Eight out of ten people experience back pain at some point in their lives, making it one of the most common medical problems. For many people, the reason for their back pain might be an obvious cause, such as a traumatic accident, heavy lifting, improper exercise routines or pregnancy. However, there are thousands of people who seem to be unable to explain why they have an aching back.
Symptoms of Back Pain
The symptoms of back pain vary depending on what part of the body is injured. Some people who experience back pain feel throbbing, while others feel a stabbing sensation or even experience spasms. In some cases, pain can radiate from one area to another. Tingling, burning and weakness in your legs and feet are also common signs of back pain. Being able to describe your back pain may help you in determining how the problem developed in the first place.
The Mystery Behind your Pain
Doctors say figuring out back pain can sometimes be a pain in itself. Agonizing back pain can force you to visit a physician, but may be a simpler way to find the cause of your back aches. Try going through a mental check-list to see if you can figure out what the problem might be.
If you are experiencing pain anywhere from your mid to lower back, think about your mattress. The National Sleep Foundation stipulates that we should all be changing our mattresses at least every ten years. We spend about one-third of our lives sleeping so it should come as no surprise that people have back pain when they are spending night after night on an old, worn down mattress.
Once you wake in the morning and head off to school or work, consider what you are carrying with you. Is your backpack or bag loaded down with books, files, or other items? A 2006 study conducted by the University of Southern California showed that school aged children who had the use of lockers to store their bulky books and who had lighter backpacks had fewer back problems than those who were forced to lug around their heavy bags.
It isn’t just what you carry that can impact your back, but what you wear. All of us have heard about how high heels can damage feet and cause back pain. Now doctors are warning women that flats can lead to back pain too. The reason is that most flats are made of thin material that doesn’t provide a lot of support for our natural arch. Due to complaints from women, some shoe manufacturers are now starting to make orthopedic flats that support the foot, almost like a tennis shoes does.
If you have made it to the office and still can’t figure out what is causing your pain, reflect upon your chair. Sitting puts a lot of pressure on our spine, and if we don’t have good posture our back muscles will start to weaken eventually causing pain and aches.
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How the Mind Leads to Back Pain
Perhaps you have heard that studies have linked stress to ailments such as heart disease and cancer, but are you aware that there is a link to back pain as well? When we are stressed, we tend to contract and clench the muscles in our neck and back. The longer we stress, the tighter the muscles become and the more pain we experience.
The Weight Factor
As mentioned above, sitting at a desk can cause back pain. Sitting for long periods of time at work or at home; in other words, having a sedentary lifestyle can also cause back problems. The less active we are, the more likely we are to gain weight. Weight gain puts a lot of pressure on our backs. It causes our pelvis to pull forward creating most of the strain on the lower back. Exercising will assist in building muscle tone, helping to support the back. Without exercise, muscles get weaker and sometimes spinal discs can degenerate, causing discomfort and pain.
There are many factors that can determine whether or not we feel stiffness and pain in our back. The good news is that in a lot of cases, we have full control over whether we have a strong, well functioning back or a weak sore one. Paying close attention to our daily habits is a good way to ward off back pain that could otherwise slow us down.