Back pain is a broad condition that could refer to any part of the complex structure of your back. There are muscles, bones, joints and nerves that work together to support your body. Most back pain is not caused by a serious disease or damage, but rather by minor injuries such as sprains, strains or a pinched nerve. Regular activities at work or home can trigger the pain, and certain conditions may gradually cause pain to develop over time.
Lower back pain that seems to radiate to the buttock, leg and foot is called sciatica. This pain tends to be ongoing. It may flare up and subside, and the pain may seem more severe in the leg and foot than in the lower back. It usually develops on one side and is worse after standing or sitting for prolonged periods. Sometimes, walking gives the discomfort a little relief.
Some of the main causes of back pain are:
- Repeatedly bending in an awkward way
- Handling heavy objects
- Sitting with a slouched posture
- Sitting in a hunched over position for long periods without taking a break
- Strenuous use of muscles while performing a sport, dance or other movement
There are many ways to prevent back pain, starting with regular exercise. The pain often happens when people do things they do not do very often, such as playing basketball on the weekend, cleaning out the garage by lifting heavy boxes or working in the garden for hours. The best way to prevent this pain is by doing daily exercise that keeps your muscles flexible.
Lifting heavy boxes can cause back pain when the correct lifting technique is not used. Do not try to lift a package that is more than 20 percent of your weight, and turn with your feet instead of at your waist.
Sometimes, it seems that back pain appears for no reason. For example, you may have pain in the morning and not be able to find the cause. There are some conditions that increase your risk of developing back pain, such as:
- Obesity, because it puts pressure on your spine
- Smoking, since it may cause damaged tissue in the back
- Pregnancy, which like obesity, puts additional strain on the back
- Taking certain medications that weaken bones if used over long periods
- Stress and depression
Certain medical conditions may cause back pain, such as:
- A prolapsed disc
- Frozen shoulder
- Headaches and neck pain
During a consultation at the office of Stanley C. Jones, MD in Houston, your back pain can be diagnosed and a treatment plan can be created. You don’t have to live with your pain. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to learn more.