Understanding Your Back Pain

Chances are good that you’ve experienced back pain at one time or another–and you're not alone

Back pain is one of the most common medical issues, affecting most people at some point during their lives. It can range from a mild ache to a sudden stabbing pain. While it often goes away on its own after a few days, back pain is considered chronic if it lasts for three months or longer.

What Causes Back Pain
Back pain itself is a symptom, not a medical diagnosis. Problems that can cause back pain include the following:

  • Injury. Spine sprains or fractures can cause temporary or chronic back pain. Osteoporosis is a leading cause of fractured vertebrae. Back pain can also occur from accidents or falls.
  • Mechanical problems. Problems with the way your spine moves can also cause back pain. Spasms, muscles tension, and ruptured or herniated disks are examples of mechanical problems.
  • Conditions and diseases. Conditions and diseases like scoliosis or arthritis often cause back pain. Pregnancy, kidney stones or infections, and endometriosis can also cause back pain.
  • Infections and tumors. Although not as common as other causes of back pain, infections of the vertebrae and tumors on the back may also be the source of pain.

How to Prevent Back Pain
One of the best ways to help prevent back pain is to exercise on a regular basis. Focus on building core strength, which offers support for your back. Talk to a physical therapist or personal trainer about what exercises are right for you, and always consult your doctor before trying something new.

In addition to exercising your back, improve your posture. Sit and stand tall while you are at home or at work—slouching can put extra pressure on your back! Try not to strain your back, either. Bend with your knees or at the hips when lifting heavy objects or reaching down to tie your shoes.

Have back pain questions? Need to find a doctor? Our free Consult-A-Nurse® service is available 24 hours a day for answers to healthcare questions and physician referrals. Just call 1-888-741-5122 to speak with one of our nurses.

We are also offering a free seminar on Wednesday, June 20, 2012. Join Dr. Howard Sharf (left), Board Certified Spine Specialist, for Seek a Second Opinion Before Having Spine Surgery. This lecture will take place in the St. Petersburg General Hospital Auditorium B from 6:00 to 7:00 pm. If you are concerned that your original surgeon was too focused on surgery or did not provide alternatives, you may want a second opinion. to learn what treatment options are available. Register online or call 1-888-741-5122.

Related Posts:
Taking Care of Your Spine and Joints

How to Keep Your Bones Strong

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