Chronic back pain is one of the most common types of chronic pain worldwide, and it can affect people of all ages. Fortunately, most back pain episodes can be avoided with the proper precautions, especially in people under 60.
Understanding your chronic back pain is the first step towards resolving it. In this article, we’ll look at the effects, causes, and risk factors of chronic back pain, as well as the various ways you can prevent or treat it; from good posture to visiting a physical therapist for back pain treatment in Ferntree Gully.
Table of Contents
What Is Chronic Back Pain?
Back pain is one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor or miss work, with more than 80% of people experiencing some form of lower back pain at some point in their lives. Back pain can range in intensity from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp, or shooting pain that can radiate down a leg.
Most back pain is often categorised as acute back pain, lasting only a few days to a few weeks. Usually, it resolves itself with proper rest or physical therapy without any long-term consequences.
Chronic back pain, on the other hand, is defined as pain in your lower back that lasts for more than 12 weeks (3 months). Chronic back pain is more long-term than acute back pain (which usually lasts less than three months).
Causes For Chronic Back Pain
One of the first things to understand about back pain is that it manifests in various ways, is due to a wide range of issues, and thus affects people differently. As back pain can originate in soft tissue, bone, discs, or nerves, determining its exact cause can be tricky unless examined by a medical professional.
Of course, certain conditions increase your risk for back pain. Smokers are more likely to develop low back pain, as are those who work in jobs requiring heavy physical activity or involving vibration from vehicles or industrial machinery. Sports like cross-country skiing, as well as long-distance driving, are also factors than can cause back pain.
Back pain can also be caused by diseases such as spinal osteoarthritis or spondylitis, as well as compression fractures. These diseases are more common in the elderly. As a result, older people are more likely to suffer from back pain.
Risk Factors For Chronic Back Pain
While chronic back pain can sometimes occur for no particular reason, certain factors increase your risk of chronic back pain:
- Age – Back pain and chronic back pain usually start to become more common, beginning from the ages of 30 to 40, with the chances getting increasingly higher with age.
- Physical Health – A lack of exercise and weak, unused muscles may contribute to back pain.
- Mental Health – Stress can exacerbate muscular tension, which may lead to back pain.
- Genetics – Back pain can be hereditary; certain diseases that can cause back pain can have a genetic component.
- Occupation – Jobs that require heavy use of your lower back muscles and spine can contribute to back pain. Sitting at your desk all day can also be a cause, especially if you have poor posture or sit in a chair without proper back support.
- Smoking – Smoking causes coughing, which can lead to herniated discs. Cigarette smoking can also reduce blood flow to the spine, increasing the risk of osteoporosis.
Preventing Chronic Back Pain
There are various ways to prevent back pain from severely affecting your quality of life. Some notable ways to prevent back pain and keep your spine healthy include:
Regular exercise can help to strengthen your muscles and helps to keep your joints fluid, which can help to keep your back healthy and prevent injuries from overstraining.
Have A Healthy Diet And Weight
Being overweight can negatively affect your back muscles. A healthy diet and exercise plan can keep your weight within a healthy ideal and reduce the impact on your lower back.
Have A Good Sitting Posture
Have an ergonomic chair at home and work for better back support and to improve your posture. You should also switch sitting positions and get up to walk around periodically. If you can, keep your feet elevated when sitting for a long time to help relieve tension.
Be Mindful Of How You Sleep
Sleeping on your side with your knees up can help to reduce the curvature of your spine, which can help to relieve any excess pressure. A supportive mattress and a comfortable pillow are also essential for maintaining proper posture while you sleep.
Don’t Overexert Your Back
Try to avoid lifting heavy loads by yourself. If you do, remember to lift with your legs, not your back. Keeping your back straight and only bend at the knees.
Osteopathy And Chronic Back Pain Treatment
Osteopathy is a gentle hands-on treatment focusing on identifying and treating the root cause of your chronic back pain issues. Osteopaths use manual therapy techniques to improve blood flow, reduce muscle tension, and relax the nervous system. Osteopathic treatment can help reduce pain and stiffness and improve mobility while preventing future problems like sciatica or disc herniation.
If you’re looking for a non-invasive way to remedy your chronic back pain or as a general form of pain relief, osteopathy and physical treatments may be just the thing you need. For further information on chronic back pain and the best ways to resolve it, get in touch with your local osteopath in Ferntree Gully.