Achy Back? 5 Surprising Causes


ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — About 80 percent of people will have back pain at some point in their lives. This common ailment can keep you from enjoying even the simplest activities. But what’s to blame for all the pain? Learn about five little-known causes.

Back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide.

Michael Seifert, MD, UCF Health shares, “It’s certainly more common in the elderly population but people of working age who are using their backs for their job certainly develop back pain quite frequently.”

What could be causing your back pain? One little-known culprit is stress! Being uptight triggers muscle tension which can lead to aches and spasms. Another possible cause: your diet! A 2014 study found about 31 percent of women and 25 percent of men who had back pain also had digestive problems. Foods high in fat and sugar may produce inflammation in the body. Not drinking enough liquids might also trigger back pain. The discs in your spine are made up of a substance that’s 90 percent water. Smoking is another potential cause. One Northwestern study found smokers are three times more likely to develop chronic back pain. And our last reason: your clothes! Skinny jeans and pencil skirts can constrict movement and strain your back, neck, and shoulders. Opt for looser-fitting clothing.

High heels are another common cause of back pain. Wearing them can throw off your center of gravity, causing you to put strain and stress on your lower back.

Contributors to this news report include: Julie Marks, Field Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.

Free weekly e-mail on Medical Breakthroughs from Ivanhoe. To sign up:


REPORT #2582

BACKGROUND: About 31 million Americans experience low back pain at any given time. Back pain can affect people of all ages, from adolescents to the elderly. Most people with low back pain recover; however, reoccurrence is common and for a small percentage of people the condition will become chronic and disabling. The back is a complicated structure of bones, joints, ligaments and muscles. You can sprain ligaments, strain muscles, rupture disks, and irritate joints, all of which can lead to back pain. While sports injuries or accidents can cause back pain, sometimes the simplest of movements, for example, picking up a pencil from the floor, can have painful results. In addition, arthritis, poor posture, obesity, and psychological stress can cause or complicate back pain. Back pain can also directly result from disease of the internal organs, such as kidney stones, kidney infections, blood clots, or bone loss. It is reported low-back pain costs Americans at least $50 billion in health care costs each year.


PREVENTING BACK PAIN: Back pain prevention isn’t all that difficult, often requiring just a few adjustments that can become second nature. One of the most important things you can do for back pain prevention is to get up and get moving. Muscles are meant to move, says Robin Lustig, DC, a chiropractor at New Jersey Total Health Center in Lodi and Pompton Plains, N.J. “If you aren’t in good shape, you’re more likely to hurt your back and feel pain when you do even simple movements, such as lifting your child from his crib.” A healthy diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, dairy products, and whole grains will keep your digestive tract on track. You don’t want to sleep flat on your back. The best position for sleeping is on your side, and having a supportive mattress and pillow for your head are vital as well. Be sure to work at an ergonomically correct workstation, both at the office and at home, and break up long periods in front of the computer with stretching exercises. You probably don’t realize how much stress can impact your back health. Stress reduction activities are extremely important and can include yoga, meditation, biofeedback, deep breathing, tai chi, and guided imagery.


BACK PAIN BREAKTHROUGH: There is now a new outpatient, minimally-invasive ultrasound surgery that doesn’t include fusing the spine. This surgery uses ultrasound tools that are able to remove specifically targeted structures on a microscopic level. This means the problem tissue or bone is targeted while nerves are spared. With minimal collateral damage, bleeding is reduced, nerves are more fully decompressed, and patients recover quickly and more fully than in traditional minimally-invasive surgeries. Dr. Dilantha Ellegala, a graduate of University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, and a spinal surgeon with Sonospine, describes this new technique as a way to decompress the patient’s nerves, relieve their pain, and improve their symptoms without creating so much instability that they would have to fuse the spine. Ellegala explains that, “Once you have your spine ‘fused’, especially in the lower back or neck, it takes about three months for that bone to fuse.” This means that patients are unable to fully participate in functional activities for at least that length of time.


* For More Information, Contact:

Megan Pabian, Public Relations