Are you suffering from back pain that has recurred for over three months? Then you are Struggling with chronic back pain. Chronic back pain is a common condition affecting almost every working adult worldwide.
The pain can range from mild aches to intense pain, interfering with your day-to-day activities and the quality of your life. Even when you follow conservative treatments, chronic pain will tend to persist and may get worst.
Finding the root cause is the first step in treating chronic back pain and improving these symptoms. Sometimes, you know the exact reason why your back is hurting. You may have lifted some heavy objects awkwardly and felt the pain eased. Or you have maintained the same improper posture while working at the desk for a year.
Nonetheless, at other times, when it lasts for weeks or months, it would be difficult to pinpoint the causes of the back pain. Keep on reading to break down the common causes of chronic back pain!
Chronic Back Pain – An Overview
Chronic back pain or recurrent back pain is the type of back pain that persists for several weeks or months. The pain may vary in intensity, ranging from low and intermittent to high, based on the condition’s cause. Your spine is a complex structure of muscles, bones, disks, tendons, and ligaments that should work in coordination to support the movement of your body.
Any damage or injury to these elements will result in severe pain. While various factors can cause back pain, the underlying reason remains unclear in certain cases. Chronic back pain usually occurs in the lower back and then will spread across the wide area, moving through the middle back.
Common Causes of Chronic Back Pain
Your lumbar spine must work throughout the day. It plays a vital role in supporting the weight of your body and is responsible for regular movements like bending and twisting. Amidst such circumstances, it is susceptible to injury and wear and tear.
Most people think muscle spasms and injury are the most common cause of chronic back pain. However, the spine is also vulnerable, like other parts of your body, to potential problems like infection.
Let us explore the 5 most common causes of chronic back pain here.
- Disc Degeneration
The discs between the vertebrae support your spinal movement and maintain stability. However, when people get older, this disc will naturally degenerate. It will eventually increase the risk of conditions that cause chronic back pain, such as degenerative disc disease and herniated discs.
- Degenerative Disc Disease
The discs in your spinal cord dehydrate over time. This will wear out the discs and collapse the entire structure, resulting in chronic back pain. This change also causes compressor nerves, instability, and the formation of bone spurs.
- Herniated Disc
Wear and tear damage the exterior region of the discs, making the inner jelly-like element bulge out. The area will get ruptured and become stable and unstable, resulting in a herniated disc. Bulging discs cause back pain, and the tingling sensation will spread down the legs and feet. For instance, sciatica is the common cause of severe leg pain due to the pinched spinal nerve.
Chronic back pain from disc degeneration will resolve over time with optimal rest and activity modifications. However, if you experience pain for more than six weeks, or numbing in other areas of your body, seek medical help immediately.
- Poor Posture or Improper Mechanics
Improper posture or mechanics while sitting or standing for a long time can result in both acute and chronic back pain. Such bad posture will exert excess pressure on the spinal, which will strain the soft tissues surrounding the vertebrae. Over time, the pressure will deplete the structural component of your lumbar spine. Moreover, sitting for a long time without stretching or engaging in heavy-lifting activities will affect and weaken the hip muscles.
However, making small changes in your posture will help you keep your spine straight and prevent chronic back pain. Besides, practicing body mechanics like avoiding twisting or bending and lifting your knees will reduce the risk of injury.
- Muscle Deconditioning
In most cases, the primary cause of chronic back pain is prolonged movement or activities of back muscles. Muscle deconditioning or atrophy happens when the muscles in the spine are not stable or strong enough to support your movement properly. Over time, the wear and tear from the condition will lead to severe complications, including recurring back pina.
As the condition reduces the strength and enduration of the back muscles, they have to function harder to perform daily activities like supporting the upper body weight and stabilizing the lumbar spine. Though atrophy is a part of the aging process, it also happens because of a lack of physical activity, exacerbating the symptoms. Hence it is important to exercise regularly to increase the flexibility of the muscles, ensuring adequate and proper support.
- Spinal Stenosis
Spinal stenosis happens when the spinal canal in the lower back gets constricted, applying pressure on the surrounding nerve roots. When the nerve roots are compressed, it will result in severe back pain and lead to sciatica, radiating the pain and shooting throughout the legs.
Without appropriate treatment, this type of condition will trigger the inflammation in between the facet joints The condition happens due to the following reasons.
- Thickened ligaments
- Degenerative disc disease in the lumbar disk or joint
- Herniated discs
- Bone spurs
- Slipped vertebrae.
Your spine has a natural curvature, which forms the S shape from the side view. If the lumbar vertebra moves forward over the vertebra in the below region, it will create an excess compressive force on the lumbar disk.
The lumbar disk separates these two vertebrae, which will induce chronic back pain when it deteriorates. In addition, when the lumbar disc flattens from the external force, resulting in nerve compression and sciatica.
For instance, one of the common types of spondylolisthesis is isthmic spondylolisthesis due to a fracture in the pars inter-articular. It is a small piece of bone adjacent to the facet joint. It typically happens in individuals when they are young, while the effect will be noticed later in their life.
Chronic back pain affects most individuals, resulting in disability when left untreated for over three months. During the course, the pain may suddenly appear and resolve or become a constant problem that impacts your routine life activities.
Therefore, if the pain doesn’t improve with self-care and worsens over time, seeking professional help is suggested. The healthcare professional will provide appropriate treatment options to alleviate your pain and allow you to participate in activities you enjoy. Fortunately, with Nortex Spine and Joint Institute, you can overcome chronic back pain effectively and pave a path for better health. Our team of exceptional professionals create a personalized treatment with advanced technology to ease your pain and restore your mobility, allowing you to get back on your feet.