According to the CDC, more than 39% of adults experience regular back pain.
dr Jaideep Chunduri with patient. Photo provided.
No matter if we are sitting, standing, walking, running or just reaching, our backs are working. Is it any wonder, according to the Centers for Disease Control, that more than 39% of adults experience regular back pain? Some other research says that up to 80% of adults will experience some type of back pain in their lives. Before social distancing and covid-related absences, surveys even showed that back pain was the second highest cause of sick days off from work (behind the ordinary cold).
So we asked Dr. Jaideep Chunduri, a Board Certified Spine Surgeon at Beacon Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in Lawrenceburg and Beacon West, what the most common causes of back pain were. Here is his list:
These can occur while bending, twisting, stretching or reaching. The pain from these strains and sprains can range from mild to severe.
Pressure on these nerves may cause pain, numbness and weakness. This pain can occur in the cervical spine (neck to the arms) and the lumbar spine (from the buttock through the legs) depending on the location and severity of the compression.
Herniated discs get their name from hernias which occur when an organ pushes through the muscle or tissue that holds it in place. These most commonly occur with the intestines and the abdominal wall. However, sometimes the gel-like fluid in the center of a spinal disc herniates — pushing through the fibrous outer wall resulting in a large bulge that can press on nearby nerve roots, causing pain. Think of it as the jelly from inside of a jelly donut squirting out. Pain from a herniated disc can occur at the hernia site or in other places like arms or legs.
Bulging discs are less likely to cause pain than herniated discs simply because they haven’t protruded far enough to press on a nerve. However, they often progress into full-blown herniated discs over time. So, preventing and caring for them – even before they are painful — is important.
Degenerative disc disease is the culmination of the effects age has on the body and spine. As you age, your body dehydrates. This causes the spaces between discs to narrow, causing changes in height and space available for the nerves. This resulting excess pressure on the spine can cause pain. Just because you have a degenerated disc or herniated disc does not necessarily mean that you have pain.
Even with those statistical and given all the potential causes, back pain is not inevitable. As with all physical activities, stretching before and after a workout is important. Here are some exercises you can do to reduce back pain in the long run:
Now, if you do injure yourself, be sure to avoid the activities that further stress the spine. Take brief rest periods throughout the day (lying flat on a soft surface), take a short walk or stretch every 20 minutes or so. Apply heat or cold to the problem area to reduce discomfort or swelling and inflammation. Consider using over-the-counter medications that are approved by your physician. Perhaps an anti-inflammatory will help.
However, if your back pain becomes severe or doesn’t improve after two weeks of using these at-home remedies, it may be time to seek medical treatment that is specialized for your situation. “I want to help patients reach their goals,” said Dr. Chunduri. “We talk about what he or she wants to achieve with treatment. And together, we develop the best treatment plan to get there.”
Beacon Orthopedics treats patients of all ages for various injuries and ailments. You can always schedule a diagnostic appointment at any one of the area Beacon locations. And if you get injured, you can readily go to one of their Saturday morning injury clinics, or urgent care facilities throughout the area. Go to www.beaconortho.com or call 513-354-3700 to find a nearby Beacon location or to schedule an appointment.