Back Pain Most Common Medical Condition

back painBack pain is the most common medical condition as it affects 80% of the population at some point in their lives. It is often difficult to describe and may be even more difficult to diagnose as it can be caused by a variety of things.

Confusion frequently hinders a quick and correct diagnosis because, between the back pain sufferer and the medical professional, both can fail to understand what exactly is hurting and what is causing the pain. In this article we will try to clear the most common areas of confusion by looking at some of the facts about back pain.

Getting to the Root Cause of Back Pain

Despite what may be a popular belief, back pain is seldom related to the spinal cord. And the spinal cord does not cause back problems, unless there is damage directly to the spinal cord. This damage may result in paralysis. So, the spinal cord has nothing to do with frequent back pain. However, the problem may be associated with nerve roots of the spinal cord, most frequently a ‘pinched nerve’.

The spinal cord begins at the base of your brain and ends at the lumbar 1(L1), which is in your lower back. The spinal column, also referred to as your spine, is divided into several sections with the lumbar section located in the lower back where the majority of your body weight is generally concentrated.  You can have a pinched nerve anywhere along the spinal column. But, a pinched nerve is not always an issue in back pain.

Back Pain is a Common Problem

With back pain afflicting up to 80% of Americans, it has grown to be the leading cause of disability.  It is also the second most common reason for people to seek a health professional. Back surgeries are the third most common surgical procedure and the fifth most common hospital diagnosis.

Unfortunately, few escape the diagnosis of back pain at some point in their life. It can strike anyone regardless of age, general health and level of fitness. Just one wrong move can send you into an unforgettable episode of excruciating back pain.

Most Back Pain Heals Itself

Having back pain doesn’t mean that there is an ongoing or permanent damage or degeneration in your back. In fact, most back pain goes away on its own. However, it may take some time.

With simple cases of back pain, using over-the-counter pain meds and resting will ease the pain and promote healing.  But resting in bed for more than one or two days may aggravate the issue.

When to Call Your Doctor

Though most cases of back pain resolve without the need to see a doctor, there are certain times when seeing your doctor for back pain is definitely advised.

You should see your doctor if:

  • Your back pain is severe.
  • Your back pain does not improve after three days.
  • If you have back pain following an injury.
  • If you are concerned in anyway about your back pain.