Most people will experience back pain at some point. In fact, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, “75 to 85 percent of all Americans will experience some form of back pain during their lifetime.” But what causes back pain? Here are some of the most common back injuries and what causes them:
Strains and Sprains
Some of the most common back injuries are strains and sprains. These often occur due to poor lifting technique or sudden increases and changes in activity that your body isn’t used to, like an impromptu basketball game or hours weeding the garden. You could wrench your back by lifting something too heavy or by twisting suddenly in an unnatural way (or even just a way your body isn’t used to). According to Know Your Back, young athletes can also suffer ligament sprains and muscle strains due to “athletic overuse, improper body mechanics and technique, lack of proper conditioning, insufficient stretching, as well as trauma.”
Herniated or ruptured discs are another common source of back pain. As Medical News Today explains, herniated discs occur when “some of the soft interior slips out through a crack in the disk’s wall.” Often, “simple wear and tear” causes this. Symptoms include low back and leg pain, tingling or numbness in one leg, weakness in leg muscles, and deep muscle pain and muscle spasms.
Sitting is another common culprit, one which can cause ergonomic injury to the back. While sudden damage doesn’t occur from sitting, serious discomfort can arise as a long-term consequence of the pressure on your spine and the harm to poorly nourished spinal discs. Spine Health describes sitting as “a static posture that increases stress in the back, shoulders, arms, and legs, and in particular, can add large amounts of pressure to the back muscles and spinal discs.” Computer use is often the source of this damage, though long commutes and any other cause of a sedentary lifestyle can be problematic. Poor posture while at the office, such as slouching over or down in your chair, can compound the problem.
Lumbar Spine Stenosis
The American Society of Neurological Surgeons defines lumbar spinal stenosis as “a narrowing of the spinal canal, compressing the nerves traveling through the lower back into the legs.” This usually occurs over many years and can result in “pain, weakness, or numbness in the legs, calves, or buttocks” as well as calf cramps when walking and pain radiating into the thigh(s) or leg(s).
Spondylolysis & Spondylolisthesis
Though less common than strains and sprains, these conditions, which arise from “[d]efects of a vertebra’s pars interarticularis” and “the slippage of one vertebra in relation to another vertebra” respectively, do affect athletes frequently enough to be a concern. Know Your Back further explains that this kind of damage often appears in association with sports requiring a lot of twisting and hyperextension of the spine, like gymnastics. Pain is often reported to worsen when the back is arched.
Getting Help for Your Back Injury
Many of the injuries above can be aided by chiropractic treatment. At Proactive Chiropractic, we help treat spinal stenosis, herniated discs, and back pain caused by a variety of other injuries through chiropractic adjustment, spinal decompression therapy, exercise and stretching, and a variety of other therapies.
Our experienced chiropractor, Dr. Alec Khlebopros, practices a wealth of services, treatment options, and procedures that help to restore patients to their healthy selves.
Click here to contact Proactive Chiropractic for a consultation today, or fill in the form on our contact page and a member of our staff will be in touch soon.