Many people who lead an active lifestyle may find it surprising when they experience back pain. But neck and back pain is more common than you think. Approximately 50% of all working Americans admit to experiencing back pain symptoms each year.
If you’re experiencing back pain, here are some of the potential causes for your symptoms and what you can do about them.
- Muscle strain. This is the most common cause of back pain, especially among those who lead active lifestyles. Repeated heavy lifting can strain your spinal ligaments and back muscles. You can also experience muscle strain during a sudden awkward movement such as taking a turn too quickly. To reduce your risk of muscle strain, make sure you’re properly stretching and that you’re building muscle in your abdominals and back to help condition your back muscles. Physical therapists can help you learn the right techniques and exercises for your back.
- Bulging or ruptured disks. A bulging or ruptured disk happens when the soft material between your vertebrae presses on a nerve. Ruptured disks can happen gradually as in the case with age-related wear and tear. It can also be caused by a minor strain or twist. To reduce your risk of rupturing a disk, make sure that you’re using proper lifting techniques and that you’re stretching before workouts.
- Arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and can affect your lower back. It occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones and joints gradually wears down over time. If you suffer from osteoarthritis, you may experience not only back pain but also pain in your hips, knees, or hands. Osteoarthritis is primarily related to aging. Repeatedly using your joints over the years can cause damage, pain, and swelling. Make sure to properly stretch before workouts and to ice your joints after workouts.
It’s recommended to see a doctor if your back pain doesn’t improve within a few weeks. In some cases, back pain could be a sign of a serious medical problem. Consult a doctor immediately if you experience back pain following a fall or injury, if you experience a fever, or if you experience new bladder or bowel problems.
If you’re experiencing back pain that isn’t caused by an underlying medical issue, physical therapy is a great way to reduce neck and back pain and to get back into your active lifestyle. For more information, on how physical therapy exercises can help, contact your local neck and back pain doctors at B Physical Therapy today.