Moving in different motions is something that our bodies are always doing, and unfortunately our backs seem to take the brunt of these different motions. Humans are built to be able to move about at all times, but sadly the normal use of the body causes wear and tear. The result of wear and tear certainly does not mean to be stagnant and not move, because quite frankly not being active can actually cause even more pain and problems. Next is going to be a list of five ways motion causes back pain.
Strained muscles from twisting motions
Many times the pain that you have in your back is not actually as a result of the bones in your spine, though sometimes it may feel like it. Frequently, the muscles and ligaments surrounding the actual spine are what causes the pain. When you twist your lower back, you have the risk of overstretching or tearing any of the muscles or supporting ligaments around your spine. The result of the overstretching or tearing causes inflammation and ultimately low back pain and/or spasms.
The back has an important job of always being in motion and carrying the entire weight of the torso. Because of the duties the back has, it is more prone to injury such as a disc herniation. A herniated disc is when a problem occurs with one of the rubbery cushions (discs) that sit between the individual bones (vertebrae) that stack to make your spine. When a disc herniates it can irritate a nearby nerve. Many people have herniated discs but do not have any symptoms, it is only when it is irritating or pushing against a nerve that it causes symptoms that can be quite significant. The lowest discs most commonly affected are the L4-5 and L5-S1.
Performing repetitive motions, such as those required of athletes, often leads to the breakdown of cartilage (or osteoarthritis). The cartilage that breaks down is in between the facet joints – facet joints are little knuckles that stud the back of your spine which allow your spine to move. With the breakdown the facet joints become inflamed, which essentially causes pain. Symptoms of cartilage breakdown include:
- Stiffness and pain in the lower back especially in the morning and at night
- Decreased pain during the day as the normal movements stir fluid to lubricate the joints
- Low back pain that radiates into the pelvis, buttocks, and/or thighs
Degenerative disc disease is a condition that happens when one or more of the discs between the vertebrae of the spinal column deteriorates or breaks down – this ultimately leads to pain the back. Regardless of the name, it is not actually a disease but rather a normal and natural occurrence in the body. The discs in between the vertebrae normally allow for flexing and bending of the back, sort of like shock absorbers. But, with time they become worn and they can no longer offer as much protection as they once were able to. Symptoms include:
- Low back pain that generally worsens with prolonged sitting or holding stationary positions
- Pain which increases with certain movements such as bending, lifting, or twisting
Over time, with excessive motions in your spine it can lead to inflammation and enlarged spinal joints. This can lead to joint instability and cause small, irregular growth to form on the bone which are called bone spurs. The bone spurs can possibly overtime become big enough to reduce joint motion and inevitably cause swelling and stiffness. Bone spurs do not generally cause pain, rather they become bothersome if they are irritating or pressing against a spinal nerve.
Lifestyle modifications are one of the most beneficial things that can be done to help any back pain. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in four American adults spend more than eight hours a day sitting. When you have back pain for any sort of reason, sitting can certainly increase and irritate this. At FlexiSpot, they provide desks that allow you to adjust your positions to be either sitting or standing. Changing positions from sitting to standing and vice versa frequently can help to alleviate back pain. Changing positions at least every 30 minutes can help to reduce pain/discomfort. Another product that can be purchased through FlexiSpot is a desk bike. There are many benefits for a desk bike for back health which include:
- Exercise on a bike provides a gentle, low impact workout without putting much stress on the spine
- A desk bike may actually be more comfortable for some back conditions
- Using a bike helps to strengthen muscle groups which helps to improve back support
- A bike helps to improve muscular flexibility and range of motion
- A study has shown that patients reported being in less pain after using a bike than they did before they used it