One of the most common reasons people visit their doctors is for back pain that could either be chronic or be resolved in a few days or even weeks. Unfortunately, over three million people suffer from back pain every year. If you’re struggling with this affliction, you should know that you can do stretches for back pain that could ease the pressure you may be feeling.
In the meantime, check out the most common reasons why your back is aching, common causes of back pain, and what factors put you most at risk of developing this condition.
How Common is Back Pain?
Back pain can affect 8 out of 10 people at some point in their lives, making it one of the most common medical problems. It can happen to anyone at any age, even young children! Back pain is also the single leading cause of disability worldwide.
You might be wondering why exactly it’s so common and if there is anything you can do about it. This is because there are several types of back pain and multiple factors that can contribute to it. Cumulative wear and tear is inevitable, and bad habits can make your back pain even worse.
You can work to treat or even prevent your back pain from occurring. Something as simple as correcting your posture and being more active can make a difference when it comes to an aching back. If any of these don’t help, or if you’re experiencing weakness, numbness, tumors, or infections, you might require surgery. This is usually for rare or extreme cases.
Types of Back Pain
You may have heard all the different ways to describe back pain – sharp, dull, shooting, stabbing. The kind of pain you experience can all depend on where it’s occurring and the cause of the pain. It can also vary from person to person. Below are some of the main classifications of back pain. Knowing this can help your healthcare provider come up with the most accurate and effective diagnoses and treatment.
- Axial pain – sharp, dull, or throbbing; confined to one spot or region
- Referred pain – dull and achy; moves around and varies in intensity
- Radicular pain – electric shock or searing; caused by inflammation or compression of a spinal root
Top Reasons for an Aching Back
Back pain can occur for many different reasons. It can even be hereditary. Sometimes, knowing the exact reason behind your back pain can help you come up with the best solution for treating it. Are you wondering what could be causing that discomfort you’re facing? Below are some of the common reasons you may be experiencing an aching back.
Not only does slouching make you look bad, but it’s also one of the reasons behind your aching back. When you’re hunched over for prolonged periods, your back, core, and abdominal muscles will become strained. The blood supply becomes reduced, and your lower back and core will slowly become weaker. For this reason, try to visualize yourself with a string that’s holding your body up by the head. Better yet, imagine yourself standing with your shoulders back and your back against the wall.
People who are constantly seen working on their desks with their shoulders hunched forward, keeping their eyes glued on their computer screens are usually the ones who suffer from back problems. In case you’re not aware, prolonged sitting puts pressure on your spine which, will eventually lead to lower back pain. It’s best to make it a point to take mini breaks at least once per hour to get up and walk around.
You should never underestimate the impact that stress can have on your body. Did you know that stress can tense up your neck muscles? When this happens, the tension can trigger pain throughout your entire back. Finding ways to reduce stress can significantly help with any back pain you may be experiencing.
Weak Pelvic Muscles
Your pelvis plays a big part in helping to stabilize your lower back and core muscles. When it becomes too weak, your back will overcompensate for those muscles in order to maintain your balance. This could be the reason behind your backaches and pains. You’ll want to work your pelvic floor muscles so they can be strong enough to support your back. Good moves to perform are Kegel exercises, squats, and bridges.
Most people associate arthritis with painful or stiff hips, knees, and fingers. Although the disease mainly affects those areas, it can also attack the spine. Spondyloarthropathies, or spinal arthritis, isn’t the only thing that can cause pain in your back. Several kinds of the disease can cause wear and tear in the joints of your spine, which can lead to pain.
Backaches are a regular thing when a woman is pregnant, and it’s most common in the early stages. The joints in your lower back and pelvis become strained when your ligaments get softer and stretch to prepare for labor and delivery. The extra weight from your growing belly doesn’t help, either! Incorporating some physical activity in your day could help strengthen your back and reduce pain during your pregnancy.
Scoliosis is a spinal condition that causes your spine to curve or twist to the side. It affects your posture and puts strain on your back muscles, resulting in pain and discomfort. Treating your scoliosis is one of the best ways to get rid of your pain, but medication and chiropractic care are other options to provide temporary relief.
Risk Factors for Back Pain
Although back pain can happen to anyone, certain factors put you more at risk of developing it. Fortunately, there are some lifestyle changes you can begin implementing to reduce your chances of dealing with an aching back. Below are some of the factors that can increase your chances of having back problems and what you can do to reduce those chances.
As we get older, back pain can become more common. It’s just normal wear and tear that occurs when we use our backs every day. The discs between your vertebrae also wear away and shrink as we age, which is another factor that causes aches. Typically, those in their 30s or 40s start experiencing back pain but practicing healthy habits can help you age better and prevent it from occurring.
