Dr. Dan Albright, an orthopedic surgeon in Raleigh, North Carolina, discusses the causes of back pain. From simple muscle strains to more serious problems.
Summary of video:
What causes back pain?
After the common cold, low back pain is the biggest problem in America from a health perspective. It’s an epidemic. There are a lot of causes for low back pain. The most common cause is a strain or a sprain. This means pulled or torn muscles or ligaments through twisting, lifting or just aging. That’s a muscular problem. and pulled ligaments, pulled muscles. This is not a serious problem.
Low back pain can also be caused by tearing a disc. Discs are the cushions in between the vertebrae in the spine. The discs can tear, bulge or rupture and that can cause back pain. Eventually a big bulge, a ruptured disc, can cause shooting pain into the buttock and leg.
So that’s the big difference: back pain due to muscle strain stays in the back, the middle or the low back. That’s generic. If that pain develops into leg pain, that’s a different problem.
Other causes of back pain are abnormal anatomy. A shifted bone, a slipped bone, slipped disc, scoliosis, arthritis, fractures, tumors or cancer. Tumors or cancer are very rare.
So what can be done about back pain? There is no overall cure for back pain, but in general, fitness helps. Keeping your weight down helps, extra weight is extra strain on the back. An extra 10 pounds on the abdomen, adds 20-30 pounds of stress on the back. So losing weight is good for the back – less pain and probably less surgeries.
Fitness – swimming helps, stationary bike helps, elliptical trainer, weights, core strengthening. A physical therapist or good athletic trainer can teach the proper exercises.
Ergonomics. Sitting all day is a strain on the back. A lot of twisting can aggravate the back. So proper body mechanics can help.
For more information, contact Dr. Dan Albright at 919-863-6808.