Back pain is a very common health problem among people of all ages, and there are many possible causes and contributing factors that can make back pain appear or exacerbate the symptoms. In some cases, this kind of pain may be caused by an injury or accident, but other back pain issues are linked with long-term health conditions like bursitis and arthritis.

In the most serious cases, the services of leading orthopedic surgeons and specialists may be needed to alleviate severe back pain and treat the root cause of the problem, but in more minor situations, there may be simple lifestyle adjustments and alterations you can make to start feeling better. This guide will cover causes, symptoms, and prevention tips for back pain.

Causes of Back Pain

Back pain is an issue that affects tens of millions of Americans on an annual basis, and it’s also one of the primary causes of disability in the US and other nations. There are many potential causes, including the following:

  • Poor Posture – One of the most common causes of long-term back pain is poor posture, such as slouching or sitting incorrectly and uncomfortably at desks and tables. Many people have problems with posture and inadvertently put a lot of excess pressure on their spine with the way they walk, sit, or stand, but don’t start to notice the effects until later in life.
  • Injuries – It’s also possible for back pain to develop due to sudden injuries. Auto accidents can commonly cause back pain, for example, as well as sporting injuries that may lead to strains in the muscles and ligaments throughout the back. It’s also possible for the disks between the bones of the spine to bulge or rupture, which can also cause aches and pains in the back.
  • Arthritis – Arthritis is a long-term health condition affecting tens of millions of Americans. It can occur in many areas of the body, including the lower back, and it typically causes aching and stiffness around the joints. This can be a very painful condition to live with.
  • Bursitis – Bursitis is an inflammation of little fluid-filled sacs called bursas. Bursas help to ease the friction between bones, muscles, and tendons as we move around, but they can get inflamed and irritated, leading to bursitis, which can be a very painful condition. It occurs commonly in adults aged over 40 and is often associated with repetitive movements or high-pressure activities like gardening and manual labor.

Symptoms and Side Effects

There are many potential symptoms and side effects that can appear as a result of back pain, in addition to the pain itself, including:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Difficulty moving
  • Weight gain
  • Mental health conditions like depression and anxiety
  • Decrease in quality of life

Preventative Measures

Fortunately, there are many ways to deal with back pain. As stated earlier on, specialist surgeons can be contacted for serious and recurring cases, but there are also simple lifestyle changes you can take to look after your back:

  • Improve Your Posture – As stated earlier, posture is a big contributing factor towards back pain. You should therefore try to improve your posture when sitting and standing, making sure to keep the back straight, choosing seats with good back support, and avoiding bad habits like slouching.
  • Exercise and Diet – Excessive body weight can be a contributing factor towards the development of back pain too, as it can put extra pressure on the back when walking and moving around. Getting regular exercise and eating a healthy diet will help to control your weight, as well as strengthening the muscles that support the spine.
  • Stretches and Specific Movements – There is also a range of specific exercises, stretches, and movements a person can do to improve back strength and health. Ab and back exercises should become a key part of your workout routines if you wish to improve back health.
  • Lift Carefully – A common way in which people hurt their backs is by lifting items that are very heavy in an incorrect way. When lifting, you should make sure to bend the knees, keeping the back straight, and making your legs do most of the hard work, rather than your back.

Final Word

Back pain can be very difficult to deal with and cause a lot of complications in a person’s life. The best way to reduce the risks is to act today, making changes, focusing on your posture, and altering your life to be kind to your back.

Cite this article as:
Editorial Staff, "Back Pain: Causes, Symptoms, and Prevention," in Medicalopedia, April 21, 2021, [Permalink: https://www.medicalopedia.org/9685/back-pain-causes-symptoms-and-prevention/].