The Common Causes of Back Injuries
Any type of pain in your back can make it difficult to do just about anything—stand, walk, sit, lie down. In fact, some statistics indicate that more than 250 million work days are lost every year because of back pain. It’s also estimated that four of every five Americans will seek treatment at some point in their lives for back pain.
The Primary Location of Back Pain
It’s important to understand that, when we talk about the prevalence of back pain and discomfort in the United States, we’re really talking almost exclusively about lower back pain. Your lower back and the base of your spine have to carry all the weight of your upper body. Even if you’re not overweight, that can be a real burden. Over time, the cushioning between your vertebrae (known as discs) wears thin. The discs can tear or actually wear so thin that your bones rub against each other.
The Causes of Lower Back Pain
More than anything, lower back pain stems from disc problems—herniated , ruptured, slipped, bulging and degenerative discs. In many instances, a bulging or herniated disc puts pressure on nerves along the spinal cord. You may move a certain way and feel a shock somewhere in your back—that’s most likely a disc impinging on a nerve.
Other causes of back pain include:
- A pinched nerve—There are more than 30 vertebrae in your back and a spinal cord packed with nerves. Any movement of your spinal column can cause a pinched nerve, which can cause numbness, tingling, muscle weakness or burning pains, as well as night sweats, fever and loss of bladder control.
- Spinal stenosis—This progressive condition involves a narrowing of the space around the spinal cord, which can also put pressure on nerves. Stenosis is most often the result of bone spurs associated with osteoarthritis
- Spondylolisthesis—As you age, your body finds it more difficult to keep your spine in the right position, as your joints and ligaments experience normal wear and tear. Vertebrae can move forward and press on spinal nerves.
- Scoliosis—This condition is characterized by an extreme and abnormal curvature of the spine.