If you’ve ever had lower back pain stop you from doing what you want, you’re not alone. Lower back pain is one of the most common medical problems in the world.
It is a leading reason why people visit a doctor, affecting more than 80% of adults at some point in their lives.
According to the Global Burden of Disease—a significant study published in the Lancet medical journal—lower back pain is also a leading cause of disability.
You may not be able to prevent lower back pain, especially as you age and your back loses some strength and resilience.
Fortunately, there are many ways you can get relief, no matter the cause of your back pain.
Walking in some people can lead to lower back pain or can worsen the symptoms for those already suffering from the problem.
Anyone can develop back pain, even children and teens. These factors might put you at greater risk of developing back pain:
Age. Back pain is more common as you get older, starting around age 30 or 40.
Lack of exercise. Weak, unused muscles in your back and abdomen might lead to back pain.
Excess weight. Excess body weight puts extra stress on your back.
Diseases. Some types of arthritis and cancer can contribute to back pain.
Improper lifting. Using your back instead of your legs can lead to back pain.
Psychological conditions. People prone to depression and anxiety appear to have a greater risk of back pain.
Smoking. Smokers have increased rates of back pain. This may occur because smoking prompts more coughing, which can lead to herniated disks.
Smoking can also decrease blood flow to the spine and increase the risk of osteoporosis.
Here are some common reasons why walking may lead to lower back pain:
The problem of lower back pain while walking is common among obese and overweight people.
This is because of the distribution of fat. Their midsection and lower body carry most of the body weight and their lower back has to bear all the pressure while walking.
Due to excessive pressure, the muscles get overworked and they feel the pain. Obese people may experience the same after standing for a very long time.
The muscles and ligaments in the back can stretch or tear due to excess activity. Symptoms include pain and stiffness in the lower back, as well as muscle spasms. Rest and physical therapy are remedies for these symptoms.
The discs in the back are prone to injury. This risk increases with age. The outside of the disc can tear or herniate.
A herniated disc, which is also known as a slipped or ruptured disc, occurs when the cartilage surrounding the disc pushes against the spinal cord or nerve roots.
The cushion that sits between the spinal vertebrae extends outside its normal position.
This can result in compression of the nerve root as it exits from the spinal cord and through the vertebral bones.
Disc injury usually occurs suddenly after lifting something or twisting the back. Unlike a back strain, pain from a disc injury usually lasts for more than 72 hours.
Overdoing it at the gym or golf course is one of the most common causes of overextended muscles leading to low back pain.
You're especially vulnerable if you tend to be inactive during the work week and then spend hours at the gym or softball field on the weekend.
Although you may wear your purse, backpack, or briefcase over your shoulder, it is the lower back that supports the upper body -- including any additional weight you carry.
So an overstuffed bag can strain the lower back, especially if you carry it day after day. If you must tote a heavy load, consider switching to a wheeled briefcase.
If your job involves lifting, pulling, or anything that twists the spine, it may contribute to back pain.
However, sitting at a desk all day comes with risks of its own, especially if your chair is uncomfortable or you tend to slouch.
Movement and posture
Adopting a very hunched sitting position when using computers can result in increased back and shoulder problems over time.
Back pain can also result from some everyday activities or poor posture.
Cancer of the spine
A tumor on the spine may press against a nerve, resulting in back pain.
Infection of the spine
A fever and a tender, warm area on the back could be due to an infection of the spine.
Individuals with sleep disorders are more likely to experience back pain, compared with others.
Your bones lose mass faster than it can be replaced, making them brittle. They can even fracture with little or no warning.
These fractures are especially common in the spine, where they're called vertebral compression fractures.
Both men and women lose bone mass as they age, but postmenopausal women lose it much faster and so are more at risk for osteoporosis.
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