Common Reasons for Back Pain
Fortunately, there are types of back pain that do not require medical diagnosis or treatment, and can be resolved (and prevented!) through self-care and lifestyle adjustments. However, it is important to understand what is causing your back pain so that you can take the best course of action for your body.
Often, understanding and treating back pain requires a doctor’s expertise. Seek medical attention if any of these symptoms or situations apply to you:
- Severe, acute back pain
- Recent injury to the back, neck, shoulders or hips
- Inability to walk, bend over, or sit up due to back pain
- Back pain that does not respond to over-the-counter pain relievers
- Persistent numbness or tingling in the back or extremities
What Causes Back Pain?
Forward Head Posture and Upper-Crossed Syndrome
Common forms of poor posture include forward head posture and upper-crossed syndrome. Forward head posture causes the neck and head to hyperextend forward over the chest. This head position places more stress on the neck, upper, and mid-back than if the head was directly above the shoulders. In a proper postural position, the average adult’s head weighs about 12 pounds. Hyperextended forward, the head can weigh an added 20-30 pounds!
Upper-crossed syndrome involves forward head position and a rounding forward of the shoulders. The natural curvature of your upper-mid back (thoracic spine) is exaggerated, known as thoracic kyphosis, and, in severe cases, resembles a hunch-back. This causes dysfunction of neck and shoulder joints, as well as extra stress on the muscles of the back.
Sitting for Long Periods of Time
Even when sitting still at a desk or in the car, your back and core muscles are working to keep your spine erect. It’s a constant fight against gravity for the spine and core muscles to keep us upright. However, even with great posture, sitting requires some muscles to constantly contract (work), and others to remain in a stretched position. Low back pain is common with prolonged sitting. To prevent tension or overuse injury, frequently stretch those muscles you use the most, and do some strengthening exercises to activate the ones you use less often.
Strains and Sprains
Another reason for back pain are injuries to the soft tissues, such as muscle strain or ligament sprain. Repetitive movements can lead to tears in muscle fibers or the overstretching of the fibrous ligaments which connect muscle to bone. Lifting heavy objects and fast, awkward motions can injure back muscles or spinal ligaments. While strains and sprains can happen to anyone, athletes are at higher risk. Mild injuries to soft tissues will resolve with rest and time, but more serious sprains and strains may require physical therapy or surgery.
Spine Related Problems
Back pain is also commonly caused by issues with spinal (vertebral) joints and discs. Injury, degenerative diseases, bone spurs, and tumors can lead to inflammation of soft tissues around the spine, or a narrowing of the spinal canal. Problems involving the spine are serious and can get worse over time, causing permanent damage, if not treated properly. Consult a specialist if you suspect spine-related issues to be the reason for your back pain.
CSC Dallas can help you understand back pain. To discuss your symptoms or for more help, schedule an appointment.
18601 LBJ Freeway, Ste. 618
Mesquite, Texas 75150
North Dallas Office
10 Medical Plaza Parkway Plaza III Ste 206
Dallas, Texas 75234
Fort Worth Office
1000 9th Avenue, Suite A
Fort Worth, Texas 76104
1000 North Davis Street Ste. G
Arlington, Texas 76012
2700 W Pleasant Run Rd. Ste 210
Lancaster, Texas 75146
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