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Reasons Why You May Be Experiencing Back Pain

Back pain is one of the most popular medical problems in America, and it can range from a continuous dull ache to sudden, sharp pain. The National Center for Health Statistics released a report in August 2021 that revealed that back pain was the most common kind of pain in the country, affecting almost 2 out of 5 American adults in the previous three months. Back pain is significantly easier to address if you can pinpoint its exact cause. Here are some popular reasons why you may be experiencing back pain.

 

  • Muscle deconditioning and improper posture

 

You can condition your muscles to be stronger over time through weight training and other exercises. Sadly, the reverse is also true; you can decondition your muscles if you don’t use them appropriately over a long period. Unfortunately, deconditioning your back muscles is as simple as sitting at your desk with improper posture for too long. Many people are guilty of this while performing their jobs, so working from home and the office alike may be the cause of your back pain. This discomfort may worsen if you slump in a chair over a desk due to pressure from gravity and your body pushing on your spine, discs, neck, and ligaments, leading to pain and an increasing loss of muscle strength. Fortunately, correcting your sitting posture and taking regular breaks to stretch and move around are easy first steps towards conditioning your muscles to be more durable. You can also exercise and use a standing desk to improve strength in your back, so keep this in mind.

 

  • Large breasts

 

Large breasts are one of the most common but overlooked causes of back pain in women. This condition, technically known as macromastia, affects women differently. Some may have no issues with large breasts, while others find it challenging and even painful. According to Peter G. Whang, an Associate Professor in the Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation at the Yale University School of Medicine, there is a strong correlation between breast size and back pain. To him, it makes sense from a biomechanical viewpoint that women with huge breasts are predisposed to experiencing more pain in the thoracolumbar spine due to their abnormal posture. He explains that the added weight of large breasts can cause women to flex forward, subjecting their spinal column and other supporting structure to notable, non-physiologic forces. Furthermore, he adds that your back’s stabilizing muscles would have to work extra hard to keep your spine aligned, resulting in more stress and fatigue. In addition, gravity also works against women with large breasts since the back must work harder to keep the breasts aligned, contributing to spinal discomfort. 

Luckily, breast reduction surgery or mammaplasty can help you get smaller breasts and ease back pain. Breast augmentation procedures usually feature heavily in celebrity moms plastic surgery. However, you likely did not know that celebrities like Queen Latifah, Amber Rose, and Drew Barrymore underwent mammoplasties for back pain relief. According to the Mayo Clinic, this procedure is safe and effective at relieving neck and back pain and several other problems caused by large breasts.

 

  • Osteoarthritis

 

 

Back pain is not always due to muscular problems since issues in the bones and joints can cause it. The cartilage that protects and cushions your bones may wear down as you age, a condition known as osteoarthritis. As per the United States National Institute on Aging, it is the most common type of arthritis among older adults. Osteoarthritis may eventually result in the complete wearing away of the cartilage between bones, causing them to rub together. As such, there may be pressure on your spine’s nerves as well as numbness and tingling in your extremities. You should see a physician for a correct diagnosis and effective treatment plan if you suspect you have osteoarthritis. The treatment you get will typically focus on managing pain and keeping your joints functioning for as long as possible.

 

  • Herniated discs

 

Herniated discs are quite popular in the lower back but may occasionally appear in the upper back. Discs are the soft and rubberlike cushions located between each vertebra. A herniated disc occurs when a portion of this cushion pushes through an annulus crack, placing pressure on the spine. The slightest pressure levels can cause a lot of pain in the middle of your back, alongside other symptoms like weakness or numbness in your legs or arms. Thankfully, it is highly likely that you will recover from herniated discs by resting properly and taking anti-inflammatory drugs instead of going under the knife.

 

  • Muscle overuse

 

Upper back pain may also be due to overuse of the back muscles in repeating the same motions over a long period. This repetitiveness can lead to muscle tightness, irritation, and strain. A typical example of how muscle overuse can lead to pain is how pitchers in baseball eventually start feeling the toll on their shoulders after repeating similar motions every time they pitch. Repetitive activities such as lifting things above your head several times in a typical day can easily lead to chronic and unbearable back pain over time. You can simply rest the area and apply heat or ice packs to boost circulation to the tissues to treat muscle overuse. Also, find ways to avoid repetitive motion that may lead to back pain and take frequent breaks between activities.

 

  • Traumatic injuries

 

 

A traumatic injury may also be a direct cause of your back pain. Statistics show that auto accidents are the leading cause of spinal injuries, so it is hardly surprising if you start experiencing chronic back pain after a car crash. Work-related accidents, working out too hard, slips and falls at home, and incorrect lifting can also cause injuries that lead to back pain. These injuries are often obvious, and you may notice pain right after the incident. However, the pain may delay for a while in some cases, so it may creep up on you from seemingly nowhere. Traumatic injuries can be severe and may put you at risk of lasting complications like nerve damage and paralysis. Therefore, have a doctor examine all your potential back injuries to ensure they heal properly to prevent long-term pain and other consequences.

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