The statistics are staggering. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), an estimated 80 percent of adults experience low back pain at some point in their lifetimes.
Back pain can come on suddenly and often seems to occur without a specific cause. However, there are some risk factors that are commonly associated with the onset of back pain.
Are You at Risk? Eight characteristics create a greater risk of developing back pain:
- Age. Back pain is more common as you get older, starting at age 30 or 40. That is because as people age, muscle elasticity and tone decrease. The intervertebral discs (the shock-absorbing structure between each vertebra) begin to lose fluid and flexibility, which decreases their ability to cushion the vertebrae, causing discomfort.
- Diseases. Some types of arthritis and cancer can contribute to back pain. One of the most common is osteoarthritis, which occurs when the cartilage that cushions the joints breaks down and causes the bones to rub together. In more serious cases, arthritis in the spine can lead to a narrowing of the space around the spinal cord, a condition called spinal stenosis.
- Fitness Level. Weak muscles in the back can lead to back pain. These unused back and abdominal muscles may not properly support the spine. I individuals in poor physical condition who have constant strain on the back may experience painful muscle spasms.
- Excess weight. Carrying too much weight puts extra stress on your back. The spine has to support those extra pounds and it can lead to lower back pain from the extra pressure on the back.
- Improper lifting. Using your back instead of your legs when picking up large objects can lead to back pain. A sudden awkward movement or engaging in repeated heavy lifting may strain the muscles and spinal ligaments, leading to back pain.
- Occupational factors. An inactive job or a desk job may also lead to or contribute to pain. This is especially true if you have poor posture or sit all day in a chair with inadequate back support.
- Smoking. The habit of smoking can keep your body from delivering enough essential vitamins and minerals to the disks in your back. Published research associates smoking to the degeneration of the intervertebral disc and the reduction of absorbing important nutrients.
- Childhood. Back pain in young children and teens are rare. But a backpack that is overloaded with schoolbooks and supplies can strain the back and cause muscle fatigue. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends that a child’s backpack should weigh no more than 15 to 20 percent of the child’s body weight.
Discovering the Causes of Back Pain
A complete medical history and physical exam can usually identify if you are at risk for back pain and recognize any serious conditions that may be causing the pain.
A skilled healthcare professional will conduct a thorough back examination to determine the underlying reasons behind the pain and the appropriate treatment protocol. Specific imaging test may also be used to find the cause of back pain. These tests may include:
- X-rays.This is used to look for broken bones or an injured vertebra.
- Computerized tomography (CT). This test produces a three-dimensional image to help identify spinal structures that may be the cause of back pain.
- Discography. The injection of a contrast dye into a spinal disc may be used when other diagnostic procedures fail to identify the cause of pain. Discography can be used to determine which abnormal disc or discs in the spinal cord are the sources of the back pain.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This imaging test produces images of soft tissues such as muscles, ligaments, tendons, and blood vessels.
- Ultrasound imaging. High-frequency sound waves can show tears in ligaments, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissue masses in the back.
Get Help Now
Unfortunately, most people do not seek treatment and attempt to live with their low back pain. Don’t let this happen to you.
Back pain can become debilitating physically, mentally, and emotionally. You must get it treated as soon as possible.
We can help.
At Arizona Pain and Spine Institute, our mission is to improve our patients’ quality of life by alleviating and managing their pain.
We use state-of-the-art technology and effective approaches to achieving our mission. At Arizona Pain and Spine Institute, we offer minimally invasive epidural steroid injections in addition to other treatment options.
Our offices also offer the innovative SCS process, otherwise known as spinal cord stimulation. This procedure utilizes electrical impulses to alleviate the persistent pain of the back, arms, and legs.
Do not wait for your pain to get from bad to worse.
Start now and set an appointment with us at any of our Arizona locations at the first signs of pain. We are a committed and skilled team of pain management doctors and specialists who can help you reduce the risk of back pain and find answers to existing pain.
To learn more, visit our website to see what our clients say about us.
Don’t delay and call us now at (480) 986-7246. You deserve to live a pain-free life.