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There are many reasons for backache or back pain so the exact cause is often difficult to identify. The lower back carries the weight and stresses of the body so is easily overused. Every movement puts a strain on the spine and particularly the lower spine, where most refer to when talking about backache.
the lower back has several functions besides carrying the upper body. Bending extending and rotating at the waist, and carrying and protecting the nervous system all involve the lower back.
Lumbar strain is caused by stretching and damage to tendons and ligaments and nerves may become trapped or impinged by muscles (e.g. sciatica)
Modern life style means we have become much more sedentary and spend a lot of time sitting, perhaps at a desk, watching television or driving a car. The body was designed to move so any static occupation can cause a problem.
With many backaches the problems are derived from shortened and tightened muscles. Imagine sitting; the muscles in your lower back shorten as your hip joints are flexed. Over a period of time the muscles start to lose their elasticity and tend to remain shortened. When you stand up the effect is to try and return the muscles to their original length. Since the muscles have lost the ability to stretch back to their full length, the spine cannot return to it's natural position so their is now a permanent conflict between the lower spine and muscles which leads to low back pain.
With appropriate stretching, strengthening and postural exercises, it is quite possible to reduce, or even cure, muscular causes of low back ache.
Other causes of back ache include arthritis, pregnancy, fibromyalgia, osteoporosis and ankylosing spondylitis. With these a relaxing massage may reduce the pain for short periods.
People at risk
- Computer users
- Checkout workers