Practically everyone suffers from back pain at some point in their life. According to the Mayo Clinic, USA, roughly 80% of all Americans will experience low back pain at least once in their lives. Back pain is a common reason people visit the doctor and are absent from work.
Statistics from the National Health Service or NHS, UK show that back pain is the largest cause of work-related absence in the United Kingdom. Even though back pain can cause extreme discomfort and mobility issues, it is generally not that serious. Back pain can affect people of all ages, although, it is more common among adults between the ages of 35 and 55 years. Some experts believe that back pain is associated with the way our ligaments, muscles and bones in our backs cooperate together.
For instance, lower back pain may be associated with the discs in between the vertebrae, the bony lumbar spine region, spinal cord and nerves, abdomen and pelvic internal organs, discs between the vertebrae, the skin around the lumbar area and the ligaments around the spine and the discs. Pain situated in the upper back area may be due to spine inflammation, chest tumors and aorta disorders.
What are the risk factors for back pain?
A risk factor refers to something that increases the likelihood of developing a disease or a condition. For example, people who are morbidly obese are at a higher risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes, which makes obesity a risk factor for Type 2 Diabetes.
The following risk factors are linked to a higher risk of developing low back pain: Anxiety; Smoking; A mentally stressful job; A sedentary lifestyle; Depression; Gender, back pain is more common among females than males; Age, older adults are more susceptible than children or young adults; Pregnancy, pregnant women are much more likely to experience back pain; Strenuous physical work; Overweight; obesity, and Strenuous physical exercise, particularly if lifting improperly.
What are the signs and symptoms of back pain?
A symptom is something that the patient reports and feels, whereas a sign is something other people, such as a doctor detect. For instance, a rash may be a sign and pain may be a symptom.
Back pain is the main symptom, as the name suggests and refers to an ache or a pain any place on the back. At times, these symptoms can go all the way down the legs and the buttocks. In the majority of cases, symptoms and signs clear up within a short period of time on their own.
It is important to see your doctor if any of the following symptoms or signs accompany your back pain: Pain down the legs; Swelling; Inflammation on the back; Elevated body temperature or fever; Persistent back pain that does not feel better with resting or lying down; Difficulty urinating; A recent trauma, injury or blow to the back; Urinary incontinence as in you pee unintentionally, even in tiny amounts; Numbness around the anus, genitals or around the buttocks or pain below the knees.