Back pain can be a dull muscle ache in the lower back or a severe, sharp pain that affects your ability to bend, walk or stand up straight. Most often it results from strained muscles and ligaments that surround the spine, but it can also be caused by structural problems with the bones of the spine.
When you ignore it and the underlying condition isn’t treated, it will most likely get worse.
- Pain that won’t go away
- Severe back pain that extends beyond the back
- Numbness or tingling in the legs and back
- Pain after an accident
- Pain that is worse at certain times e.g. when lying down, standing or walking etc.
Although anyone can have back pain, but there are a number of factors increase your risk. They include:
Discs begin to gradually deteriorate from the age of 30. With age, the discs lose moisture and start to shrink. This puts more stress on the facet joints, which become arthritic.
2. Family history
Your genes can make you more susceptible to environmental factors that may trigger back pain. Some causes, including disc disease, may have a genetic component.
Being overweight puts stress on joints, particularly your knees, hips and spine. Obese people therefore have a higher risk of developing back pain. A large belly pulls the spine forward and out of alignment, increasing the risk of back strain.
4. Fitness level
If you are not physically active or at least doing some regular exercises, you are more likely to suffer from back pain. Weak back and abdominal muscles may not properly support the spine.
You may also experience back pain if you take part in strenuous physical activities after being inactive for a long time e.g. participating in a marathon without prior preparation.
5. Medical history
Many diseases can cause or contribute to back pain for example cancers elsewhere in the body that may spread to the spine.
A previous injury sustained from sporting activities, accidental fall or a road accident etc. in your youth, is likely to eventually develop to chronic back pain as you grow older.
6. Occupational hazards
Having a job that requires heavy lifting, pushing, or pulling, particularly when this involves twisting or vibrating the spine, can lead to injury and back pain. An inactive job or a desk job may also lead to or contribute to pain, especially if you have poor posture or sit all day in an uncomfortable chair.
If you are a cigarette smoker, it accelerates degeneration of your lower spine. Nicotine restricts blood flow to vertebrae and disks, so they may age and break down more quickly. Smoking may also interfere with the body’s ability to absorb and use calcium, leading to osteoporosis-related bone and back problems.
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