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Risk Factors for Developing Lower Back Disc Pain

Category: Back Pain

Lower back pain is very common among Americans. In fact, an estimated 80 percent of people living in the United States will experience lower back pain at some time in their lives. While there are some ways to prevent it, eventually, everyone will have to face the possibility of developing the condition. Here are the most common risk factors for developing lower back disc pain.

Prolonged Sitting

Unfortunately, more people are spending more time sitting than any other time in history. Prolonged sitting without a stretching break can lead to strain of the ligaments and discs in your lower back leading to tissue injury. An interesting research study performed in India showed that farmers rich enough to own a tractor were three times more likely to develop disc degeneration and lower back pain than the farmers who plowed their fields with an ox and plow. You are most likely sitting as you read this. Go ahead, stand up and give your back a break.

Poor Posture

There’s a reason why mom told you to sit up straight when you were a kid. Not only does poor posture look bad, but it also puts a strain on your back which can lead to back pain. If bad posture is a habit for you, here’s a simple trick you can do to help. Instead of sitting back in your chair at work or the dinner table, sit at the edge instead. It’s much harder to slouch in this position. The natural arch in your lower back is designed to protect it. Try to maintain this healthy arch for as long as possible.

De-conditioning of the Lower Back Muscles

The muscles of the spine are designed to protect the joints, ligaments and discs of your lower back. Prolonged sitting, poor posture and de-conditioning all combine to increase the risk of lower back pain. Almost all forms of exercise will maintain the strength and endurance of these muscles, but exercises that focus on these muscles are more effective. One research study showed that patients who did not restore the health of their muscles after back surgery for a herniated disc were eight times more likely to develop lower back pain in the future. Other studies have shown that adequate lower back muscle endurance may prevent lower back pain from ever happening in the first place.

Age 

Increased age is a risk factor for developing lower back pain. One of the most common causes of chronic lower back pain is disc degeneration. This is not a disease, but something that almost everyone will develop in their life. Studies suggest that up to 80 percent of people aged 50 years and over will have some disc degeneration, even if they have never experienced lower back pain. Disc degeneration decreases the stability of the spine leaving you susceptible to developing a lower back strain or pain.

Occupational Hazards

The work that you do at home or on the job may put you at risk for lower back pain. People who perform constant bending or lifting, such as nurses, are at higher risk as are people who stand on their feet for extended periods of time. As mentioned above, prolonged sitting at work also increases the risk of lower back pain.

Pregnancy 

Nearly 50 percent of all pregnant women experience lower back pain. Most think that this is solely due to the extra weight of the baby, but there are other reasons that pregnant women experience this pain. One involves the hormone, relaxin, which causes the ligaments in the pelvis to loosen the joints in preparation for birth. One of these joints, the sacroiliac joint, may become more easily strained leading to lower back pain.

Excess Weight

Excess weight is not associated with an increased risk of lower back pain.   However, people who are overweight or obese have a more difficult time recovering from the injury because it interferes with therapy. Most patients requiring treatment will receive physical therapy, chiropractic care or massage. Occasionally injections to the spine or surgery are required. Patients who maintain a normal weight or are more physically fit respond better to all of these forms of treatment

Many causes of lower back pain are preventable. As with most health conditions, maintaining an ideal body weight, maximizing strength and listening to your body when it’s had enough may be enough to keep you out of trouble.

Regenerative Medicine offers gentle and effective treatments for patients with lower back pain. They facilitate the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Contact us to see if you’re a good candidate for this breakthrough therapy. We want to help you make a change in your life, today.