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Back & Neck Pain

Back pain can happen at all ages. It ranges from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp pain that makes it hard to move.

What is Back Pain?

Back pain can happen at all ages. It ranges from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp pain that makes it hard to move. It can start quickly if you fall or lift something too heavy, or it can get worse slowly developing into Chronic Back Pain after 3 months.

Pain from trauma may be caused by a motor vehicle accident, sports injury, work around the house or in the garden, carrying heavy objects too often. Continuously being in one position such as computer work, can also strain the back and neck muscles.

Signs and symptoms of back pain may include:

  • Muscle ache
  • Shooting or stabbing pain when bending or twisting or reaching
  • Pain that radiates down your leg
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When to see the doctor:

Most back pain gradually improves with home treatment such as analgesic pills, muscle rubs, heat pads and self-care, usually within two weeks. If not, see your doctor.

In rare cases, back pain can signal a serious medical problem.

Contact your doctor if your back pain:

  • Is severe and doesn’t improve with rest
  • Spreads down one or both legs, especially if the pain extends below the knee
  • Causes weakness, numbness or tingling in one or both legs
  • Also, see your doctor if you start having back pain for the first time after age 50, or if you have a history of cancer, osteoporosis, steroid use, or drug or alcohol abuse.

Seek immediate care if your back pain:

  • Is accompanied by fever
  • Follows a fall, blow to your back or other injury
  • Causes new bowel or bladder problems

These following factors might put you at greater risk of developing back pain:

  • Age. Back pain is more common as you get older, however even children can experience it.
  • Lack of exercise. Weak, unused muscles in your back might lead to back pain.
  • Excess weight. Carrying too much weight puts extra stress on your back.
  • Diseases. Some types of arthritis and cancer can contribute to back pain.
  • Improper lifting. Using your back instead of your legs can lead to back pain.
  • Psychological conditions. People prone to depression and anxiety appear to have a greater risk of back pain.
  • Smoking. This can keep your body from delivering enough nutrients to the disks in your back.
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Conditions commonly linked to back pain include:

  • Muscle or ligament strain
  • Shingles
  • Bulging or ruptured disks
  • Arthritis
  • Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
  • Skeletal irregularities
  • Osteoporosis
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Sources:
http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/backpain/backpain.htm
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/back-pain/basics/definition/CON-20020797?p=1

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