Lower back pain is a significant concern that plagues many an American. It’s so commonplace that it’s often used as a joke on TV shows and other comedic media. It’s very likely that you know someone who deals with back pain – or that you do, yourself! Whether it’s chronic back pain over a prolonged period or a temporary strain, back pain is often considered a part of aging.
You shouldn’t have to live with untreated back pain. But before you head to the doctor, you may want to consider the possibilities behind the pain you experience. By understanding the source of the pain, you can better manage, prevent, and care for it. Here are six causes of lower back pain most people overlook.
1. Muscle Issues
It only makes sense that the source of the pain is often in our muscles – after all, our muscles are responsible for holding our posture and shape together. So it should also come as no surprise that if our muscles are injured or in poor condition, they will also affect the rest of our body!
· Muscle Fatigue
Considering just how often we harp on the harms caused by a sedentary lifestyle, it’s easy to assume that sitting in the chair all day is somehow responsible for our back pain. The truth is, however, back pain can be seen in people who are athletic too. Research indicates that as long as you repeat the same movement without proper rest, it will strain and hurt your back.
· Sudden Strain
It can’t possibly be too bad if we’re only doing it once, right? It can. If you’re not used to moving or lifting heavy items on the regular, you likely don’t have the muscles and proper form you’ll need to carry something properly. As a result, you’ll often hurt yourself. On the other hand, perhaps you’re a person who used to be in shape but no longer is, you may overestimate your actual physical capabilities and hurt yourself in the process. This is why it’s essential to condition your body first – even if it was something you could do before.
· Weak Abdominal Muscles
Positive thinking alone will not suffice – you still have to put in the effort to strengthen your muscles. Specifically, your abs. Research tells us that weak abdominal muscles are often related to chronic back pain because your lower back muscles have to work double-time to compensate for your weak core.
Unfortunately, we’re susceptible to being injured by the very things we rest our bodies upon. So if you notice a correlation between your newly-found positive attitude and your comfy new mattress, you may just be on to something.
· Office Chairs
You ever noticed how most office workers tend to complain about back pain? Or have a plethora of seat cushions and devices for their chair? There’s a good reason for that. As it turns out, research indicates that sitting for long periods in any capacity (both inside and out of the office) can cause lower back pain. Thankfully, there’s an easy fix to this. Go for a short, 5-minute walk every hour or so as a break.
· Old Mattresses
There’s a good reason why you find meditation and positive thinking a little easier after you’ve changed your mattress. Research reveals that a bed that has any air gaps between you and your body when you lie down doesn’t support you properly while you sleep. So if you find yourself sinking into your mattress and walking away with back pain the next day, it may be time to find yourself a firmer mattress instead.
· Bad Sofas
As tempting as it is to just sit down and sink into your sofa, such behavior may be responsible for your lower back pain. The human body is not meant to stay still. Thus, staying still for too long may cause all sorts of stiffness and aches – especially in your lower back.
3. Lifestyle Choices
If our body is in tip-top condition, then it becomes less likely that it will suffer all sorts of ills and aches. So if you find yourself struggling with back pain, you might have to deal with the fact that you’re:
· Not Getting Enough Exercise
A study shows us that there’s an undeniable relationship between back pain and sedentary lifestyles. A primary reason for this event is because the body doesn’t have the muscle strength to support the spine properly. The muscles then stiffen and overwork to keep you upright, which in turn causes all sorts of back pain. So if you’re a well-known couch potato complaining about your lower back, consider doing exercises for your abdominal and back muscles. That – along with stretching exercises and yoga – should make your back strong and limber to diminish or eliminate your back pain.
· Not Eating Well
Surely all you need is some strong muscles to hold you up, right? The sad truth is that sort of positive thinking is just wishful thinking. Research proves that your diet is important too. Additionally, an unhealthy menu often contributes to weight gain, which worsens joint pain and back pain, as well.
