If you suffer from back pain that recurs for more than three months, what you’re experiencing is chronic back pain. If that’s the case, you’re not alone. It is estimated that more than 65 million adults report experiencing back pain at some point, while over 16 million experience the chronic condition. When your back hurts, the last thing you want to do is get up and move around. Unfortunately, chronic pain can limit your ability to do everyday tasks or take part in the activities that you love.
While people tend to think that back pain is caused by an injury or accident, there are several conditions or underlying causes that can cause it. Unfortunately, avoiding back pain altogether is pretty impossible. However, many of the common causes can be treated. Our pain experts shared the four most common causes of chronic back pain below.
Poor Posture or Mechanics
Easily the most preventable on the list, poor posture or body mechanics during activity can cause both acute and chronic back pain. Whether you’re working in an office doing hours of sitting, or have a labor-intensive job that requires frequent heavy lifting, doing so with the right posture can help prevent injury and pain.
Bad posture puts additional pressure on your spine, causing the soft tissues around your vertebrae to be strained. Over time, this recurring stress can actually break down the structural components of your spine. Sitting at a desk for long periods of time without stretching can also tighten your hip muscles, causing your hips and hamstrings to weaken and become painful.
If you feel yourself hunching over your desk, try to correct your posture by rolling your shoulders back and sitting up straight. Making these small changes can help keep your spine straight and prevent back pain.
Additionally, proper body mechanics during activity can help limit pain and prevent injury. Body mechanics refer to how you hold your body during movement. Examples of good body mechanics include lifting with your knees, avoiding twisting or bending at the waist, etc.
Muscle deconditioning or atrophy is one of the top causes of chronic back pain, and it occurs when the muscles in your back are not strong enough to support you properly. Eventually, this wear and tear can lead to a variety of conditions, including chronic back discomfort.
While some deconditioning is a part of the natural aging process, lack of physical activity can exacerbate the problem. Be sure you’re exercising regularly to give your back muscles the strength and use they need to support you properly.
Ruptured or Bulging Discs
Herniated discs are another very common cause of chronic back pain, as you could imagine. Over 6.5 million people experience a bulging or ruptured disc–an injury to the rubbery cushions that sit between the vertebrae of your spine. These discs are very important components that allow you to bend and move easily.
While you cannot completely prevent a herniated disc, the following factors can make you more susceptible:
- Repetitive Motion
- Sudden Strain
Often, pain from ruptured or bulging discs subsides over time, with rest and limited activity. However, if the pain continues for more than six weeks, or if you experience numbing or tingling in your arms, hands, legs or feet, you should consult your doctor immediately.
Another common cause of back pain is osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis in older adults. Known as the “wear and tear” disease, you can help prevent osteoarthritis by:
- Avoiding injury
- Reducing the stress on joints
- Exercising regularly
- Maintaining a healthy weight
Chronic Back Pain Houston: Minivasive Pain and Orthopedics
At Minivasive Pain, we have a dedicated staff of pain management specialists. No matter the cause of your back pain, it is our mission to treat the causes of your pain with both the highest standards of care and quality. With several pain management centers throughout the Houston area, caring for your pain is what we do every day. To learn more, or to schedule an appointment, visit https://www.minivasivepain.com/contact-us/ or call us at (346) 800-6001.