Although back pain can affect anyone, certain risk factors of back pain have been linked to an increase in a person's chance of developing low back pain or sciatica. Risk factors of back pain include age, fitness level, diet, heredity, other diseases, occupation, and smoking.
Risk Factors of Back Pain
Back pain is an all-too-familiar problem that can range from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp pain that leaves you incapacitated. It can come on suddenly or it can develop slowly, perhaps as the result of age-related changes to the spine. Although anyone can have back pain, a number of factors can increase a person's risk of developing back pain. Risk factors of back pain include:
- Fitness level
- Presence of other diseases
Age - The first attack of low back pain typically occurs in people between the ages of 30 and 40. Back pain tends to become more common with age.
Fitness Level - Back pain is more common among people who are not physically fit because they may have weak backs and weak abdominal muscles, which may not properly support the spine. People who go out and exercise a lot after being inactive all week -- are more likely to suffer from painful back injuries than people who make moderate physical activity a daily habit. Studies have shown that low-impact aerobic exercise is good for the discs that cushion the vertebrae, which are the individual bones that make up the spine.
Diet - A diet that is high in calories and fat, combined with an inactive lifestyle, can lead to obesity. Obesity can put stress on the back, thus causing back pain.
Heredity - Causes of back pain, including disc disease, may have a genetic component.
Other Diseases - Many diseases can cause or contribute to back pain, including various forms of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis, and cancers elsewhere in the body that may spread to the spine.
Occupational Risk Factors - Having a job that requires heavy lifting, pushing, or pulling can lead to injury and back pain. An inactive job or a desk job may also lead to or contribute to back pain, especially if you have poor posture or sit all day in an uncomfortable chair.
Cigarette Smoking - Although smoking may not directly cause back pain, it can increase a person's risk of developing low back pain and low back pain with sciatica. Sciatica is back pain that radiates to the hip and/or leg due to pressure on a nerve. Examples of why smoking may increase a person's risk of developing low back pain include:
- Smoking may lead to pain by blocking your body's ability to deliver nutrients to the discs of the lower back.
- Repeated coughing due to heavy smoking may cause back pain.
- It is also possible that smokers are just less physically fit or less healthy than nonsmokers, which increases the likelihood that they will develop back pain.
- Smoking can slow healing, prolonging pain for people who have had back injuries, back surgery, or broken bones.
For more information on non-narcotic treatment of back pain, contact Franklin Pain and Wellness Center.