How To Live With it or Without it

Have you ever had back pain? Probably most of Tanglewood residents have experienced some form of back pain. Personally, playing pickleball for a year was twisting my already curved spine into a painful backache. I had to choose between pain or the first sport I’ve ever enjoyed playing to the point of participating in a tournament and taking the Silver Medal.

Millions of Americans have ongoing back pain. It’s the leading cause of disability in people younger than 45, and many things can cause it.

Spine-Related Problems

Back Pain often happens because something is off in the way your spinal joints, muscles, discs, and nerves fit together and move. Your doctor can check to see if you have:

Herniated or slipped discs: If your doctor mentions this, the soft tissue in the discs between your joints has come out. It’s usually caused by wear and tear. Herniated discs can cause pain in your lower back or hip because the nerves there are pressed.

Bulging discs: These protrude, or “bulge,” but not as much as with a herniated disc. You don’t usually have symptoms with this. You’ll feel it if it pushes on a nerve root, though.

Inflammation and wear of the sacroiliac : This lies where your spine and pelvis come together. It doesn’t move much, but it’s important because it moves the load of the upper body to the lower body. Swelling and wearing away of the joint cartilage can happen after an injury, because of arthritis, infection, or even pregnancy.

Spinal stenosis: If you have this, your spinal canal has narrowed. That adds pressure on your spine and nerves. As a result, your legs and shoulders probably feel numb. This happens to many people older than 60.

Accidents and Injuries
Car accidents, falls, muscle sprains, strains, and fractures are also causes of back pain. Injuries can lead to some of the physical problems, but some can cause pain all on their own.

Spine or vertebral fractures: A break to your spine can be causes by a hit to the back, a fall, or if you have osteoarthritis a condition that weakens your bones.
Sprains and strains: Injuries to ligaments, muscles, and tendons that support the spine and its joints can lead to back pain. This often happens when you lift something and twist at the same time. It can also happen because of car accidents and sports injuries.
Spasms: You can get these when muscles and tendons are torn in your lower back. They usually happen when you’re weightlifting or playing sports.

Lifestyle Triggers

Back pain can be brought on by things you do — or don’t do — in your day-to-day life, like:

  • Slouching at your desk
  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Being overweight
  • Not exercising
  • Smoking
  • Wearing high heels

Emotions in Play

Don’t underestimate the power of feelings to bring on pain. Stress can lead to muscle tension in the back, and depression and anxiety may make the pain feel even worse.

Other Causes

Back pain can also be caused by medical conditions like:  Arthritis: This is a joint disease that causes stiffness, swelling, and inflammation. This type of arthritis happens when your cartilage and bones break down. This most often affects people from middle age onward.

Scoliosis, or curvature of the spine: This is usually something you have from birth. If there’s pain, it typically starts in mid-life. Talk with your doctor if your back isn’t feeling right. He can help you discover what’s causing the hurt and advise on how to make adjustments for a more comfortable life.

In the meantime, you may find me on the elliptical, walking our dog, hanging out at the pool, or watching other pickleball players while continuing to enjoy life here in paradise.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on January 29, 2018

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Pam Batey

Moved to Tanglewood in August 2016, with husband, Steve and dog, Maggie. Retired Paramedic, now continuing my hobby writing short stories and information in the "You and Your Health" Section of the newsletter. Active Member of Tanglewood Community Church.