What is Chronic Back Pain?
Chronic back pain occurs when back pain continues for 12 weeks or longer, even after an initial injury or underlying cause of back pain has been treated. About 20 percent of people affected by acute low back pain develop chronic low back pain with persistent symptoms at one year. Treatment may successfully relieve your chronic back pain, but in some cases, pain continues despite medical and surgical treatment.
Potential Causes of Back Pain
- Trauma from an auto accident or fall
- Injury from heavy lifting, exercise, or a sudden and awkward motion
- Osteoporosis or small compression fractures
- Arthritis (causing the hollow area around the spinal cord to narrow)
- Bulging or herniated discs
- Stress & depression
Some serious underlying conditions that may cause back pain include:
- Fractured vertebrae (severe trauma)
- Metastatic cancer (cancer that has spread to the spine)
- Osteomyelitis (an infection of the vertebral body)
- Cauda equina syndrome (a serious neurological problem)
- Epidural abscess between the spinal cord and the vertebrae
Potential Risk Factors for Developing Back Pain
- Age: Back pain commonly first occurs between the ages of 30 and 50 (back pain becomes more common with advancing age)
- Fitness level: Back pain is more common with individuals who are not physically fit. Most of the time, weak back muscles may not properly support the spine.
- Weight gain: Being overweight or quickly gaining significant amounts of weight can put stress on the back, which can lead to back pain.
- Job-related factors: If your job requires heavy lifting, pulling, or pushing, you may be at risk of injury and/or back pain. Poor posture can also contribute to back pain if you work at a desk all day.
- Smoking: It can restrict blood flow and oxygen to the discs, causing them to degenerate faster.
- Backpack Overload: Backpack overloaded while hiking or at school with supplies can strain the back and cause muscle fatigue.
Speak with an Orthopedic Specialist Today
If your back pain has lasted longer than three days, you should contact OrthoArizona today. Make an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists today to start your healing journey. OrthoArizona has 21 offices throughout the Valley, each focused on quality care, compassion, and excellent customer service. Since 1994, OrthoArizona has been dedicated to compassionate care of the highest quality.