- But the club of people with back pain isn’t small—eight out of 10 people have suffered from back pain at some point during their lives, studies done among Americans show.
- In Tanzania, I am yet to see studies done on this aspect.
If you are aged 40 and above, chances are you will be complaining of back pain. This is more so if you haven’t been engaging in physical exercises, as your habit.
But the club of people with back pain isn’t small—eight out of 10 people have suffered from back pain at some point during their lives, studies done among Americans show.
In Tanzania, I am yet to see studies done on this aspect.
There are two forms of back pain. The most common one is that which occurs suddenly, lasts for few days and may naturally go away.
Here, we are talking of minor sprains, strains or injuries, or a pinched or irritated nerve.
However, it may be chronic back pain—lasting for more than three months. This occurs in structures that make up your back, such as the bones, muscles, nerves and joints.
Back pain can develop gradually—over a long period—as a result of bending awkwardly and slouching in chairs.
At times it’s due to overstretching, driving or being in sitting position for long periods without taking a break or overusing the muscles.
So, it may not necessarily be a disease; people who lift heavy objects have this complaint almost all the time, ostensibly because carrying too much weight exerts extra stress on the back.
Psychological conditions can lead to back pain too. I have seen this mostly among people with depression and anxiety.
And if it’s disease that’s causing the back pain, then, the culprits could be arthritis or cancer but don’t be quick to diagnose yourself of these.
However, on a serious note, there are cancers which may originate from somewhere else in your body but affect your back-bone. This comes with severe back pain.
The back may as well be painful if one is overweight or pregnant. Sometimes smoking cigarettes could lead to back pain.
People who smoke are much more likely to develop chronic back pain than those who do not smoke, said a 2014 study by researchers from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL.
The study, published in the journal Human Brain Mapping, suggested that smokers could reduce their risk of developing chronic back pain by quitting the habit.
You might also have back pain as result of spine problems like when you have an ailment affecting your vertebral bones.
The vertebral column has a disc which could be protruding from its normal alignment (herniation). This disc can bulge or degenerate eventually causing back pain.