Two Reasons Your Back Is Killing You

When people think about the causes of back pain, they often assume that it is one event that causes a back to give out. Lifting a heavy load, or being involved in a sudden movement that causes an immediate compression of the spine, or even having a physical accident such as a fall — all of these events can lead to a quick onset of lower back pain. However, this is only one of three main reasons why people may experience discomfort in the joints of the back or the muscle and other soft tissues.

The first cause of back pain is the type mentioned above. Obviously, if someone falls off of a ladder onto his or her back, there is a greater chance of experiencing pain than if the fall had not occurred. Trauma caused by a sudden impact is definitely a significant factor in causing lower back discomfort, but it is actually a bit more uncommon than the other main reasons why people get a sore back. If there is a sudden traumatic injury in a person’s history, though, this must be considered when evaluating back pain issues.

A more common cause of back pain is that of chronic overuse. There are actually two different types of overuse injury of the back, and each type can lead to a feeling of chronic pain.

The first type is when a person lifts a series of loads over time without resting. People who continually load boxes from the floor onto a truck, for instance, may experience back pain even if the weights they lift are actually not that heavy. Over time, however, even lighter loads can begin to break down the tolerance of the back’s muscles and joints and lead to soreness. If the back is not given enough time to rest, chronic pain can be the result.

The second type of overuse of the back is being in one position for a prolonged amount of time. Workers who have to stand and bend over to work on objects close to the ground can experience pain even if they are not lifting anything at all. This is also the type of soreness that office workers can develop if they sit at a desk all day with a rounded back. As time goes on, the tissues of the back reach their failure level and the result is pain.

Thus, not every instance of back pain is caused by a sudden injury. And even if it seems like such a sudden event did occur — lifting that last box or getting up too quickly after sitting for too long — it is more likely that the back’s pain threshold has been reached and the tissues have begun to get damaged. This is why everyone should become more aware of how they are using their backs and take precautionary measures like getting enough exercise to strengthen the back, as well as getting enough rest to make sure that chronic injuries do not happen.

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