What Does Back Pain Suggest?


An estimated eight out of every ten people will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Back pain is one of the most common reasons people visit a physician. It can be caused by normal wear and tear, overuse, injuries, muscles, bones, nerves, or discs. The most common causes of back pain are muscular irritation and joint dysfunction.

Pain signals are indicative of something that is wrong with the body. Below are a few ideas of what back pain may be suggesting.

Too much stress is present

People often deal with neck, shoulder and back pain due to stress. This could be a result of brain chemicals, or it could be a result of stress causing tension in the muscles. Stress leads to tightened muscles, which can lead to back pain and an increased likelihood of back injuries. When the muscles tighten and stay that way for a while, muscle spasms may occur, causing intense pain and lack of function.

Posture needs improving

Poor posture overworks the muscles in the neck and back, resulting in neck and shoulder strain, back pain, or joint damage. As the immune system works to heal the muscles, inflammation occurs, which can lead to chronic pain or arthritis.

Proper posture involves maintaining the three natural curves in the spine — one in the neck, one in the mid-back, and one in the lower back. The ears should be in line with the shoulders, and the shoulders should be in line with the hips.

Rest is needed

Refusing to rest and give the body time to heal can result in worsened pain. Expending too much energy when dealing with back pain can lead to increased pain for hours or even days. This requires a recovery period, which typically involves little to no activity. Once the individual recovers, they often overdo activities again. Repeating this cycle can lead to increased pain, disability, and future avoidance of activity.

Physical activity is flawed

Physical activity plays an essential role in the treatment and prevention of back pain. Being physically active positively impacts the back and body in several ways; however, utilizing proper form is important in preventing injuries. For example, lifting weights by using the body and back causes pain and injury. Be sure to lift with the legs. Consult a personal trainer or physical therapist to make sure the form used during physical activity is not contributing to back pain.

A health care professional is needed

Back pain that lasts more than a few days and does not improve with at-home treatment should be evaluated by a health care professional. In many cases, back pain is not a sign of a medical emergency. However, there are various health conditions that can cause severe back pain.

Additional source: Psychology Today