Back pain

Back pain is getting pretty common in today’s lifestyle. Back pain can be a discomfort for some people and for others it can leave them injured. The cause of back pain can be any injury, accident or medical conditions like arthritis or fracture.

Our back has many interlocking structures, adding bones, joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons. Its main support structure is the spine consisting of 24 separate bones called vertebrae, including bones of the sacrum and coccyx.

Discs between the vertebrae act as shock absorbers that allows spine to bend. The spinal cord carries nerves from brain to the rest of body by threading down through the central canal of each vertebra.

Symptoms of back pain

The cause of the back pain can sometimes be difficult to identify, but can be related to distortion or strain in the interconnecting structure of the back. Stiffness, tension or soreness can be the reason for lower back pain.

Back pain can be differentiated in acute, sub-acute or chronic depending on the symptoms.

  • Acute back pain – less than six weeks.
  • Acute back pain – less than six weeks.
  • Sub-acute back pain – six weeks to three months.
  • Chronic back pain – longer than three months.

The following symptoms are known as red flags. If they persist with back pain, medical help should be considered to stop further damage.

  • A fever (high temperature).
  • Redness or swelling on back.
  • Pain down your legs and below your knees.
  • Numbness or weakness in one or both legs or around your buttocks.
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control (incontinence).
  • Constant pain, particularly at night.
  • Pain that is getting much worse and is spreading up your spine.

Causes of back pain

There are number of reasons that can develop back pain or even exaggerate it. These can be:

  • Poor posture
  • Incorrect bending and lifting procedures
  • Sitting, standing or bending down for extended periods of time
  • Incorrect sleeping posture
  • Twisting the body into an uncomfortable position
  • Being strained or nervous
  • Overweight

Some rare causes for back pain:

  • Fracture – a crack or break in one of the bones in back.
  • Osteoporosis – a condition where bones lose density causing them to become weak, brittle and more likely to break.
  • A slipped disc – this is when a disc bulges so far out that it puts pressure on your spinal nerves.
  • Spinal stenosis – a condition in which the spaces in your spine narrow.
  • Spondylolisthesis – when one of your back bones slips forward and out of position.
  • Degenerative disc disease – when the discs in your spinal cord gradually become worn down.
  • Osteoarthritis – a wear-and-tear disease that can particularly affect the joints of your spine.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis – an inflammatory condition in which your immune system causes inflammation of the lining of your joints and surrounding structures.