Lower and upper back pain can be triggered by a variety of things and doesn’t just occur in older adults. Even healthy young adults and teens can have back pain, especially if they play sports or work in manual labor.
National Falls Prevention Awareness Day is on September 23rd, 2019, and it’s a great time to learn more about the common causes of back pain. Being aware of the causes can help you protect yourself and know when to seek professional chiropractic help.
1. Common Falls
Slipping and falling on concrete, tile, or wood surfaces is common, especially in the winter months. Homeowners may do their best to keep surfaces well-maintained and put salt down in the winter, but in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, falls can happen anytime. For older adults, slipping and falling in the bathroom is especially common.
Rainy days can be treacherous for adults of all ages. Take extra care when moving around a parking lot or someone else’s house, since you may not know the slippery areas to take careful in. Also, take care in your workplace, especially if you work in a warehouse or another building with large patches of concrete.
2. Bad Posture
Slouching and spending too much time at a desk can have serious effects on your back in the long run. Your lower back muscles aren’t designed to support having your hips and spine in a sitting position all day, every day. Even an ergonomic office chair can only do so much to keep you pain-free.
3. Car Accidents
The impact of a car accident can cause long-term damage to your spine, even if you’re wearing a seat belt and your car has airbags. Any sudden stopping motion can cause your spine and other joints to compress and bend in ways that they’re not used to. Whiplash is the most well-known type of car accident injury, but injuries can occur in your lower back and hips as well.
4. Lifting Heavy Objects
Even if you’re relatively fit, trying to lift an object over 50 lbs. can cause muscle sprains or other injuries. Arms, shoulders, and upper back muscles may feel sore after lifting and carrying heavy objects for even short distances. You may think that you can tough it out, but a mild injury can quickly become severe if compounded by general wear and tear, addition sprains, or underlying undiagnosed conditions.
Lifting heavy objects causes injuries to the lower back as much as it does to the upper back. To prevent these injuries, remember to use your knees as much as possible when lifting.
5. Sprains and Strains
If your lower back muscle pain suddenly starts while hiking, climbing stairs, or even getting out of the car, it’s possible it was caused by a mild sprain or strain. While these injuries are common and can clear up on their own, they can also get worse when left untreated. It’s also common for patients to assume that their back pain is just a mild sprain when it’s actually the start of a more serious problem, so always consult a chiropractor when this kind of pain occurs.
6. Herniated Discs
When the soft tissue in your spine is damaged, it can get pushed out, causing a herniated disc. Even if you avoid accidents, wear and tear on your back can result in herniated or slipped discs as you get older. Sometimes a disc finally herniates after a sprain or strain but wear and tear over time weakens the disc and makes it vulnerable in the first place.
Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve, which runs between the lower back and each leg, is pinched or otherwise damaged. This type of injury usually results in pain in the lower back, hip, and leg. It often only results in pain in one leg and can cause tingly sensations or numbness in that leg as well.
The pinching or pressure on the sciatic nerve can be caused by a variety of injuries or long-term damage from poor posture. It also can be caused by pregnancy, so pregnant women, in particular, should watch out for symptoms.