Back pain is pain felt in the upper or lower back, and, for adults, it’s a common complaint. It affects 8 out of 10 people at some point in their lives.
Back pain can be acute or chronic. Acute back pain comes on suddenly and will last from a few days to a few weeks, while chronic back pain lasts for 3 months or longer.
Causes of Back Pain
- STRESS ON THE MUSCLES & LIGAMENTS that support the spine (a “couch potato” lifestyle, obesity and strenuous sports can increase the stress on these muscles and ligaments)
- OSTEOARTHRITIS – A condition where the surface layer of cartilage breaks down and wears away.
- SCIATICA – Inflammation or compression of the sciatic nerve in the lower back.
- OSTEOPOROSIS – A gradual weakening of bones that can lead to painful vertebral compression fractures.
- HERNIATED DISK – A ruptured disk that occurs from normal wear and tear or strain.
- FIBROMYALIGIA – A chronic syndrome that produces aches, tenderness or stiffness in the muscles and joints where tendons attach to your bones.
Symptoms of Back Pain
- Muscle aches
- Shooting or stabbing pain
- Pain that radiates down your leg
- Limited flexibility or range of motion of the back
- Inability to stand up straight
When Should I see a Back Pain Specialist?
The most common back pain is experienced in the lower back and often goes away within 4-6 weeks. However, you should see a doctor if you have severe back pain that doesn’t go away in 3 days. You should also see a doctor if your back pain is the result of an injury or if you experience any of the following:
- Numbness or tingling in your back
- Weakness, pain, or numbness in your legs
- Trouble urinating