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Common Types of Back Injuries

Anyone can develop back pain even children and teenagers. Yet no matter what your age may be, it can change your quality of life. The spine is a complicated structure made up of many different tissues all which can cause back pain. The spine has a large nerve which passes through it extending into the arms and legs.  This nerve can produce a feeling of pain in other areas of your body, besides your back. There are no clear cut reasons why you are suffering from back pain, yet there are some risk factors that may contribute to it.

Common conditions which can cause back pain are:

  • Muscle or ligament strain– Heavy lifting or a sudden jerky motion to your back can strain your back muscles and spinal ligaments. Most often people with muscle strain feel the pain mostly in their backs.
  • Bulging or ruptured disk-Your disks act as cushions between the individual vertebrae in your spine.  After an injury, the soft material inside a disk may bulge out or rupture and press on the spinal nerves, causing the pain.  This is a common injury often referred to as a slipped disk.  Numbness, tingling and weakness in the back and legs are often associated with this condition.
  • ArthritisOsteoarthritis can affect the lower back.  This can cause a condition called spinal stenosis which leads to a narrowing of the space around the spinal cord.  The ligaments within the spine thicken and calcify then the bones and joints become enlarged often causing bone spurs.  The enlargement of the bones and joints often puts pressure on the nerves within the spinal cord, causing pain.

Most people who have spinal stenosis complain of back pain that radiates down one or both legs.  It is most noticeable when standing or walking.

  • Skeletal irregularitiesScoliosis can cause curves in the spine, sometimes resulting in back pain.  The spine tends to curve to the side, which is abnormal and painful especially in the severe stages of the condition.
  • Osteoporosis– This is due to compression fractures to the spine due to the bones becoming porous and fragile. What is a compression fracture?
  • Compression fracture-They occur when pressure on the spine crushes the vertebral body.  Compression fractures are more common in older adult due to the softness of the spine.  Simply bending or twisting can cause a collapse of one or more spinal vertebrae. These fractures can cause back pain which can last as long as 8 to 12 weeks. There is also a loss of height after the fractures have healed.  This height can never be recovered.

 

If you are suffering from back pain, take care of yourself, and don’t add additional strain to the muscles and nerves.

  • Avoid bending forward
  • Don’t lift heavy objects
  • If you are overweight, try to lose weight slowly
  • Avoid jarring, jerky exercises
  • Maintain a good posture when sitting, don’t sit for long periods of time, get up and walk around.
  • Maintain good posture when standing, if standing for long periods, shift your weight in your legs and feet

See your doctor is the condition becomes more severe, if you have a history of cancer, osteoporosis, steroid use or drug and alcohol abuse.  Don’t suffer silently when you have back pain, the quicker you seek medical advice, the faster you will feel better.

Barbara Lucore

I have been a nurse for 15+ years and as a nurse I understand how to prevent back strain and pain. The correct ways to lift objects, the causes of back pain, treatments available, the exercises to reduce or prevent back pain and the proper ways to move without strain or injury to your back.