Are you suffering from a bad back? 4 out of 5 people in the UK experience back pain at some point in their lives and according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), back, muscle and neck aches accounts for around 31 million work sick days a year.
Back pain can vary in severity and pain type. You may have sharp, stabbing pains in one spot or more achy pain in a larger area. There are lots of different reasons why you might have a bad back, but here are the some of the most common:
- Bad posture – If you tend to slouch or hunch your back when you’re standing or sitting this can lead to lower back pain as it puts pressure on the muscles and ligaments in your back. Sitting or lying down for a long period can also cause problems.
- Lifting incorrectly – Whenever you lift something heavy it’s important that you bend your knees and keep your back straight. You should never lift something up whilst twisting either as this can cause a back spasm.
- Slipped disc – If the tissue around one of the discs in your spine breaks down, the gel part of the disc can press against a nerve, which causes a sharp pain.
- Sports injury – Golfers in particular are at risk of developing back pain because they twist as they take a shot. Other sports than put your spine under stress include skiing, tennis and running.
- Whiplash – If you’re involved in a car crash, your head may be flung forward suddenly, damaging the muscles and ligaments in your neck and back.
- Pregnancy – Your ligaments are softer during pregnancy and you’ll be carrying extra weight, which puts your back under strain. The two main kinds of pregnancy back pain are lumbar pain and posterior pelvic pain.
- Frozen shoulder – This condition sees scar tissue form inside your shoulder capsule which makes it hard to move your shoulders and arms. It can give you neck and back pain.
- Sciatica – This is a term applied to any pain which is triggered by the sciatic nerve being compressed. It can cause numbness or a tingling sensation in your lower back but the pain is normally more severe in your legs and buttocks. Some people with sciatica don’t feel any back pain at all.
- Spinal stenosis – This is another condition which links leg pain with your back. Your spinal canal narrows which causes leg and back pain when you walk or move about. The pain will often diminish when you sit down.
- Ankylosing spondylitis – As you age, you might develop this chronic condition where the discs in your spine become thinner and osteophytes (bone spurs) form on your vertebrae, leading to stiffness and pain in your back.