What Is Back Pain?Back pain is a very common complaint. According to recent statistics, approximately 80% of adults in the United States will experience some form of pain in their back during their lifetime. Back pain is a common reason for missed time from work and is a leading cause of work-related disability claims.
This pain most commonly shows up as lower back pain, however many people also suffer from upper back pain and middle back pain. If you suffer from pain, know that it isn’t normal. You don’t have to suffer in silence. There are a variety of treatment options you can try to help you find back pain relief. A dedicated back pain doctor can help you review these options to find out what could work best for you.
The back is a complex structure that is comprised of muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, and intervertebral discs. Problems in any of the structures that make up the spine can result in pain. The spine is divided into four regions: cervical (neck), thoracic (upper back), lumbar (lower back), and sacral region.
Back pain can be classified as either acute or chronic in nature, depending on the duration of a patient’s symptoms. Short-lived symptoms, lasting less than three months, are classified as acute pain. Conversely, symptoms lasting longer than three months are classified as chronic back pain. The symptoms of spine pain can range from mild to severe, and can be intermittent or constant. In addition to the physical symptoms of pain, there are also psychological symptoms that are often related to back pain, including depression. The symptoms associated with back pain can be so severe for some people that their quality of life is severely and negatively affected.
Back Pain CausesThe most common causes of upper back pain, middle back pain, and lower back pain are due to strained muscles and ligaments. These can result from:
- Heavy or improper lifting
- Abrupt or awkward movements
- Poor posture
- Sitting at a desk for too long and too often
- Muscle spasms
However, there are numerous other spinal pain causes that result from structural issues in the thoracic and lumbar spine, including:
- Disc herniation: Between each vertebrae in the spine is an intervertebral disc. When the outer layer of the disc weakens, the inner layer can rupture, resulting in inflammation and irritation of surrounding spinal nerves, which can cause pain.
- Disc bulging: Similar to disc herniation, when the inner layer of the disc bulges outward, it can result in increased pressure on surrounding spinal nerves, which can cause pain.
- Sciatica: A herniated or bulging