According to The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, around 80% of adults experience some kind of lower back pain at some point during their lives. Studies also say that back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work, accounting for 264 million lost workdays a year.
The nature and type of pain ranges from person to person and greatly depends on its cause. With some, pain can appear suddenly, or worsen gradually, and can range from a dull ache to an intense, sharp pain.
While most back pain usually develops from overuse or a minor injury, sometimes the cause is a more difficult to determine. In most cases, lower back pain is benign, but sometimes it can indicate an underlying medical condition. That’s why it’s important to see your doctor if your persistent or worsening pain interferes with your daily activities.
At Houston Physicians’ Hospital, we know that back pain can be debilitating, so here are three of the most common reasons your back might be hurting:
According to a 2017 study in Statista, 29% of the U.S. adult population claimed that their lower back pain came from stress.Stress and anxiousness causes our breathing patterns to change and creates tension in the mid and lower back which can lead to pain.
Strains and Sprains
Strains and sprains are two other very common causes of back pain causing tenderness, swelling and muscle spasms. A sprain occurs when a person tears a ligament which can happen while overstretching, participating in heavy or rigorous physical activity, bad posture, twisting or just overuse. These motions can also cause strains in muscles or tendons.
According to ‘The Good Body’, around 80% of the adult population will experience a back injury at some point during their lives.
Back injuries can cause spinal cord damage like vertebral fractures and herniated or ruptured discs. These can happen due to accidents such as falls, vehicle accidents and other mishaps.
Back pain from injuries usually appears immediately and may shoot down your legs causing both pain and a tingling sensation.
When to see a doctor?
Sometimes it’s not obvious what’s causing lower back pain. Home remedies such as resting, over the counter painkillers, and cold therapy may temporarily help manage or relieve back pain, but without addressing the underlying cause, the pain can come back.
In the case of persistent back pain that worsens over time, call your doctor to get diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.
Look for the following symptoms with your lower back pain:
- Loss of sensation in the legs
- Loss of bladder function
- Difficulty standing straight