Understanding Back Pain

Most people experience back pain at some point in their lives. In fact, it’s one of the most common problems your doctor sees. Back pain happens more frequently as we age, although lower back pain can start between ages 30 to 40.

What are the symptoms of back pain?

The symptoms of back pain can be all-too-familiar and range from:

  • Dull pain
  • Constant aching
  • Sudden sharp pain when moving
  • Stiffness
  • Tension

What are the causes of back pain?

Most cases of back pain do not have a serious cause, but are minor injuries of the muscles or ligaments of the back. Back pain may occur immediately, such as a twist or a sports injury, or may develop gradually with poor sitting or standing posture.

Triggers of back pain include:

  • sitting or driving for long periods in a hunched position
  • holding a standing or bending position for extended periods
  • lifting, bending, twisting, pulling or pushing incorrectly
  • sudden stretching or twisting of the back, such as a fall or sport injury
  • overuse of the muscles by repetitive movements or exercise

When should I see my doctor?

Most back pain improves without medical attention, but you should see your doctor if you have noticed any one of the following:

  • your back pain is severe
  • your back pain is not improving within 3 days
  • your back pain persists for more than a few weeks
  • you have other symptoms that concern you

Lifestyle tips for back pain

  • Staying fit is one of the most important things you can do to prevent future back pain, as strengthening weak muscles will help support your back
  • Together with exercise, eating a healthy diet can help avoid excess body weight and stress on your back
  • Practice good posture to prevent hunching or slouching. Stretch regularly.
  • Avoid heavy lifting or if you have to lift something heavy, keep your back straight and bend your knees

Always consult with your doctor before starting a new exercise regimen or routine.

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