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20 Potential Explanations for Back Pain

Millions of Americans live with chronic back pain, and the condition is not just afflicting older adults. In fact, back pain is the primary cause of disability in individuals younger than 45. Making matters worse, many factors could be contributing to the pain and discomfort – ranging from accident injuries to lifestyle habits.

If you are living with pain and discomfort, it may be caused by any of the following issues.

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Conditions Related to the Spine

One of the most apparent reasons for a backache is dysfunction in the spinal joints, muscles, discs, and nerves.

Herniated, slipped, or bulging discs: Typically caused by simple wear and tear, a herniated disc occurs when the soft tissue in the discs between joints becomes dislodged, causing pain as surrounding nerves become compressed. Minor discomfort may indicate a “bulging disc,” which is less pronounced than a herniated disc and often causes sporadic (not constant) pain.

Degenerative disc disease: The discs between the spine’s vertebrae act as shock absorbers. When they shrink or tear – often due to aging – the bones rub together and cause pain.

Sacroiliac joint inflammation: This joint is the area where your spine and pelvis come together. It doesn’t move as a typical joint but instead works to shift the load of the upper body to the lower body. Injury, arthritis, or an infection can cause swelling or erosion of the cartilage, causing pain. This condition is also sometimes the result of pregnancy and childbirth.

Spinal stenosis: This condition is typically age-related and is caused by the narrowing of the spinal canal. This narrowing puts additional pressure on the spine and nerves, causing pain as well as numbness in the extremities and shoulders.

Spondylolisthesis: This condition results from one or more of the spinal vertebrae slipping forward and out of place. It typically causes pain in the lower back.

Cervical radiculopathy: You may have experienced this condition but called it by its more common name, a pinched nerve. A bone spur or a herniated disc usually causes the nerves to become pinched or constricted.

Scoliosis: The curvature of the spine associated with scoliosis is typically a condition the patient has from birth, although pain often does not become a problem for several decades.

Back Pain Due to Accident or Injury

Car accidents and falls can cause muscle sprains, strains, and fractures – and are also among the leading causes of this type of pain.

Spine or vertebral fractures: Fractures may be caused by a blow to the back or a slip and fall – but are also often the result of weak bones due to osteoporosis.

Sprains and strains: There are muscles, ligaments, and tendons that support the spine, and injuries to them can cause back pain. This type of injury often occurs when an individual lifts something and twists simultaneously – but car accidents and sports injuries can also cause this type of pain.

Spasms: Back pain due to spasms is most often associated with sports injuries and weightlifting and occurs when muscles and tendons in the lower back become torn.

Back Pain Due to Habits and Lifestyle

Sometimes your backache is unrelated to trauma such as an accident or injury – but instead is caused by how you live your everyday life. These habits may include:

* Sitting for long periods at a non-ergonomic desk
* Slouching while sitting
* Lifting heavy objects (even grandparents lifting their grandkids!)
* Being overweight
* Lack of regular exercise
* Wearing high heels
* Smoking
* Living with high amounts of stress or anxiety

Medical Causes

Aside from the pain associated with spinal issues, back pain may also be associated with other medical conditions, such as:

Arthritis: This common joint disease manifests as stiffness, swelling, and inflammation. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage and bones break down – and is therefore associated most often with middle-aged or senior patients.

Pregnancy: The weight gain related to pregnancy can cause back strain.

No matter what is causing your backache, there is no need to suffer in silence or keep swallowing painkillers.

Call Dr. Ryan Johnson at Integrated Chiropractic today to learn more about the latest innovations in spinal treatment and holistic chiropractic care – and get rid of your pain for good.