Causes of back and neck pain
There are many causes of back and neck pain. Luckily most are due to non-specific causes or broadly termed mechanical back pain and it is this category which is especially amenable to more conservative therapies such as Osteopathy.
The most common causes of back and neck pain are:
- Overuse and over-activity injuries (e.g., from gardening or unusual activity)
- Trauma e.g. from sports injuries
- Wear and Tear (osteoarthritis) of spinal (facet) joints
- Wear and tear of intervertebral discs (degenerative)
- Prolapsed or herniated intervertebral disc
- Whiplash, typically as a result of motoring accidents
- Standing, sitting or bending down for long periods
- Strains from lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling loads that those are too heavy
There are conditions which can aggravate back and neck pain
- Illnesses and disease e.g. even a simple flu or cold can cause back ache, the mechanical forces from coughing or sneezing can be the cause of acute pain.
- Being overweight
- Having poor posture, weak trunk muscles – popularly referred to as a weak core
- Moods such as anxiety or depression can also aggravate back pain; and can even bring on pain
Back Pain – a quick guide to non specific and Inflammatory back pain
This guide identifies groups of people who require different approaches to treatment and management of their condition.
Non Specific Back pain
Non-specific low back pain is pain, tension, soreness, or stiffness in the lower back which cannot be attributed to a specific cause. Sprains and strains of the back are included in the concept of non-specific low back pain. It is not by itself a disease, more a symptom or complaint.
Mechanical Back Pain
Is typical of non-specific low back pain but can also include specific causes such as Sciatica, facet joint disease, vertebral fracture.
The pain here varies with posture or movement. For example, in some people low back pain is aggravated by standing and relieved by sitting or lying; in other people, low back pain is aggravated by sitting and relieved by standing depending on its causes.
Inflammatory Back Pain
In this condition back or neck pain and stiffness is aggravated by rest or sleep, often waking the person in the night. It is usually relieved by physical activity. It usually lasts for more than thirty minutes after getting up in the morning and is relieved by physical activity, and non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
It is typical of rheumatic conditions like Rheumatoid Arthritis as well as Ankylosing Spondylitis, but can also be caused by other insults to spinal structures such as disc protrusions and vertebral collapse seen in Osteoporosis.