The back is a super complex area of your body that is critical to keeping you upright. The tangle of nerves, muscles, bones, and joints are also prone to injury. Most people will eventually have some sort of pain or soreness in their back, especially in the lower section where twisting and bending happens.
Most issues will fade over time or can be fixed with a quick correction to posture and stretching. Others will take some physical therapy and a trip to the doctor. In older adults, pain may be chronic and need constant mitigation efforts like daily exercise or even pain medication. Whatever the case, here are some common causes of lower back pain.
Sprains and strains
The most common cause of lower back pain is strains and sprains. These occur when muscles are stretched and stressed too much, resulting in small tears in the muscles or ligaments. To avoid this from happening to you, be careful when lifting, even moderately heavy objects. People say to lift with your legs for a reason! It’s not just a joke; lifting with your legs and a straight back will save you from pain. Watch weightlifters deadlift a bar loaded with hundreds of kilos and you’ll see how to properly lift a heavy bag of rubbish.
Acute lower back pain usually comes from an improper lift or participating in a sporting event. Chronic back pain comes from a host of other conditions. Stiffness is generally attributed to either osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. These are the same things that cause pain and stiffness in the fingers, neck, knee, or pretty much any other joint.
Lack of movement
Sitting at a desk all day is quite terrible for your physical health. Your body didn’t evolve to be on its behind all day staring at a screen. It was meant to be up and running, finding food and building shelter out of random materials. We are upright thinkers. Poor posture is easy to fall into while sitting in yet another meeting or typing out emails at your desk. A slouch may be comfy, but it could lead to chronic back pain. Getting a suitably supportive chair or a standing desk can help keep your back in the right position to avoid back and neck pain.
More seriously, there may be irritation or rubbing of the spinal nerves or cord. This can be caused by an obvious injury such as a car accident or over time by repeatedly lifting things with poor form. Symptoms may feel a shock or burning pain in the lower back and down into one leg, or a sharp pain while doing simple things like taking a deep breath or getting dressed. These issues may be able to be fixed with a few trips to a physical therapist or chiropractor. But maintaining your comfort will usually include a daily effort by you with activities such as stretches and specific exercises.
Lower back pain knows no age or gender. It can affect anyone and everyone seriously. It’s generally associated with geriatrics but can just as easily affect someone in their early 20’s. Most cases can be prevented by being smart about keeping up a healthy lifestyle and having good posture. Acute cases might just be plain bad luck. The spinal region is incredibly complex and it is important to give it your attention to keep it healthy and you happy.
If you are unsure what is causing your back pain or it isn’t going away, do not hesitate to seek medical attention. Lower back pain is not something you want to be a hero about and tough out, because over time it can worsen and cause serious damage to a critical structure.