While improperly lifting a heavy object can throw someone's back out of whack, it isn't always the most common way for patients to end up with chronic back pain. Patients with back pain are sometimes unaware of everyday tasks that can contribute to their daily suffering.
For example, many patients are unaware that smoking, sitting and even stress can cause back pain. "If you go on the street and pick a random group of people, 20% will say they have back pain right now, 40% will have had it in the past year, and 80% have had back pain over the course of their lives," Dr. Patrick Roth, chairman of the department of neurosurgery at New Jersey's Hackensack University Medical Center, told The Huffington Post.
The Huffington Post spoke with Dr. Vijay Vad, an assistant attending physiatrist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, to learn more about causes of back pain.
Here's what the media outlet found out from Dr. Vad:
Flying on a plane -- The cabin's pressure could irritate a disc, making it more susceptible to bulging. Stretching could help avoid this.
What are you eating? -- Being overweight could be putting stress on a patient's back. The article points out that one Standford University study revealed that those who are extremely overweight are at four times greater risk of having lower back pain.
What you're sleeping on -- When was the last time a patient got a new mattress? What a patient is sleeping on could be causing them pain.
How often do they use their cell phone? -- If a patient uses his or her neck to hold their cell phone, they could be putting unnecessary strain on their neck. This pressure could extend down to their back.
If it seems like everyone you know, including yourself, has back pain, you actually might be close to the truth. The cause of all the discomfort? For people over 60, back pain often comes from spinal stenosis, or arthritic wear and tear.