Causes and Risk Factors of Back Pain

Back pain may be acute or chronic. Acute back pain starts suddenly and usually lasts for less than six weeks and commonly due to fall or lifting of heavy weight. Chronic back pain lasts for more than three months. Acute back pain is more common than chronic type. Commonly back pain (acute as well as chronic) develops without any known specific cause. Your doctor may ask you to undergo imaging to find out the cause of back pain. The causes of back pain include,ID-100268454

  • Strain of ligaments or muscles: if you lift heavy weight frequently or if your job involves lifting heavy weight (such as porter) your back pain may be due to ligament or muscle strain. If you suddenly make some awkward movement you may develop back pain due to muscle or ligament strain. If you constantly strain your back and if you have poor general health you may develop back pain.
  • Prolapse intervertebral disk or rupture of disk: this is also very common cause of back pain. The intervertebral disks act as cushion between two vertebrae. Sometimes a disk may move from its original position and press on some nerve causing back pain. The disk may also rupture and the semisolid central component of disk may come out or bulge leading to pressing on some nerve and cause back pain. You may also have prolapse intervertebral disk or rupture disk without any back pain. However, it is very likely that sooner or later you can have back pain. This asymptomatic disk prolapse or rupture can be diagnosed by X-ray spine, which you may undergo for some other reason.
  • Skeletal abnormality/deformity: if you have some skeletal abnormality/deformity of spine such as scoliosis (bending of spine to one side), you may have back pain, especially if scoliosis is severe.
  • Osteoporosis: if you have osteoporosis, your bone become weak. Compression fracture may develop if your bones (vertebrae) are weak, porous, and brittle, leading to back pain.
  • Arthritis: in some cases of arthritis involving spine there may be narrowing of space around spinal cord, a condition known as spinal stenosis. In such case the spinal cord may be compressed, leading to back pain.
  • Many patients have back pain, without any clear reason. Sometimes the nerves of spinal cord may be pressed without any clear cause and cause back pain. Finding the cause of back pain becomes difficult. This type of back pain is very difficult to manage.

Are you at risk of back pain? Find out.

Practically anyone can develop back pain, even teenagers and children. It is not yet clear why back pain develop, although we know how back pain develop in most cases. However, some factors contribute to increase risk of back pain, such as

  • Age is an important factor in back pain. Although back pain can occur at any age, it is more common among elderly and usually starts at 30 to 40 years of age. Before 30 years of age back pain less common.
  • Overweight/obesity: excess weight is a contributing factor. Because the back has to support a heavier load constantly. This is also the reason, individuals carrying weight or lifting weight tend to get back pain.
  • Lack of physical exercise lead to weak muscles and bones and lead to back pain. Back muscles need to be used to prevent back pain.
  • Lifting weight in an improper way can cause back pain. Use legs instead of back for lifting weight.
  • Smoking can make disks weak by preventing nutrients to reach disks.
  • Various disease such as cancer, arthritis increase risk of back pain.
  • Individuals with psychological condition such as depression, anxiety tend to have higher risk of developing back pain.

 

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