According to research, close to 65 million Americans have reported recent episodes of back pain, making this one of the most prevalent conditions among adults. People with back pain experience symptoms that range from mild to severe. Pain may vary from a dull throbbing in your back to a series of sharp sensations around your spinal area, which affects your mobility. Fortunately, your pain management physician in West Orange may help treat or manage your back pain using less invasive methods such as steroid injections and physical therapy.
What causes back pain?
In most cases, back pain develops due to different conditions that your specialist may identify using a test or an imaging study. The following conditions are commonly linked to back pain:
- Osteoarthritis. It is a type of arthritis that results in bone degeneration. This condition may occur in your lower back and result in pain or inflammation. When this condition develops in the spine, it may cause narrowing in the spinal spaces, a condition known as spinal stenosis.
- Ruptured disks. The vertebral column consists of a series of bones that make up the spinal cord. In between the vertebrae, lies discs act as cushions and shock absorbers. When content inside the disc spill over to the bones, you may experience inflammation or pain. Other times, you may have a bulging disc and not experience back pain. Your doctor may notice a ruptured disc while conducting a spinal x-ray.
- Osteoporosis. This condition makes your bones porous and brittle. You may quickly develop bone fractures if you are living with osteoporosis. You may experience severe back pain when you develop a fracture in your spine’s vertebrae.
- Muscle strain. Constant strain on your back caused by repeated heavy lifting or sudden movements may cause painful muscle spasms.
What factors increase your risk for back pain?
While anyone may develop back pain, certain factors put you at higher risk of developing back pain, including:
- Obesity. Excess body weight exerts extra pressure on your back and may result in back pain.
- Age. Older adults between the ages of 40 and onwards are at a higher risk of developing back pain than young people and children.
- Physical inactivity. Lack of regular exercise causes the weakening of muscles in your back and abdominal area.
- Diseases like cancer and arthritis may also contribute to pain in your back.
- Smoking. People who smoke tend to cough a lot, and this may result in herniated discs. Smoking also causes insufficient blood flow in your spinal area, and as a result, one may develop osteoporosis.
- Depression and anxiety. According to research, people living with these psychological conditions have a greater risk of back pain.
How can you prevent back pain?
- Engage in regular exercise to keep your muscles strong and trim down excess weight. Low-impact activities help increase strength and endurance in your back. Your specialist will guide you on which activities to try out.
- Avoid smoking as this increases your risk of low back pain.
- Practice good standing and sitting postures to avoid twisting or straining your back. For example, choose a seat with good lower back support.
There are different treatments that your specialist may recommend to treat back pain, including cortisone injections and muscle relaxants. Consult with your specialist at the Pain Center of NJ to know the best treatment method for you.