Back Pain: What Are the Causes and How to Feel Better

Recent studies revealed interesting facts about the common causes of back pain and the toll it takes on the workforce.

How to Treat Chronic Back Pain

healthWere you aware of the fact that back pain is seen as one of the most prominent causes of disability worldwide? This condition prevent people from participating in many activities and from engaging in work duties.

Recent studies revealed interesting facts about the common causes of back pain and the toll it takes on the workforce.

Back pain problems: The facts

Around 50 percent of Americans complain about back pain symptoms every year. No doubt, back pain has an effect on people in every demographic, from children to senior citizens.

Employers regard this problem to be one of the main reasons why their employees do not come to work. Issues with back pain accounts for as much as 264 million lost work days in a year. That is two full work days for every full-time worker in the United States alone.

According to experts, an estimated 80 percent of Canadians have had to cope with back pain at some point in their lives.

Most instances of back pain are either non-organic or mechanical. This means it is not caused by serious conditions, like fractures, infections, arthritis, or cancer.

While many will recover from back pain, recurrence is quite common. However, for some, the condition can become disabling and chronic.

Problems to do with lower-back pain costs Americans in the region of $50 billion in health care expenses every year. That figure is estimated to rise to over $100 billion if you add in decreased productivity and wages.

Common causes of back pain

Even teens and kids can develop back pain. Although, in most cases, back pain is prevalent in people aged 30 and over.

One cause of back pain is excess weight and a lack of exercise. Little to no exercise leads to weak and unused muscles within your abdomen or back, which results in back pain. Excess weight also puts a lot of strain on your back.

Back pain can also be caused by everyday activities. When we lift heavy objects, most of us tend to use our back, which can cause back pain. Using your body the right way and minimizing sudden twists can avoid unnecessary strain on your back.

Even folks who are prone to depression and anxiety are at greater risk of back pain problems. And, surprisingly, smoking can cause back pain: Smoking reduces blood flow, preventing your body from delivering sufficient nutrient to the disks in the lower back region.

In very rare instances, cancer and arthritis may also contribute to back pain.

Tips to help alleviate back pain

One of the best ways to minimize back pain problems is to avoid slouching or excessively standing in an upright position. Posture support is advisable if you tend to struggle with this issue.

Related: The Best Mattresses for Back Pain

If you work in a place where you have to stand for long periods, then it will be in your best interest to put one foot on a footstool to take the load of your lower back. Good posture also reduces the strain on your back muscles.

Be smart when you sit down by choosing a seat that features good lower back support, and has an armrest as well as a swivel base to help maintain the normal curve of your spine. Focus on changing your position regularly, at least every 30 minutes.

Some known activities that often lead to spasms or strains include:

  • Improper lifting
  • Making any sudden or abrupt movements
  • Sneezing or coughing
  • Over stretching
  • Lifting, pulling, carrying, or pushing something
  • Sitting or standing for long periods
  • Straining your neck muscles such as using a computer or when driving
  • Sleeping on a mattress that fails to support your body or maintain a straight spine

According to scientific studies that were carried out by Medical News Today, one should take the necessary precautions by:

  • Not lifting and twisting simultaneously. This is especially important when moving heavy items, such as  furniture. If lifting something heavy is unavoidable, ask someone else to help you, lift with your knees, and be sure to look straight ahead to ensure your back is in line with your spine.
  • When you move heavy objects, it is suggested you push it across the floor, instead of pulling it. This ensures you're using your legs for the task, rather than straining your back.
  • Ensure your car's side mirrors are in the right position and that the pedals are well within reach and squarely in front of you. When embarking on a longer trip, stop for regular breaks to get out and walk around before you continue your journey.
  • When you shop for a mattress, choose one that will keep your spine straight and support the weight of your buttocks and shoulders. Also, research the best pillows for head support and place one between your knees to help keep your spine aligned.

Resources—Mayo ClinicMedical News TodayCFPC