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.
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.
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
- 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.
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