Pain is our body's way of telling us that something is wrong. In the case of back pain, the root cause may be obvious - you may have been involved in a car accident, or lifted a box that was too heavy. Though it may also seem like a mystery. Nevertheless, if you dig a little, the root cause of your back pain could also be sorted out. So if you're unsure about why you are in agony, one of these 7 possible causes may be it:
1. You're feeling stressed
It should come as no surprise to learn that stress can cause tight muscles and knots in your neck and upper back. Anxiety may also cause you to have back spasms too. If you suspect that stress is causing you back pain, try to incorporate some relaxation techniques such as meditation and deep breathing into your routine. A weekly yoga class or an intensive stretch will help reduce lower back pain.
2. You're hooked on technology
Hunching over a phone or tablet for several hours a day can cause what has now been termed, 'text neck'. Having a slumped neck and rounded shoulders add an additional 60 pounds of weight on your spine, which can inadvertently change your posture and cause back pain. To prevent this from happening, try keeping your phone at eye level instead.
3. You're not sitting properly
Just as looking down at your smartphone can cause back problems, sitting down all day can wreak havoc on your spine too. Poor posture can cause lower back pain by increasing the amount of pressure or tension on the bones, joints, ligaments, and spinal discs. Improve your sitting posture by keeping your forearms parallel to the floor, your head in line with your torso, your feet flat on the floor or resting on a footrest, your back fully supported and thighs parallel to the floor.
4. You have a muscle imbalance elsewhere in your body
Everything in your body is interconnected. Your back pain may be stemming from tight hamstrings or weak abdominals. If other muscle groups are weak, it can cause the muscles of the back to do more work than they should to keep the spine upright or moving correctly. Try working with a physical therapist to identify and correct the specific imbalances that are over-taxing your back.
5. You have a bulging or ruptured disc
The disks between your vertebrae help cushion the spine and act as shock-absorbers. Over time, however, they can flatten or rupture due to natural aging, certain movements, or a family history of disc disease. While it doesn't always cause pain, when it does, it can be hugely uncomfortable. If a bulging disc is the culprit, doctors often prescribe over-the-counter medicine, hot and cold packs, and physical therapy.
6. Something more serious is going on
Pancreatitis, ulcers, or even a kidney infection could cause pain that radiates to the back. It may also be a result of an infection, osteomyelitis - an infection of the spine. Most back pains tend to resolve on their own in six weeks - but if yours has gotten worse then be sure to see a physician, particularly if it is accompanied by fever, numbness in the rectal area, and loss of bowel or bladder control.
7. You just had a baby
Statistics show that almost 80% of new moms suffer from lower back pain as a result of the stress placed on the body during pregnancy. Another cause may also be due to the habits that result from caring for a young baby, such as holding a baby on one side of the body, or hunching while nursing - which can lead to muscle imbalance, affecting the natural curve of your spine. Are you a new mom? Try being aware of maintaining good posture by alternating muscle groups so you're not constantly rocking, swaying, or bouncing your baby on one side.