Causes of back pain and risk groups

Causes of back pain and risk groups

Back pain is one of the most common complaints of diseases of people of working age, elderly and senile age. The human spine bears almost the entire weight of a person. It consists of 33-34 vertebrae, which are connected by intervertebral discs. Thanks to this connection, the vertebrae can move relative to each other. The sacrum and coccyx are special parts of the spine. The sacrum is formed by five fused vertebrae, and the coccyx is a rudimentary part of the spine that does not perform a supporting function.

Pain can develop in any one or all three parts of the spine. The most common pain occurs in the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine. Pain can be caused by diseases and injuries of the discs (disc protrusion, disc herniation) and intervertebral joints (arthrosis of the facet joints), or other conditions.
The number of people with back pain has increased dramatically in recent years and decades, making this the most common complaint in the world.

Stress causes back pain

A predominantly sedentary job and a lack of physical activity in daily life lead to chronic tension in the muscles of the back and pain in the spine in the absence of any disease.

Did you know that emotional stress at work and in your personal life also leads to muscle tension? For more information on the link between psychological stress and back pain, see this brochure.

Symptoms and complaints

Almost everyone has experienced either a “lumbago” or mild back pain. “Back again!” – a very common phrase, because the back is under significant stress every day. Hours spent sitting in the office, slouching in front of the computer, lifting and carrying heavy objects, or working in the garden in a position: minor back pain is an integral part of everyday life.

Back pain needs to be taken seriously. The reason for going to the doctor should be situations when the pain does not go away for several days, when certain movements intensify the pain or when the pain radiates to the limb (s), and especially when there is a feeling of numbness .

Shooting pains in the lower extremities are characteristic of compression of the spinal cord or its roots (for example, a herniated disc). The pain inherent in arthritic changes in the intervertebral joints is usually dull and local. The nature and intensity of pain can vary greatly from person to person. Only a doctor can, on the basis of complaints and symptoms, prescribe the necessary examination and treatment appropriate to the situation. Depending on the situation, the doctor may prescribe physiotherapy, therapeutic exercises, or schedule surgery. With conservative treatment and during the period of postoperative rehabilitation, it is very important to regularly do therapeutic exercises, because they train muscles, stabilize the spine and reduce pain.

The most common causes of back pain

The spine or vertebral column is a complex structure made up of vertebrae, intervertebral discs, and ligaments 1  . Pain occurs when the interaction of these structures is disturbed. Typical reasons are:

Stress causes back pain

A predominantly sedentary job and a lack of physical activity in daily life lead to chronic tension in the muscles of the back and pain in the spine in the absence of any disease.

Did you know that emotional stress at work and in your personal life also leads to muscle tension? For more information on the link between psychological stress and back pain, see this brochure.

Hernia

The intervertebral discs act as biological shock absorbers and separate the vertebral bodies from each other. With a decrease in the elasticity of the disc, it begins to bulge into the lumen of the spinal canal (the so-called prolapse), and its height decreases. The latter negatively affects the work of the intervertebral joints, because their biomechanics is disrupted.

If the protruding part of the intervertebral disc presses on the sensitive nerve fibers, then various sensory disturbances may occur in the innervation zone of the compressed nerve: pain, tingling, numbness, creeping, etc. If the motor nerve fibers responsible for the work of the muscles are compressed, then the function of the innervated muscle is disrupted, up to paralysis.