Lower back pain is common. So common that many of us just grin and bear it. We write it off as old age or bad posture, but neither of those causes are true.
Chronic lower back pain reveals itself in many ways. It can be a deep, dull ache in your lower back. Or it can feel like tightness and spasms in and around that area. It can also be a stinging pain or accompanied by numbness or tingling in your legs or feet. No matter how it feels for you, lower back pain hurts.
7 Facts About Chronic Back Pain
1) There are several causes…
There are several causes of back pain. Some are minor and temporary, but others show a more serious, long-term problem. Causes can include:
- Bulging disks
- Muscle and ligament strain
- Sacroiliac joint inflammation
If you’re unsure of the cause of your back pain, it’s important to find the right diagnosis. This will let you and your care team know which treatment will work best for you.
2) … and a lot of risk factors
While many of us can, and will, develop lower back pain, there are some risk factors we can avoid to lessen the likelihood or severity of the disorder. These risk factors include:
- Lifting objects incorrectly causes strain on your lower back
- Lack of exercise weakens the muscles in your abdomen and back
- Being overweight adds extra stress to your back
- Diseases like arthritis
- Mental health issues like depression and anxiety are linked to a higher risk for lower back pain
- Smoking can decrease blood flow to the spine as well as increase coughing, which strains the lower back
3) You can avoid little triggers
There are several slight changes we can make to ease the strain on our lower backs. They may seem like minor changes, and they probably seem a little odd too, but their benefits add up.
- Use a chair with good lower back support
- Arrange your monitor, keyboard, and other office equipment in the center of your desk so you’re not twisting or sitting at an angle
- Take a 20 second break to stand up and stretch every 10 minutes to loosen up your joints and muscles
- Avoid too tight clothing like skinny jeans that get in the way of moving, sitting, and bending normally
- Ditch those high heels for a heel that’s an inch or less. This keeps your center of gravity where it should be and stops your body to compensate
4) You’re not alone
The Mayo Clinic reports that within the past three months, 1 out of 4 adults have reported experiencing back pain. More than that, over 80% of us will experience lower back pain in our lives. It’s also the second most common reason people have for visiting their doctor.
That’s a lot of people struggling with a lot of pain. Suffering from lower back pain can feel isolating, so it’s worth remembering that you’re not alone. Reach out to your doctor or look for support groups in your area to find that bit of extra support we get from those who understand our pain.
5) Be careful of opioids
It’s all too easy to rely on medication to treat lower back pain. However, pain relief pills, especially opioids, only treat the symptom and not the cause. Opioids include oxycodone, codeine, hydrocodone, and morphine. Using and abusing opioids often leads to addiction problems and sometimes even fatal overdoses.
If you find yourself struggling to manage your opioid medications or feel that you depend on them, reach out to your doctor or other health care professional for more information and advice.
6) There are a range of treatments available
If you’re nervous about taking opioids or other medications, there are several other treatment options available. This includes alternative therapies like:
- Proper footwear
- Dorsal Root Ganglion Therapy
- Epidural Steroid Injections
- Facet Joint Injections
- Joint Injections
- Nerve Blocks
- Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP)
- Spinal Cord Stimulators
- Trigger Point Injections
- Weight loss
7) North Lakes Pain can help
At North Lakes Pain, we offer a range of treatments, including the ones listed above. We also offer medication management and education. Our focus is on interventional pain procedures as well as medication support to help control and relieve pain. Get in touch today, using the form below: