Types of Back Problems

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Pain is the most common symptom of back problems and if you suffer from back problems the most important one. It is important to distinguish between acute and prolonged pain, because they reflect different types of problems and different medical treatment needs.

Acute back pain is a warning sign of injury such as a sprained ligament, bone fracture, or disc herniation. During the first days after an injury, the pain tells the body to avoid movement that would aggravate the injury and slow or prevent healing. This is why the neck becomes stiff a short time after a whiplash injury and why certain movements cause or increase pain at the site of a disc or muscle injury. Prolonged or chronic pain is different. It is usually the result of minor misuse, injury, or strain over a period of time and many factors may contribute to the type or severity of pain that is experienced.

For example, excess body weight may place too much strain on the muscles that support normal alignment of the vertebral column as well as on the cushioning discs between vertebrae. An old injury may “flare up” occasionally. Or repetitive misuse such as improper lifting technique that is used daily on the job or at home may cause a weakening of supporting ligaments and muscles and a “nagging” lower back pain.

Lower back pain, in fact, is the most common type of chronic back pain, and may be attributed to such seemingly benign causes as poor posture over many years, lack of exercise, improper lifting techniques, and excess body weight.

For more information about types of back problems, please call (918) 494-AOOK (2665).