Lower Back Problems
Lower Back Problems
Today, the prevalence of lower back problems in people who are middle-aged or even younger and are in sedentary corporate jobs is beginning to get the attention of the medical community. In years past, lower back problems were mainly confined to the elderly or individuals with jobs that required a lot of lifting, bending or stooping. However, the latest cases in this area are no longer confined to that classification, and the alarming shift in paradigm and demographic has raised red flags.
However, before we set out to discuss the reasons behind this dramatic concern, it is worthwhile to examine the general definition surrounding lower back problems. At its most basic, lower back problems collectively refer to chronic or acute pain in the lower back either due to muscular or skeletal problems.
In the case of muscular problems, tightness in the muscles compress the nerve endings in the lower back resulting in pain, numbness, or partial and temporary paralysis. In the case of skeletal problems, it is the bone that is responsible for compression of the nerves leading to the same symptoms. The only way to definitively diagnose lower back problems as being caused either by muscular or skeletal problems – or a combination of both – is with sophisticated imaging tools like MRI and CAT scans. Once images are available, doctors can begin diagnosing the actual cause of the recurring pain and subsequently proposing treatment procedures to relieve the discomfort.
Medical research has found that a significant number of lower back problems are predominantly due to skeletal problems, specifically a herniated disc in the lower back. A herniated disc occurs when one or more vertebra wears out or becomes damaged causing the gel between the disc or the disc themselves to press against the nerves that run along the spinal column. When these sensitive nerves are touched there can be extremely severe pain and numbness in the area which can even spread to other areas.
Doctors have surmised that the reason why these cases are growing in middle-aged sedentary people is because if one does not get enough exercise, the muscles in the back weaken and that weakening minimizes the support that typically holds the vertebral column in place. Individuals who sit in front of their computer for extended periods also put additional stress on the lower back which is amplified even more when the posture is bad.
If you are having reoccurring lower back problems, it is best to consult a doctor who can image the painful area and come up with the right diagnosis. Conversely, proper exercise, posture, stretching and balanced work habits will allow one to eliminate or reduce the risks of developing lower back problems. It is important to be mindful of one’s back at all times, especially when sitting, in order to limit the loads that are placed on it as the weight of the body sags while in a chair.
It is also prudent never to underestimate lower back problems as just “body pains” that will go away in a day or two. If the pain comes back every now and then, immediately check with your doctor to see what can be done to arrest the situation. Lower back problems can be prevented with the right habits in place. If someone will take the effort to learn and apply these “lower back care” habits they will very likely prevent the onset of serious lower back problems in the future.