Back pain is unfortunately common, and it can be caused by a wide range of things. Eight out of ten people will have pain in their backs at some point in their lives, and unless it’s the type that goes away quickly, when it happens to you you’ll want to figure its source out fast so that you can make it go away!
In some cases, lower back pain comes from medical issues like kidney stones or endometriosis, but in many other instances, it’s a result of some kind of injury or degeneration that’s affecting the back’s internal structures. The best way to identify your source of pain is to start by understanding the structures of the back and what the different symptoms you’re feeling might mean.
The Structure of Your Back
The back is a column of bones called vertebrae that protect the spinal cord from which all of the body’s nerves arise. Between each pair of vertebrae there is a cushion called a disc which absorbs the impact of walking, running, and other activities throughout every aspect of your life. The vertebrae attach to each other and to other bones through ligaments, and there are muscles and tendons that attach those muscles to your bones. The complexity of the structure is what makes it so strong and flexible, but it’s also why pain can come from so many different sources.
Types of Back Pain and What Could Be Causing It
Some pain comes from injury and some comes from aging, but some comes from letting yourself fall into the bad habit of slouching. Poor posture can lead to dull persistent pain in your back, and the best thing to do about it is to educate yourself about the stress your back is under and take steps to correct it. Start by taking a close look at your workstation to make sure that your spine is supported, your head is held high with eyes looking straight ahead and your elbows and arms properly supported. Pay attention to how you’re carrying yourself, keeping your shoulders back.
Sharp pain in your back that seemingly comes from out of nowhere is generally a matter of muscle soreness that comes from overexertion. Though it may feel like something serious, it usually resolves in a few days as the muscle fibers heal. Your best bet is to ease in to exercise and avoid strenuous work like gardening or heavy lifting that may be beyond your ability.
If the sharp pain in your back is also involving your legs or your arms, it might mean that pressure is being put on your nerves because one of the spinal discs between your vertebrae ruptured and the soft center is being pushed against it. The sensation in your arms or legs may range from pain to numbness, tingling or weakness, and if it extends to only one hip or leg, it may be what is known as sciatica.
If you think your pain is caused by your posture or you know that you overdid it at the gym, then try addressing it by standing up straight or taking some over the counter painkillers. But if you suspect that there’s something structural going on, you need to make an appointment to see a spine specialist in New Jersey. Contact our office today to set up a consultation.