Back pain: Keep it simple

The American Chiropractic Association says that 50 percent of working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year. Bone and Joint Health Canada states that as much as 80 percent of people experience back pain at least once in their lifetime. Back pain can be so significant that it results in a loss of function that impedes daily activities. In fact, according to the 2015 Global Burden of Disease report, back pain is the single leading cause of disability in most countries.

Back pain can be a complex issue. According to data complied by TheGoodBody.com, only one in 10 people learns the primary cause of their pain. That’s because many things, including muscle sprains or joint irritation, can contribute to back pain. Other factors that may contribute to back pain include arthritis, stress, obesity or diseases of the internal organs. Each of these issues can make it challenging to uncover the culprit behind back pain.

Ruling out degenerative diseases can be a first step in treating back pain. Doctors also may ask their patients about their level of physical activity. Doctors may want to know if patients suffering back pain engage in activities involving repetitive movements to determine if their back pain can be traced to these activities.

Some common factors contribute to back pain, and addressing these issues may bring about relief.

∫ Strengthen core muscles. Poor muscle tone, especially in the back and abdominal muscles, may result in back pain. Engaging in activities that strengthen the core can help strengthen the area, offering more support to the back. A doctor, physical therapist or fitness instructor may guide you in exercises, such as planks or abdominal crunches, that can strengthen the core.

∫ Get up and move. A sedentary lifestyle can be a major contributor to back pain. Nearly half of Americans who experience back pain are desk workers who spend the majority of their time sitting, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Qi Spine, a clinic that gathered data from 1,300 people who said they deal with spine-related pain, found that half the participants with sedentary jobs had lower back pain. Standing, moving around and taking breaks from the desk can help alleviate pain.

∫ Lose weight. The spine is vulnerable to effects of obesity. Extra weight in the abdomen may pull the pelvis forward and strain the lower back, states the American Obesity Association. Losing weight can reduce that strain on the lower back, thereby reducing pain.

Back pain is a frequent complaint and compels many people to visit their doctors. Exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and strengthening core muscles can go a long way toward keeping the back healthy and pain-free.


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