Common Causes Of Mechanical Back Pain
Sprains and strains of the muscles and tendons, or the ligaments, can occur with overuse injuries. These can occur with the weekend athletes who fail to warm up properly or try to keep playing when they are tired. This can also occur with working in the garden, working on your home, or working on your job.
"at risk for ligament sprains and muscle strains"
Any time you try and do more than your muscles are trained in conditioned to do you are at risk for ligament sprains and muscle strains. The best defense is proper training and conditioning. Don't make your body do more than it is capable of.
Postural decompensation occurs, when your back muscles get weak or out of balance, causing a strain on the ligaments holding your vertebra together.
"When your posture is not good..."
In a normal upright position, you are balanced, and the ligaments between your vertebra are relaxed. This allows normal motion.
When you slouch, or hunch forward over a computer keyboard, you're no longer balanced and the muscles cannot hold the weight of your upper body. When your posture is not good, the ligaments between the vertebrae become tight, and eventually become very painful.
To prevent the mechanical back pain of postural decompensation you must correct your posture. Monitor your position throughout the day, keep your head of your shoulders and keep your shoulders above your hips with a shallow curve in your low back.
"the disc, acts like a shock absorber"
Degenerative disc disease is a chronic condition that occurs as we age. The intervertebral disc is formed from a ring of tough a ligament around the outside called the annulus, and a soft center called the nucleus pulposis.
When we're young the annulus is supple, and the disc, acts like a shock absorber between the vertebrae. As we get older, the disc gets dried out and hard, losing its cushion.
When the disc is stiff, and no longer supple, forcing it to move can cause pain. Even the motion of normal activities can be very uncomfortable.
"these surfaces become rough and irregular"
Arthritis of the spine is also a chronic condition that develops with time. The two small joints at the back of each vertebra are connected to the vertebra above and below. When you're young the surfaces on these joints are smooth and they slide easily.
With a lifetime of lifting and bending, these surfaces become rough and irregular, no longer sliding smoothly. The more irregular these joints become, the more limited and painful your motion will be.
"if there's a weak spot in the annulus"
A herniated disc can also cause mechanical back pain. A herniated disk can occur when the annulus this or outer ring fails and allows the soft center part of the desk to push out.
This may occur while bending and lifting if there's a weak spot in the annulus, or if sufficient force is placed on the disc. This will cause the annulus to tear, and the disc to rupture.
If the ruptured disk puts pressure on nerve, you may also have sciatica, or pain into your buttock and leg along with your mechanical back pain. Many people have disc ruptures and mechanical back pain without sciatica or lower extremity symptoms.
"avoid the activities that make your back hurt"
The treatment for mechanical back pain will depend on what is causing your back pain. If you know what is causing your back pain, it would seem reasonable to avoid the activities that make your back hurt.
If poor posture as a source of your mechanical back pain, you need to start becoming more aware of the positions you put your body in. If you're having muscle spasms your doctor may give you an muscle relaxer to help make you more comfortable.
"teach you exercises to strengthen weak muscles and"
Periodically throughout the day, you should stop to check your position. Is your head above your shoulders? Are your shoulders above your hips? Is your stomach in and chest out?
It may help to get a small bit of brightly colored tape and put on the side of your watch. Then every time you look at your watch you are reminded to check your posture. A few sessions with a physical therapist can teach you exercises to strengthen weak muscles and improve your posture.
"you may have to make a decision"
If you enjoy playing football or other sports on weekends, and that is the cause of your back pain, better conditioning and a longer warm up may help. It may also help to change your style of play.
If you make these adjustments and continue to have back pain you may have to make a decision. You may have to choose between, having back pain, and playing the sport you enjoy. Perhaps you can find something else that you enjoy.
If when you are working in the garden or working on your house, it is causing your back to hurt; maybe you could consider hiring some help. You may also want to consider just leaving some things undone.
"may not be able to do the things that you use to do"
Degenerative disc disease and arthritis of the spine are two more causes of mechanical back pain that may require you to limit your activity. You may not be able to do the things that you use to do.
Anti-inflammatories can help, but they can also affect your blood pressure, so check with your doctor first. Other over the counter pain relievers and topical medications can also provide relief.
"48 hours of inactivity is seldom a good idea"
When you have back pain it is good to try and stay active, but you need to use common sense, and avoid the things that make your back hurt.
If you're having a flare up of back pain or acute low back pain, you may need a few days rest, but more than 48 hours of inactivity is seldom a good idea.
"you may need to see your doctor"
When you're having mechanical back pain, in most cases you know what is causing it, and you know what you must do to make it better.
If after a few days of rest and limited activity your back pain is not improving, you may need to see your doctor, you may have something more serious than mechanical back pain.