Sunday, August 24, 2008

Lower Back Pain - Causes and Cures by Kim Archer

About 80 percent of the population experiences back pain, frequently lower back pain, at some point in time. Since this is a problem which affects nearly everyone, it is important to know what the causes of lower back pain are. You also need to know how to control these factors to keep lower back pain to a minimum.
Causes of Lower Back Pain
As we age, we lose a lot of our body's natural muscle tone and elasticity. We also tend to lose bone strength as we age. Loss of fluid results in the discs in your spine becoming less flexible. This means that they do a less effective job of protecting the vertebrae. Simply growing older can be a cause of lower back pain.
A strain, sprain or spasm in your muscles or ligaments can result in the rupture of a spinal disc. This in turn places pressure on the nerves in your spinal cord. Our back lets us know about this with the neural signals we know as pain. So what causes your sprains, strains and spasms? Generally these are injuries which are caused by trying to lift heavy weights or overextending muscles.
Lower back pain can also be caused by diseases like osteoporosis and arthritis. Other causes include disc or joint irritation, viral infections, or spinal abnormalities.
Lower back pain can also be caused by various physical conditions. This includes smoking, being overweight, pregnancy, stress, bad posture and being in poor shape. Lower back pain and pain in the hips often appear together, increasing your discomfort. Scar tissue from previous injuries can also be a cause of lower back pain - this scar tissue buildup can even cause other, more serious injuries.
When to Worry About Lower Back Pain
You should take your lower back pain seriously if it comes along with other symptoms. Watch out for weakness in the muscles, particularly in the legs, loss of bowel or bladder control, fever or coughing. If your lower back pain is accompanied by these symptoms, contact your physician immediately. They may indicate a pinched nerve or other underlying problem. If you suffer from diabetes, your back pain might be related to neuropathy.
Avoiding Lower Back Pain
By taking good care of your back in daily life, most lower back pain can be avoided. Poor posture is often the root cause of lower back pain that never quite goes away. You can work on correcting this. Try exercises to build up strength in your lower back, stand up straight, and don't forget to use your legs to lift objects instead of your back. Be certain that you pay attention to workplace ergonomics while on the job. This will greatly impact your ability to prevent lower back pain.

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