There are many causes to lower back pain, but there are also reasons or risk factors as to why you might develop a chronic condition. Some of these risk factors might surprise you, but they have been discovered through research to be linked to acute and chronic back pain.
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Reasons and Risk Factors
Physical and Genetic Factors
Some people are born with irregular spines and these problems can worsen over time. Having a family member prone to back pain can suggest that you might be likely to get it as well. Men are more prone to back pain than women. The exception to this is when a woman is pregnant, as this puts a lot of stress and strain on the back.
If you have ever injured your back, you are more likely to have new bouts of injury – or in the worst case, chronic pain after the injury that never goes away. If you have tried natural remedies and medications and they have not offered effective pain relief, your doctor may suggest surgery.
However, having back surgery can increase the risk of further back problems.
Many changes to the spine are related to aging. Once you reach middle age, you may experience arthritic symptoms, plus aches, pains, popping and even creaking as your muscles and ligaments get weak and/or start to pull over bony spurs in your spine.
Osteoporosis, a weakening of the bones, can cause bony spurs to start jutting out from the vertebrae in your spinal column. These can damage your ligaments or even put pressure on your nerves.
You might think there isn’t much you can do about the aging process, but keeping a strong back is all about watching your posture and keeping your core muscles strong to support your back. Working out your abs on a regular basis means your muscles and spine can stay strong. Gentle aerobics, yoga or tai chi can all help you maintain strength and flexibility.
The job you do also directly affects the health of your back. Doing a job or other activity that requires long periods of sitting, heavy lifting, bending or twisting, repetitive motions, or constant vibration (such as using a jackhammer or driving certain types of heavy equipment), can all harm your back over time if you are not getting regular exercise.
Being overweight or obese also puts a lot of strain on the back, especially if you are carrying a lot of weight around the middle. Being overweight causes your body to counter-balance and this is why the back is strained.
Smokers are also more likely to suffer from back pain, probably due to generally not taking care of their health. Smoking and being overweight might also be signs of stress, another common cause of back pain due to tension and tight muscles. Chronic back pain can affect mood and even trigger depression. In turn, depression can cause health problems, due to people not taking care of their health properly.
Some medicines can weaken bones, including corticosteroids such as cortisone and prednisone. Keep your bones strong with a good diet, and calcium and Vitamin D supplements if recommended by your doctor.
Knowing your risk factors means you can try to prevent lower back pain from ever happening in the first place. Take care of your back and it will take care of you.