Did you know that around 80% of us suffer from back pain at some stage in our lives? A study has found that elderly individuals who suffer from back pain have a greater chance of an early death. Nearly 5000 people aged 70+ with a spinal condition have a 13% increased chance of dying early it was found.
Back pain is the most common cause of job-related disability and contributor to missed days of work. Back pain can develop from a number of sources, like moving too quickly or lifting something heavy. The pain can range from a dull, uncomfortable ache to a sharp, incapacitating agony. Back pain can be a pain in itself by achingly disrupting our lives. It is important to recognise and manage this pain so that it doesn’t become a chronic condition.
What Causes Back Pain?
The majority of back pain is generally caused by the degeneration of the spine through wear and tear. It affects the spinal discs, joints, and bones associated with the spine. Some examples of causes of back pain are:
- Sprains and Strains - caused by overstretching and even tearing ligaments or muscle tissue from lifting something too heavy or incorrectly. These kinds of movements can cause spasms in your muscles which are also extremely painful and if not treated correctly can lead to further problems down the line.
- Traumatic Injury - There are thousands of people who suffer a traumatic accident from playing sports, car accidents, or from falls – a major cause of hospital admissions for the elderly. Traumatic injury may cause the spine to compress and cause discs to rupture and herniate. This puts pressure on the nerves rooted to the spinal column which in turn causes immense pain.
- Sciatica - A very common chronic back pain that is caused by the sciatic nerve located in your lower back and travels down the back of your leg being compressed. The pain is a burning shock that travels down your back and extends down your legs making it very discomforting and sometimes a numbness is felt too. It is important to know that this condition may also be caused by a cancerous tumour or cyst pressing on the nerve.
How to Manage and Prevent Back Pain from Occurring
Back pain is very common and through daily tasks we increase the risk of causing injury. However, there are things that we can do to help prevent and manage this pain from occurring.
Maintaining a healthy weight is important so that you don’t put added stress and strain on your bones and muscles. A diet high in calcium and vitamin D is a good way to ensure your bones are kept strong. Look to eat oily fish and eggs and of course, get plenty of sunshine.
Maintaining a healthy exercise routine is important to strengthen and build muscle to help with general daily activities and beyond. A great activity to participate in is yoga as both short and long term benefits of yoga can ease chronic back pain and help with the strength and flexibility of your back.
Physical therapy programs can be specifically designed to at targeting back pain problems by strengthening core muscle groups that support the back. They promote your proper positioning and posture that improves mobility and flexibility leading to ease of pain and even prevention.
Our spine is the basis of our stature and it is important that we look after our bones and muscle groups that keep us able to stand and move around. Damage and pain can limit or day to day lives
Note: Updated 03/06/2021