Most back pain, especially lower back pain, is caused by simple muscle strains. The main focus of this section is how to prevent recurring back pain by strengthening the muscles that support the back, correcting posture, using proper lifting techniques, and understanding the physical limitations of the back. There is also information on a variety of treatments for the relief of both acute and chronic pain.
Back Pain, especially in the lower back (lumbar spine), is a problem that most people experience at some time in their lives. The muscles that support the spine are in constant use; even while simply sitting, the muscles are in use to keep one from falling over. The spine also bends, straightens and twists. This constant stress on the back can result in back strain and pain.
The lower back supports most of the weight of the body and is subject to the most mechanical stress. As a result, the lower back is commonly injured. Lower back pain caused by strained muscles or ligaments is the most common type of back pain (often referred to as lumbago).
Though most back pain is caused by muscle or ligament strain, there are other causes such as damage or injury to spinal nerves, bones, or discs. Osteoarthritis of the spine is a common cause of back pain in people over 65 years of age. Back pain is sometimes caused by a problem with the kidneys.
If back pain persists for over 3 months, it is considered chronic back pain. That doesn't mean wait 3 months to see a doctor - an aching back can be a symptom of something that requires immediate attention such as a kidney infection. Back pain that lasts several days should should be diagnosed and treated by a physician. It the back pain is severe or is accompanied by numbness or pain down the leg, a doctor should be seen immediately.