Back pain can range from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp pain that makes it hard to move. It can start quickly if you fall or lift something too heavy, or it can get worse slowly.

Who Gets Back Pain?

Anyone can have back pain, but some things that increase your risk are:

• Getting older. Back pain is more common the older you get. You may first have back pain when you are 30 to 40 years old.
• Poor physical fitness. Back pain is more common in people who are not fit.
• Being overweight. A diet high in calories and fat can make you gain weight. Too much weight can stress the back and cause pain.
• Heredity. Some causes of back pain, such as ankylosing spondylitis, a form of arthritis that affects the spine, can have a genetic component.
• Other diseases. Some types of arthritis and cancer can cause back pain.
• Your job. If you have to lift, push, or pull while twisting your spine, you may get back pain. If you work at a desk all day and do not sit up straight, you may also get back pain.
• Smoking. Your body may not be able to get enough nutrients to the disks in your back if you smoke. Smoker’s cough may also cause back pain. People who smoke are slow to heal, so back pain may last longer.

What Are the Causes of Back Pain?

There are many causes of back pain. Mechanical problems with the back itself can cause pain. Examples are:
• Disk breakdown
• Spasms
• Tense muscles
• Ruptured disks

Injuries from sprains, fractures, accidents, and falls can result in back pain.

Back pain can also occur with some conditions and diseases, such as:
• Scoliosis
• Spondylolisthesis
• Arthritis
• Spinal stenosis
• Pregnancy
• Kidney stones
• Infections
• Endometriosis
• Fibromyalgia.

Other possible causes of back pain are infections, tumors, or stress.


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