If you are looking for real back pain relief it will be very useful to know what is causing the problem. This post is a solid introduction to the major causes of back pain, written in plain English - no Medicalese!
Why Does my Back Hurt?
The spine is made up of more than 30 small bones referred to as the vertebrae, stacked one on top of the other. A disc (basically just a spongy piece of cartilage) sits between each vertebra and functions as a shock absorber, preventing the vertebrae from grinding against one another.
- As we age, those cushioning discs wear away slowly, leading to a condition known as degenerative disc disease. This is probably the most common cause of back pain.
- Sometimes discs can tear or get injured, leading to pain in your back. This is usually from a car accident, sports injury, or something like that.
- Meanwhile the muscles of your lower back are subject to a lot of mechanical strain and stress. This is in large part because the weight of your upper body is supported by those lower back muscles.
- When those muscles knot up, they can pull on the vertebrae that they are attached to, causing the vertebrae to slip out of place.
What is Sciatica?
All of the issues above can put pressure on the jelly-like center of the discs of your spine. This pressure can lead to a slipped disc (or herniated disc), which causes the centre of the disc to bulge. In some cases, the bulging of the discs presses on sensitive nerves. This leads to really bad, shooting pain.
Sciatica is what happens when a bulging disc presses on the sciatic nerve, which runs down the backs of your legs. That's why you feel shooting pain down that line.
In the meantime, it is not only the sciatic nerve that can pressed by a bulging disc. Depending on which disc is bulging you can have migraine headaches, eye pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, even digestive disorders.
If You Don't Have A Slipped Disc...
There are other conditions that cause low back pain, including the following:
Overuse injuries: These are common causes of low back pain as well as stiffness. However, pain resulting from overuse injuries lasts for a short time.
Scoliosis: This is an abnormal curvature of the spine and it can lead to back pain.
Vertebral fractures: These can be caused by trauma or osteoporosis ( Brittle bones),
Spinal stenosis: This is the shrinking of the space around your spinal cord, usually puts pressure on your nerves.
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