Did you know that at some point in our lives, 80% of us will experience low back pain of some kind? In fact, a quarter of people will report that they have a symptom of low back pain in the prior three months. Low back pain is a significant problem in the United States because it not only affects the health of so many Americans, but it can have a detrimental effect on the economy as well. Low back pain has been attributed to a significant amount of lost work days and labor hours, and it is a leading cause for work-related disability.
Low back pain is one of the most common reasons why Dr. J. Kevin Kaufman sees patients. Any injury to the lower back could produce anything from mild pain to debilitating spasms that affect a patient’s ability to complete normal tasks at work and at home. In fact, according to the National Institute of Health, low back pain actually ranks third behind cardiovascular disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) for conditions that increase the likelihood of mortality or poor health, making it a major problem (and a very costly problem) for the United States.
There are various causes for why low back pain will occur in patients. Unfortunately, one of the most common causes for low back pain is age-related disc degeneration. Over the years, mechanical stress and strain can affect the ability of the discs in your back to cushion the various movements and bends your do every day. Without these discs, the vertebrae would grind against one another, so any lost in integrity of these discs will produce significant pain. In addition to disc degeneration, spinal stenosis, a herniated disk, scoliosis, traumatic injury, and radiculopathy are all common causes of acute and chronic back pain.
In many cases, though, low back pain will be caused by some sort of a muscle strain or ligament strain that produces acute pain or reduces flexibility of movement. These strains can cause pain that lasts a few days to even a few weeks or more without proper medical care. You can strain your back at any age from lifting something improperly or making a sudden awkward movement, and an untreated strain can result in worsened and chronic pain down the road.
Therefore, it’s important if you begin to experience low back pain of any kind, numbness in the low back or buttock area, or general restriction of movement to speak with a healthcare professional in your area as soon as possible.
Are you familiar with the term Spinal Osteoarthritis? For many individuals, this term is a bit of a mouthful and most likely not something they hear every day. However, spinal osteoarthritis, or arthritis of the back is a serious issue that many Americans suffer from each day. It is important for people to remain educated on Spinal Osteoarthritis so they know how to manage it not just for themselves if they have it, but for other loved ones as well. Here are 3 things you should know about Spinal Osteoarthritis.
- Who is at risk? The first thing you are probably wondering is “Am I or another loved on at risk?” It is important to identify who is most at risk for Spinal Osteoarthritis. This medical condition is most common in individuals over the age of 45, however, it can still occur in those younger than 45. Men are typically at a higher risk of developing Spinal Osteoarthritis, especially if they are younger. Overweight individuals and individuals who are active in sports that could add more stress to certain joints are also at a higher risk.
- The symptoms. Everyone experiences mild back pain at some point of their life. It is completely normal to feel a little bit of pain after being on your feet for a prolonged period of time. However, if you have Spinal Osteoarthritis that pain may be much more severe. Some other symptoms include stiffness in the neck or back, weakness or numbness in arms and legs, and swelling. Individuals may also experience emotional and social issues because severe Spinal Osteoarthritis can hinder their ability to perform daily tasks, which in turn may make the individual feel depressed or isolated.
- Treatment options. If you think you may have Spinal Osteoarthritis, schedule an appointment with your doctor. Top-notch neurosurgeons such as Dr. J Kevin Kaufman specialize in treating these medical conditions. Your doctor may schedule you to receive X-rays, an MRI, and bloodwork to help determine the diagnosis. The good news is that there are many treatment options available for Spinal Osteoarthritis. Some of the best treatment options include strengthening exercises, maintaining a healthy diet and losing excess weight, and for more severe cases, surgery. Check with your doctor for help in identifying which treatment plan is best for you.
Spinal Osteoarthritis is nothing to be afraid of. In fact, it is a common medical condition especially in middle-aged and older Americans. By staying educated on what it is and knowing the signs and symptoms, you will be able to make better decisions about your health and receive a proper diagnosis along with treatment options that will help relieve the back pain of you or a loved one that may currently be suffering.