Why Does Everyone Have Lower Back Pain? How Do We Treat It?

Why Does Everyone Have Lower Back Pain? How Do We Treat It?


“For lower back pain, we see a lot of people who are in their late teens or 20-30 age group. The youngest patient I’ve seen is an 11-year-old.” Yep, that’s a doctor talking about how lower back pain is no longer just an elderly problem.

Believe it or not, lower back pain is the most common reason in the world for people to miss work these days. It’s also one of the top reasons for people to see a doctor.

It’s gotten so bad that 3 out of every 4 people experience lower back pain in their lives.

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Youngsters come to us saying they can’t even climb a flight of stairs without exerting themselves or sit for like an hour without having a stiff back.
Dr Steffi Andrat Faria, Physical Medicine & Rehab, MD, AktivHealth

Data shows that whether you’re super fit or unfit, rich or poor the odds of getting back pain are stacked against you.

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Studies show that most people suffer from “nonspecific low back pain.” 
Studies show that most people suffer from “nonspecific low back pain.” 
(Photo: FIT)

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Why Is Lower Back Pain Increasing in Young Adults?

Studies show that most people suffer from "nonspecific low back pain." That means it has no detectable cause like tumor, fracture or bad nerves.

So, what’s causing this gigantic problem?

No points for guessing that the stream, scroll, repeat mode we live in, is kinda stabbing us in the back. Yes, sedentary lifestyle is the culprit. But there’s more to it.

Doctors call it the “biopsychosocial” view of back pain. That means biological aspects like structural or anatomical causes play some role but psychological and social factors also play a big role.

These are factors like hormonal imbalance, mental stress, job dissatisfaction, indigestion, bad posture and sitting for long hours.

The connection between all these factors and the brain is very real.The connection between pain and the brain is also very real. We have a term called ‘central sensitisation’.
Dr Steffi Andrat Faria

It means that when you have for a long time your brain gets sensitised to that pain. And even though the trigger goes away the chronic pain stays for much longer than it should.

Science now suggests that stress is a big cause for a lot of diseases. Studies show that just thinking about a stressful event can dramatically increase tension in our back muscles. So more stress equals more back pain.

There’s also a theory popular with anthropologists. It says that human evolution gave us stiff backs. They argue that evolution made us stand upright on two feet, but the transition from four legs to two brought added pressure, and pain, to our lower back area.

So, is the next step in evolution going to be this?

Human evolution cartoon.
Human evolution cartoon.
(Photo: iStock)

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What Is the Best Treatment for Low Back Pain?

Sometimes, we ignore our pain, thinking it’s going to go away in a while. So, when should you take that pain seriously?

“Right when it starts is the best time.Because when the pain is acute, that is it’s lasting for less than 3 months, it’s easier to treat it than when it becomes chronic. But these days, even in acute cases doctors prescribe too many medications, MRI, CT scans etc,” says Dr Faria.

Several studies argue that surgery, medicines and injections are no good for lower back pain. In fact, in some cases, they can be harmful too.

Alternative therapies for treating lower back pain is the way to go, says science.

(GIF Courtesy: GIPHY)
Go to a professional for alternative therapies like yoga, pilates, acupressure, acupuncture, physical therapy, psychotherapy, massages. 

They all help you stay active and manage your symptoms. Back pain is not something that should confine you to your bed.

However, do whatever you do in consultation with a doctor.

Cameraperson: Abhishek Ranjan and Athar Rather
Camera Assistant: Sumit Badola
Video Editor: Kunal Mehra

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