back pain

BACK PAIN, POSSIBLE CAUSES OF PAIN ON THE BACK, WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR

Back pain is a common problem and will affect many of us at some point during our lives.

CAUSES OF PAIN ON THE BACK

Often back pain doesn’t have one simple cause but may be due to one or more of the following:

  • muscle strains or sprains
  • poor posture
  • lack of exercise resulting in stiffening of the spine and weak muscles
  • sciatica – this is caused by a nerve in the spine being pressed or squeezed. In most cases, sciatica is caused by a bulging disc pressing on the nerve causing pain that travels all the way down the leg and foot
  • spinal stenosis – this is a condition where the space around the spinal cord narrows and compresses a section of nerve tissue. This can happen from birth or can develop as we get older. Like sciatica, the main problem with spinal stenosis tends to be leg pain more than the back pain
  • bone problems such as a fracture on the back bone – often caused by trauma or thinning of the bones called osteoporosis
  • infection in the bones
  • a tumour
  • inflammation, for example ankylosing spondylitis https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/back-pain/causes/

WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR

Although it’s common, most cases of back pain tend to clear up without the need to see a doctor. However, you should see your doctor if your pain:

  • stops you from working or doing the things you enjoy
  • affects your everyday activities
  • gets worse
  • is really bad

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