Back pain is not usually caused by a serious health complaint and can normally be attributed to a muscular injury or lifestyle factor. It quite rare for the affliction is associated with medical conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or spinal stenosis. In this page, our muscle and joint expert Earle Logan speaks about the possible underlying causes of back pain and what can increase your risk of suffering from the condition.
Back pain is a common problem and most of us will have suffered it at some point in our lives.
Back pain usually results in stiffness and ache in the back and is experienced most commonly as lower back pain affecting the lower half of the spine, and less frequently as upper back pain which affects the neck and shoulders.
Back pain has many causes, and often it is difficult to identify the cause without information regarding when and how the pain started.
For most people the cause of back pain is rarely down to a serious underlying health problem.
Pain arises from the spine (or vertebral column), a complex structure made up of 33 individual vertebrae interconnected by intervertebral discs and other tissue structures.
As we get older, the tissues linking each vertebra become worn down by the wear and tear of movement and this is what causes back pain for many of us. This accounts for the observation that back pain occurs more frequently in the middle aged and elderly members of the population. In fact, apart from muscular injury, the degradation of the vertebral column is the most common underlying cause of back pain.
However, in less common circumstances, an underlying condition may be the cause of back pain. This may include:
fracture (a break in a spinal bone)
rheumatoid arthritis (an inflammatory condition where the immune system causes inflammation around joints
osteoporosis (a condition where bones become weak due to loss of density)
slipped disc (this is when an an intervertebral disc puts pressure spinal nerves)
Occasionally pain occurs without a known trigger. This occurs most often in the mornings when, upon waking, a person may find themselves in pain. Often this is from lying in an awkward position and it tends to resolve itself fairly quickly.
Some foods can increase inflammation and discomfort, whilst others can actually reduce it and relieve pain. Discover which foods you should eat fewer of (some might surprise you) and what you should eat more of instead, when suffering from muscle & joint pain.
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