Back pain can be caused by a number of illnesses and injuries to bones or muscles. It can occur after major trauma, such as falling or pulling a muscle. In some situations, what starts off as a small back pain can increase over a short or long period of time to become more significant. Back pain can start with a muscle issue, arthritis, osteoporosis, or even illnesses like Scoliosis, disk irregularities, or skeletal diseases.
Symptoms of back pain include sharp pains, muscle aches, stiffness, limited range of motion, or difficulty moving. Some people with back pain also have pain in their buttocks and legs, which can sometimes intensify as the back pain does. Back pain can lead to difficulty sleeping, or even insomnia, weakness, and loss of the ability to exercise. This commonly causes people with back pain to gain weight, often leading to increased pain.
There are many causes of back pain outside of muscle or bone injury from trauma. A type of arthritis affecting the spine, Ankylosing spondylitis, causes stiffness and pain from a patient’s neck all the way to the lower back. This particular illness, and the associated pain, are caused by vertebrae fusing together, making the spine rigid and leading to poor posture and major discomfort. Sciatica affects the sciatic nerve, which goes from the lower back to the back of the legs, and causes patients to experience pain in the lower back, hips, and the back of the legs. People with sciatica also experience weakness, burning, tingling, or numbness of the legs. They also tend to have difficulty and pain while trying to stand up and similar pain when sitting down. Sciatica is caused by irritation of the lower back (lower lumbar). It can be caused by a narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower lumbar, called lumbar spinal stenosis. It can also be caused by diseases like degenerative disk disease, which breaks down the spine’s protective disks, as well as muscle spasms, spondylolisthesis, or pregnancy.
Back pain can lead to major discomfort and can be exacerbated by weight gain. However, many patients with back pain tend to gain weight as a result of the loss of the ability to exercise and difficulty sleeping or sleep deprivation. Back pain can also worsen as a result of common problems with a person’s environment, particularly when it comes to the ergonomics of chairs and desks as well as poor mattress quality. When back pain is more than temporary or isolated, people should seek medical attention to resolve the issue.
There are many types of treatment for back pain, from medication to physical therapy. People who are experiencing moderate to severe back pain should see a doctor immediately to avoid the possibility of the problem worsening without medical intervention. Some people can simply take over the counter pain medication to reduce less severe back pain caused by a minor injury or overuse (commonly from exercise). Medical professionals can work with patients to create an individualized management plan.