We all know how poor smoking is for you, and now there’s another thing to add to the list. Research has shown that smokers triple their risk of developing back pain – and there’s a good reason for it. Smoking, in general, displaces oxygen, and in the process, deprives your body’s cells of the oxygen it needs.
4. Clothing And What’s In Them
Beauty is pain, so the saying goes. In this particular case, however, the focus is on the clothes and shoes you wear. (And what you put into your pockets.) This notion may seem like a strange reason for lower back pain until you see just how the clothes on your back can affect your posture and behavior. For example:
· Tight Pants
Skinny jeans and their ilk may make you feel positive about yourself, but it comes at a price. A study suggests that skinny-cut pants have a much bigger impact on one’s posture than most would realize, and might be a significant contributor – if not the reason – behind their back pain.
Sciatica – a pain that radiates explicitly from the sciatic nerve running down from one’s buttock – has been proven by researchers to be caused by improper sitting posture compressing the sciatic nerve. The cause of said lousy posture? Sitting on wallets in back pockets.
· High Heels
As any lover of stilettos can tell you, wearing high heels changes one’s center of gravity – and by extension, where all the strain and pressure goes when it comes to supporting your weight. Research proves that it is usually the lower back and calf muscles that suffer in this regard – and thus, the source of your back pain.
· Old Shoes
A study shows us that old shoes with worn-out soles or inadequate arch support can mess with your gait. This imbalance, in turn, forces your back to compensate – and end up hurting as a result. In some cases, even your neck can be affected!
5. Emotional Distress
It cannot be denied that our mental and physical states are intricately intertwined – and there’s research to back it up too. Body pains like headaches, muscle tension, and back and neck pain are all signs of stress. Sufferers of depression have also found to be more susceptible to developing back pain as well. So if you find you are struggling to rid yourself of back pain, consider seeing if the solution is stress management or therapy instead.
6. Rare Diseases
Pain doesn’t always appear out of nowhere. Often, it is a sign from your body signifying that something is wrong. So if you find yourself struggling to manage back pain, consider checking with a doctor to see if you have:
Scoliosis is a medical condition in which your spine curves in an abnormal fashion, seemingly without cause or reason. It isn’t usually a common source for back pain, but studies reveal that it can certainly play a contributing factor.
· Disc Issues
The reason we can bend over and twist is because of the flexible structure of our spine. The spine itself consists of numerous vertebrae, and a disc cushions each one. Over time, the discs can deplete and become stiff, or swell up and irritate nearby nerves. Research indicates that this is usually the cause of lower back pain – especially if it’s of the chronic variety.
Additionally, traumatic and sudden accidents or movements can often cause a disc to rupture or protrude, causing pain in the process. Most of these, thankfully, don’t need surgery to fix – just go to your doctor to have it diagnosed as soon as possible.
· Autoimmune or Degenerative Disease
Diseases that affect the bone like osteoporosis and osteoarthritis are often critical culprits behind one’s back pain. Research shows that this trigger is largely due to how the former creates weak and brittle bones that fracture easily.
As a result, a patient can go around suffering from back pain without realizing they have a hairline fracture. The latter, meanwhile, slowly destroys the protective cartilage joints and exposes them. That degrading tissue makes it easy for one’s joints – and back – to hurt. Other autoimmune diseases, including lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, may also cause back pain, though these tend to be rarer cases.
If you or your family members have a history of cancer, you might want to pay close attention. Research reveals that a tumor can potentially cause lower back pain in the appropriate area. It may not be a very likely thing that can happen, but it is nevertheless certainly something to keep in mind anyway.
Back pain is exhausting to deal with and can negatively impact your everyday life. As such, you must understand its causes and seek treatment quickly.
If you experience prolonged or chronic back pain or believe a more serious problem causes your back pain, speak to a doctor or relevant medical professional for assistance and advice. Getting the help you need can treat the pain before its effects become too severe.