A Modern Epidemic

January 22, 2008

Our modern lifestyle has many benefits but has also brought more stress to our daily routines. As a result, back problems have become an epidemic in recent times.

More Stress And Too Little Exercise

Most of us do not exercise on a daily basis, and few of us fully relax even when we are not on the move. We may be sitting at a desk or in a car, but the stress within us keeps our muscles in a state of tension.

When we do exercise, too often it is without proper preparation.

We go out with great enthusiasm and often literally “break our backs” playing weekend athlete or gardener, or trying to “keep up” in an exercise class. We expect a lot of our spines without giving them the daily attention they need to remain strong and flexible.

Common Causes Of Low Back Pain

The most common causes of low back pain are related to a condition that we can do something about.

Posture And Poor Alignment

We often hold ourselves in postures that make movement difficult and unnatural, and predispose us to lower back pain. Any posture that compromises the natural curvature and muscular balance of the spine places strain and tension on the supporting muscles and ligaments, weakening them. Without proper support, the joints of the vertebrae are forced to carry weight they are not meant to carry. This leads to premature spinal degeneration and pain.

Overexertion

We tend to ignore the subtle signs our backs give us to let up on our activity or change our position. In spite of a twinge here or a little spasm there, we continue to move furniture around or sit at the computer for another three hours until we strain a muscle or squeeze a disc. Then the pain puts us flat on our backs.

Traumatic Back Injuries

Automobiles, industrial accidents and active sports cause most traumatic back injuries.

Degenerative Wear and Tear

Although the spine undergoes a natural aging process, inappropriate alignment and use of the spine can speed up that process.

Arthritis, osteophytes (bony growths around the vertebral bodies and facet joints), osteoporosis, disc aging and facet joint damage are some of the effects of aging that can cause low back pain.

A Bulging Or Herniated Disc

A herniated or protruding disc can cause severe back pain, but only a small percentage of back pain can be attributed to this condition. Pain usually accompanies a herniated disc only if the escaped disc material is bothering a nerve.

Structural Abnormalities

Occasionally low back pain is caused by a predisposing condition such as scoliosis, spina bifida or spondylolisthesis. These abnormalities can be diagnosed by X-Ray.

Emotional Stress And Muscular Tension

Stress causes muscles to contract. Chronically contracted muscles stop the circulation of blood and oxygen, resulting in pain and atrophy in the muscle.

Whatever the cause, low back pain can be debilitating. Taking good care of our spines and seeking proper treatment when pain does occur will keep low back pain at bay.

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