There are many different types of back pain and many different conditions that can cause it. From a dull ache that's lasted for years, to a sudden, sharp pain that can make it difficult to move, back pain is a condition most people don't think about until it strikes.
Any strain on the back muscles can cause them to spasm, or contract involuntarily. Common causes of back spasm include heavy lifting, bending over too fast, and sleeping in an awkward position.
Trigger points are tight spots in muscles that can refer pain to other areas of the body. When pressed, trigger points in back muscles can cause pain in the neck, legs, or even feet.
Ligaments are fibrous tissues that connect bone to bone. If a ligament becomes strained in the back, it can cause pain not only in the region of the strain, but also in the legs or feet.
Osteoarthritis is a condition involving the breakdown of cartilage and bone in the body. When it occurs in the spine, it can cause pain in the back as well as the buttocks, and into the legs.
Spinal discs cushion the vertebrae, protecting them from friction, impact, and other forces. It is not uncommon to "slip a disc," which causes the disc to protrude from the spinal column and press on nerves that extend from the spinal cord and into the legs. Herniated, or "slipped" discs can cause pain, numbness, and other forms of discomfort.
This condition occurs when the space in the spinal cavity that holds the nerves and spinal cord is compressed or tightened, placing pressure on the nerves that can lead to pain in the back and/or legs. Herniated discs, injury, bone overgrowth, thickened ligaments, and tumors can all cause spinal stenosis.
When it comes to calming the aches that keep you stiff, there's no sure-fire solution. There are, however, a number of practices you can include in your daily routine to help quell the pain.
Back pain doesn't have to be a life sentence. Talk to your doctor and see how physical activity, diet, and lifestyle changes can help you feel better.
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