One second, you’re just going about your business, and the next, bang! Your back is in agony. It may have happened after lifting a bag of heavy shopping or reaching for a cushion, you may have merely woken up with an ache that has continuously gotten worse. Whichever way it’s happened, you’re probably thinking, what did I do to deserve this?
Back pain is the second most frequent complaint in the United States. (Beaten only by Headaches) Back pain not only takes its toll on your quality of life, it can also have a large influence over your finances.
The National Institutes of Health states that Americans spend around $50 billion each year on just lower back pain, which is the most common back problem. It’s the principal job-related disability and major contributor to missed work days.
All this information won’t make you feel any better, however, for most people; back pain is alleviated after a few days or a few weeks. You might have to undergo some discomfort for a while, but that doesn’t necessarily mean grin and bear it. There are plenty of ways to feel better whilst waiting.
If it takes longer than a few days. How long do you wait? This varies depending on the severity and kind of symptoms you’re experiencing. In our Back Pain section, you will find some of the many reasons that back pain occurs, what you can do about it, and when you should visit a doctor.
You’re in Good Company
Back pain grips almost everybody (men and women evenly) and knows no ethnic or socioeconomic boundaries. Eight out of ten adults will endure back pain at least once in their lives.
As we grow older, we generally become more disposed to back issues, but aging isn’t the only factor to blame. It’s how we treat our bodies as we grow older. Physical and psychological stresses, carrying excess weight, lack of exercise, or too excessive, sudden exercise can all create or exacerbate back issues. What began as a minor issue can develop into a bigger deal—similar to a crack in a dam which grows.
The Components of your Back
The majority of back issues are usually a result of body mechanism (you over-twisted that golf swing), but some occur over time. Disc degeneration is generally associated with aging.
When the cushioning discs in-between your vertebrae (spinal bones) begin to dry out and deteriorate, it lowers the amount of shock that the discs can take. Arthritis, osteoporosis, and stenosis (a narrowing of the spinal canal) are all age-related diseases.
While some people are genetically predisposed to back issues, the majority suffer due to mechanical malfunction, for example, a strained muscle. This is, surprisingly, good news, because it means that you can treat your own back in lots of ways, and when you can’t, there are lots of experts who can help.
Back pain is usually an adult issue, but children are not invulnerable. Again, it’s far more likely to be a body mechanics problem as a pose to one caused by disease. We’ve all seen kids bending under the weight of their backpacks. Luckily, more and more are opting to use the wheeled versions that they pull along behind them. As that puts less stress on the back; but they should remember to switch arms regularly, as we all should do whilst carrying or pulling anything.