Back Pain Risk Factors ~ Health Guide

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Back Pain Risk Factors

Written by Mystic on Thursday, September 13, 2007

Being out of shape and having poor posture increase the risk of experiencing back pain.

The muscles and the skeleton work together to maintain proper body structure and balance. Weak muscles cannot contribute to this relationship effectively, making the skeleton, primarily the spine, bear the burden of supporting the body. This makes the spine overworked and more likely to suffer an injury.

People whose jobs require heavy or repeated lifting, expose them to vibrations from vehicles or machinery, or require prolonged driving are at increased risk for back problems.

Obesity, or carrying more body weightespecially around the abdomenputs additional stress on the spine and the discs that cushion the vertebrae.

Being overweight is unhealthy for many reasons. It puts strain on your heart, puts you at greater risk for some types of cancer, and can make back pain worse. Talk to your doctor about weight loss if you have a bad back and are overweight.

For women, breast weight can add significant stress on the back, neck, or shoulders that can result in pain.

Breast reduction surgery has helped many women ease their back pain. However, it is a good idea to explore other possibilities before opting for surgery. Strengthening the back through exercise, losing weight, or changing bad postural and lifting habits may help, and should be addressed first.

While the reasons are unclear, smoking increases your odds of suffering from back pain. Some sports, including football and cross-country skiing, can put you at additional risk.
Mild-to-moderate exercise can help back pain, so if your activity of choice puts strain on your back, find another one. It is not a good idea to become immobile. You are less likely to develop back pain if you are strong and active.

Degenerative disc disease occurs more frequently with advancing years as the cushioning discs dry out.
The center of the disc (nucleus pulposis) contains more than 85% water in children. However, by the time you are 80 years old, only about 60% of the water remains. Eventually, the disc space becomes smaller, and the vertebrae, left without their cushion, rub against each other and put painful pressure on the surrounding nerves.

Gender, race, and age all contribute to back pain.
Neck pain occurs more often in older adults, while Reiter's syndrome (which causes inflammatory back pain) occurs most frequently in young men. Ankylosing spondylitis (another cause of inflammatory back pain) is more common in men and Caucasians. Osteoporosis, a bone-thinning disease that can lead to painful fractures, is common in older women.

Emotional stress, depression, substance abuse, and psychological problems can make pain symptoms worse.
Your doctor will have suggestions if you suffer from emotional difficulties. Do not be afraid to bring these issues up during an office visit. Most people experience psychological distress at one time or another in varying degrees of severity.

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