from weakening.
If you’re still suffering from severe back pain after trying out some home treatments, be sure to visit your doctor. The doctor will most likely recommend either prescription medication or physical therapy. Sometimes, they may prescribe both.
As we’ve said already, many cases of back pain tend to clear up after some rest, but if yours doesn’t, don’t suffer in silence. Consult your doctor after 4 to 7 days if the pain still persists. Otherwise, lie back and relax for a while, and you’ll be back on your feet in no time.