Common Causes of Back Pain

Most of us will suffer from back problem at least once in our life. Statistics show that 80% of Americans will experience this condition in their lifetime. Back problem affects all age groups although studies have determined that there is significantly higher incidence of back problems with those in the 30 to 60 years age group.


Back pain is troubling, it is a common cause for employees to be absent from work. It brings discomfort although it usually does not require urgent hospital treatment, except in a few cases. Below are the common causes of back pain.


Back Muscle Strain


Discounting the major medical conditions that cause back pain, strain on the back muscle is most common. Normally, an aching or severe pain is felt at the back, resulting after an activity, lifting heavy object or sudden movement. Bad posture is a major culprit for back muscle sprain.


Awkward position like bending for a long period of time is another.  Your lower back bears the weight of your upper torso when you bend. Also take note of this when lifting heavy objects. Do not lift a heavy object from the floor up in a bent position but make sure that you start with both knees fully bent before lifting the object so that your legs, not your back, will carry the weight.


Back pain may be caused or aggravated by being overweight. When you are overweight, there is too much weight in your upper back that will cause unnecessary strain in your lower back.


Lumbar Herniated Disc or Sciatica


When a nerve root in the lower spine is strongly compressed, pain and numbness that moves along the sciatic nerve is likely to result. This large nerve serves the buttocks, legs and feet.


Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease


This disease causes the breakdown of the lumbar disc between the vertebrae causing inflammation in the lower back, resulting in chronic lower back pain, muscle spasms, and sometimes sciatica. Patients as young as 20 can be affected by this disease.


Slipped Disc


This is the slipping forward of a vertebra in the low back on the disc space below it. The fracture usually occurs in childhood, and does not normally bring about a lot of pain until a patient’s young adulthood.


Spine Joints Degeneration


Individuals over 60 are most likely to have this condition and the resulting back pain. Osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis are two of the most common causes of back pain in older adults.


Degenerative Arthritis or Osteoarthritis of the Spine


The breakdown of the cartilage between the facet joints in the spine causes this condition, which develops over time.


While most back problems do not need urgent and prolonged hospital treatments, a few conditions associated with having a back pain do require medical emergencies, such as in the case involving any type of spinal infection, tumor or fracture.


Obviously, there are many conditions that are within your control if you want to have a strong back and healthy existence as you enjoy the productive times of your life.





The Role of Exercise in Preventing Back Problems

One of the most common reasons for employees to be absent from work is back pain. Researches say that 80% of all Americans will suffer from back pain at least once in their lives. Although back pain affects people of any age, it is more common in adults in the age group between 35 and 55. According to experts, back pain is the result of how the bones, muscles, and ligaments in our backs interact. Back pain may be disturbing and uncomfortable, especially when painful, although it is seldom serious. In some people, back pain may persist in a few weeks or months, while others may deal with it longer-term, and the back pain may be recurring.


Avoiding Back Pain


As back pain is usually caused by bad posture, bending awkwardly, lifting incorrectly, and improper exercise, we can do a few things to avoid back pain.

  • Maintain good posture when you stand, sit or move about.
  • Lift correctly. When lifting especially heavy objects, make sure that you start from a sitting position with both knees fully bent then lift the object so that your legs will carry the weight.
  • Lose weight. The lower back is strained by too much upper body weight.
  • Wear flat shoes, especially with cushioned soles to help reduce the pressure and strain on your back.
  • Avoid sudden body movements which can cause muscle strain.
  • Stay active.


Exercise Prevents Back Pain


Regular and proper exercise, such as walking and swimming, is an excellent way of preventing back pain. They strengthen the muscles that support your back. These exercises also do not put too much strain on your back or subject it to sudden jolt.


Pilates and yoga exercises can make your back supple and improve the flexibility and the strength of your back muscles.


Here are three more simple exercises you can do at home to help prevent back pain:


  1. Knee Rolls

Starting position: Lie on your back. Place a flat object like a book or small cushion under your head. Keep you knees bent and together.

Step 1: Roll knees to the left side while keeping both your shoulders on the floor. Hold this position for one deep breath before returning to the starting position.

Step 2: Roll knees to the right side while keeping both your shoulders on the floor. Hold this position for one deep breath before returning to the starting position.

Repeat the steps for 8 to 10 times, alternating sides.


  1. Bottom to heels stretch 

Starting Position: Kneel on all fours. Your knees should be under hips and your hands under shoulders.

Step 1: Slowly take your bottom backwards. Maintain the natural curve in the spine while doing this. Hold this stretch position for one deep breath before returning to the starting position.

Repeat the steps for 8 to 10 times.


  1. Back extensions

Starting Position: Lie on your stomach. Prop yourself on your elbows.

Step 1: Arch your back up by pushing down on your hands. Breathe deeply and hold this position for 5 to 10 seconds before returning to the starting position.

Repeat the steps 8 to 10 times.


Research shows that moving or exercising can be the best way to prevent back pain. Keeping your back strong and supple through exercises is the best way to avoid having back pain.