Carrying excess weight can put more strain on your lower back muscles. As a result, they can become weaker and result in an irregular spine curvature. Being overweight or obese can also slow your metabolism down, which can cause something called systemic inflammation. Simply shedding off the extra weight can help with your back pain.
Lack of Exercise
When you aren’t in shape, it can cause your abdominal and back muscles to become weak. Weaker muscles can’t properly support your spine, and that can lead to back pain. Not only does living a sedentary lifestyle cause back pain, but it could also increase other causes of mortality. Doing more physical activity and reducing how often you’re sedentary can help with your back pain and your overall health.
If you work at a job that requires heavy lifting and twisting, you’re at a greater risk of injuring or hurting your back. The repetitive movements can result in your muscles becoming overused. Some of these professions include construction workers, dentists, surgeons, and nurses. Although changing your career might not be an option, you can take extra steps to prevent neck and back injuries. For example, wear a back brace or use proper lifting techniques.
Many studies have shown that smoking cigarettes can be linked to back pain. Smoking itself isn’t the result of your back pain, but rather the consequences that come from it can cause an aching back. Coughing from heavy smoking can be a reason for back pain. Smoking can also increase your risk of developing osteoporosis since it reduces calcium absorption and prevents new bones from growing.
Those with certain diseases such as osteoarthritis and some types of cancers can have a higher risk of developing lower back pain. Illnesses and diseases that cause you to cough a lot can put extra pressure on your back and cause pain. Some conditions can even lead to an infection in the spinal disc bones, leading to a slow degeneration.
Some Psychological Conditions
When you have psychological conditions such as anxiety or depression, you will have a higher chance of developing back pain. Since your body is constantly tensed during those stressful moments, it can eventually lead to some back pain. Sometimes feeling fearful and stressed about what’s causing your back pain can actually make it worse!
Best Stretches and Exercises to Ease Back Pain
Many experts recommend certain stretches and exercises that target your back if you’re experiencing any pain. Although you may be capable of performing these moves on your own, doing them with a professional stretching coach will ensure you get a deeper stretch and more benefits. That’s one of the best ways to get rid of your back pain quicker! Below are some moves you should know about if you’re suffering from an aching back.
The child’s pose is a great move to ease back pain, as it gently stretches the small muscles that connect your vertebral bodies. It can also allow your nerves to breathe by stretching out the space between the bones. Many health professionals recommend the child pose for individuals dealing with lower back pain.
You might be wondering why stretching your hamstrings can help with back pain. Tight hamstrings is the number one contributor to lower back pain, so it’s important to keep them flexible by stretching them. Tight hamstrings will pull on your pelvis, causing your lower back to round when you bend over. Over time, this will put a lot of tension in the lower back muscles and lead to straining.
Bent Knee Cross-Body Stretch
You want to have strong core muscles to have a healthy back, and the bent knee cross-body stretch can help with that. This move stretches and strengthens the lower back muscles, obliques, and the sacroiliac joint.
Seated Forward Fold
The seated forward fold is a good hip opener. It’s perfect for those who suffer from lower back pain due to tight hamstrings. Another excellent benefit of the seated forward fold is that it’s considered a calming pose, as it can also relieve stress and improve your mood.
This move stretches the core muscles, rectus abdominis, and obliques. It’s important to keep those muscles in good shape since they are responsible for the health of your lower back. If you have a herniated disc, the cobra pose is perfect because it takes the pressure off the disc.
Fast Facts About Back Pain
Are you interested in learning more about back pain? The more you understand, the easier it’ll be to treat your condition! Below are some more interesting facts and statistics about back pain that might surprise you.
- It costs just over $2,000 per year for the average person suffering from back pain to get treatment
- Only 10% of doctors can tie back pain with a firm diagnosis
- The most common cases of low back pain are non-organic
- Your spine is strong enough to withstand various strenuous activities
- Back pain is the result of over 264 million lost workdays in a year
- Back pain is the cause of limitations at work for 60% of people
- Only a small percentage of sufferers will develop chronic or disabling back pain
- You don’t need to be on bedrest or rush to get surgery if you have back pain
- Sleeping on a medium-firm mattress can minimize any curve in your spine
Try Stretches for Back Pain at Stretch Zone!
Back pain is a drag! Thanks to the stretch practitioners at Stretch Zone, there can be hope. Each facility has professionals who are trained to help you perform the best assisted stretches for back pain. Are you ready to get started and finally kiss your aching back goodbye? Book your FREE 30-minute stretch today!