At least 80% of people will experience lower back pain at some stage of their life and it is the most common cause for time off work and for people seeing a doctor or physiotherapist. However, it is something that can be avoided with understanding and overcome with knowledge, back care strategies and specific back exercises.
Some common back related problems:
- Back Muscle Strains – back muscle injuries are the most common form of back injury. Muscle weakness/tiredness, lifting excessive weights or poor lifting techniques can all lead to injury from poor joint stabilisation within the back.
- Ligament Sprains – ligaments attach bone to bone and control the amount of movement available at each spinal level. If ligaments are stretched too far or too quickly they could tear which results in swelling, muscular spasm and pain of the surrounding area. This could be caused by awkward lifting, sports injuries and road traffic incidents.
- Bulging disc – a common injury to the spine’s intervertebral disc. The discs act as shock-absorbers separating the bony vertebral bodies, while allowing movement at each spinal level and enough room for the spinal nerves to exit from the spinal canal. A disc bulge can potentially press against or irritate the nerve where it exits from the spine. This nerve pinch can cause back pain, spasms, cramping, numbness, pins and needles, or pain into your legs. The three main causes for a disc bulge include ongoing micro trauma, sudden unexpected load and genetics.
- Sciatica – can cause lower back pain, as well as affecting the buttock, leg, calf and foot. Symptoms can vary between individuals and may be described as ‘dull, aching, burning, sharp or shooting’. Sciatica can also cause tingling, numbness or muscle weakness in the affected leg.
- Poor Posture – can place avoidable strain on your spine, for example, when sitting, standing and lifting. Over time this can cause stress on the surrounding spinal joint muscles and nerves which can lead to back pain.