Question:

What can cause back pain?

Lower Back Pain - a Very Common Ailment

Your spine is an intricate and fascinating piece of machinery. Imagine balancing a wavering stack of bricks on a moving platform, with a jelly donut sandwiched between each pair of bricks. Add to that picture a series of delicate tubes coming out of each donut that will be squeezed too tight if the bricks or donuts press on them too hard. This image is very similar to how the vertebrae, disks, and nerves in your back funciton togther.

If something somewhere in that delicate system goes awry, back pain can result. Structures that may be the cause of back pain include:

  • Bones or vertebrae - They can be misaligned, turned, tilted, or cracked, causing mechanical difficulties or pain with movement.
  • Discs - These are the cushions between each pair of vertebrae. Nerve irritation can be caused by their compression, bulging, or complete rupture.
  • Nerves - There is a pair on either side of each segment of the spine. If one becomes pinched, overstretched or irritated, the area it innervates may become numb, painful, or weak.
  • Ligaments - These hold two bones together and can be stretched or torn with forceful movement.
  • Muscles - While the back muscles are quite powerful, they are also susceptible to strain or excessive tightness and may lose their effectiveness at supporting the body properly or maintaining healthy posture.

Back pain is a very common ailment, and symptoms vary from minor and annoying to extremely serious. The tough part is determining the cause, then managing or treating the situation in order to achieve back pain relief.

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