Facts about back pain
Here are some facts about back pain: It is one of the most common physical complaints among adults and a main cause of misery too. At some point in their lives, a vast majority of people will experience some sort of back pain or discomfort felt in the upper, middle, or lower back and it may extend to the hips and legs. The back comprises a complex arrangement of bones, ligaments, joints, muscles, and nerves, therefore the pain can result from a problem occurring in any of these components. The most common type is lower back pain due to the fact that it is under the most pressure when a person is sitting or lifting, and it can be easily damaged.
Whiplash injury (associated with neck pain) most commonly occurs following an auto accident. This is typically caused by hyperextension and/or hyperflexion because the head is forced to move backward and/or forward rapidly beyond the neck’s normal range of motion.
Acute and chronic back pain
Back pain can be classified as either:
Acute – sudden pain that lasts for just a short while, usually a few days to a few weeks.
Chronic – pain that lasts for more than three months or recurs
Causes of back pain
There are many causes:
The most common cause is a strain of the back, which is a small tear of the muscles or ligaments. This usually results from a sudden or awkward movement, or from lifting a heavy object. Often, a person can’t remember a particular incident that brought on the pain.
Other common causes include poor muscle tone in the back, tension or spasm of the back muscles, and problems with the joints that make up the back.
A herniated disc can pinch a nerve as it leaves the spine.
The six week rule
Of all the facts about back pain, the most interesting fact, perhaps, is that statistics show that with non-invasive treatment, up to 90% of people with acute back pain improve within one month and up to 60% improve within a week. Even severe back pain due to a herniated disc often resolves within six weeks of treatment, as the protruding discs begin to shrink. Fortunately, most cases of acute lower back pain improve quickly – within a few weeks, and in some cases, within a few days. In less than 5% of people, the pain persists and becomes chronic.