You no doubt have had back pain at one time or another. You know that it is uncomfortable in a mild case, and totally debilitating when severe. It is such a common injury, you may not have thought much about what was going on physically that caused your back to hurt.
Back pain is a sign that you have over-stressed or strained ligaments, muscles or discs in your back. If you have a herniated disc, the pain can be incredible, feeling like someone is sticking an ice pick or knife into the base of your spine.
Sore muscles, on the other hand, may cause you little more than some discomfort and limited mobility. Doctors report that most patients treated for back pain don't have a serious condition. A little pain reliever and a reduction in physical activity, and the pain goes away.
If you have not experienced back pain before, how likely is it to appear in your future?
"Eighty percent of the population of the United States,
at some point in their life, is going to have back pain,"
says Ronald J. Wisneski, MD, an orthopedic surgeon and specialist in spine surgery and spinal disorders.
The reason why back pain is so common is that your entire upper body is supported by your lower back and your spine. If you are turning from side to side, especially while bending over, and you are lifting or moving something heavy, your lower back is a natural target for pain.
Back pain happens because you have injured a disc, pulled or torn ligaments, or over-stressed your muscles. Because your spine is so important for mobility, it is a good idea to seek medical attention anytime your pain is severe, or lasts more than a couple of days.