Low Back Pain Should Be Examined

By Mike Genco

Back pain can be caused by many things. People often think it has to do with age alone. Low back pain, however, can have many causes. It can also afflict people of all ages.

The back consists of many different parts. Down its centre is the spinal column, which holds the back in place and also protects the spinal cord and its adjoining nerves. The spine is made up of different types of vertebrae, each of which are separated by round cartilage pads called discs. There are also ligaments and tendons that hold the vertebrae in place and connect the muscles of the back to the spine. Vertebrae are divided up into parts such as the cervical, thoracic, lumbar and root or sacrum. The lumbar area of the back is where low back pain happens.

The length of time someone experiences low back pain is part of how it is diagnosed to be either acute or chronic. Acute back pain lasts a few days to a few weeks, at the most a month or two. Chronic back pain, however, is back pain that lasts longer than three months.

Posture itself can affect the spine, but so can other things. Obesity, unusual weight gain during pregnancy, or a poorly maintained physical condition can also contribute to the causes of back pain. Losing weight and living a healthy life can help improve the back's health a great deal.

Low back pain can also result from trauma to the back, such as the kind experienced during a car accident. Overstretching the back or trying to carry something too heavy may also hurt the spine, causing the discs to bulge out. Nerves and muscles can become irritated and there can be resulting bone lesions, all of which need proper time to heal. Left untreated, these may become more serious conditions of the back.

Sciatica can often be a result of untreated low back pain. This condition is caused when herniated or ruptured discs in the spine press down on the sciatic nerve that runs down the spinal column to the pelvis. People with sciatica experience shock like or burning pain in their back that shoots through the buttocks and down a leg, often traveling to below the knee.

Having low back pain is one of the most common of all job related disabilities and missed time at work. The back aches severely, and sufferers experience shooting and stabbing pains. People may not be able to stand up straight, or may not be able to bend. Both men and women are afflicted equally by back pain, and every year Americans spend approximately fifty billion dollars in back pain treatments. Back pain and trauma can be caused by age afflictions like osteoporosis but even housework, gardening and improper lifting of heavy objects can be the cause. Even teenagers can suffer back pain from heavy backpacks, poor sleeping habits and bad posture.

Whether back pain is a result of trauma or just seems to happen, any kind of low back pain that persists longer than a few days should be treated by a doctor. Back pain that doesn't heal on its own could become something more serious. Visit a doctor if you have any questions, to avoid an improper diagnosis of something more severe. - 32188

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