Back Pain Education 1

Back Pain can result from a number of causes ranging from the very specific to the more difficult to identify. The majority of back injuries are mechanical in nature. Specific causes may range from strains and sprains or traumatic injuries to degradation or damage to vertebral disks to nerve damage or conditions like Spinal Stenosis - a narrowing of the spinal column that puts increased pressure  on the spinal cord - or Scoliosis. As we get older, wear and tear causes the spinal system to become more vulnerable, so the risk of back problems increases with age.

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Back pain can also be caused by underlying conditions, some of which require immediate medical attention. Chronic conditions also worsen if untreated, so if your pain is new and severe, it’s a good idea to see a doctor to rule out anything that could be dangerous if left untreated. In addition to age, there are other risk factors for back pain:

Fitness level: maintaining a strong core is important in preventing back pain, and exercise - if done carefully - not only helps prevent back pain, but can reduce it.

Weight gain: maintaining a weight level that is unhealthily heavy, or gaining weight quickly (including in the case of pregnancy) can strain the lower back. Wearing sensible shoes with cushioned soles can help relieve some of the pressure on your back.

Occupational factors: certain jobs require heavy lifting, pushing, or pulling. These activities can lead to back injury and subsequent pain. Desk jobs aren’t exempt either; being sedentary can lead to bad posture. Try and be mindful of your posture, and invest in an office chair with sufficient back support.

Mental health factors: negative emotions can exacerbate pain, or even make it seem worse than it is. Mental health issues and depression can influence how severely you perceive your pain, so make sure you are taking care of yourself as a whole, mind and body.

Because all of these risk factors also increase when you are actually suffering from back pain, it’s important to try to get ahead of the problem: decrease pain so that you can stay healthy, eat a balanced diet, stay positive, and take protective measures at work.