What are the risk factors for back pain?
Anyone can have back pain however, there are a number of factors that can increase your risk. They include age, fitness level, diet, genetics, race, cigarette smoking, the presence of other diseases and occupational risk factors.
Typically the first attack of low back pain occurs between the ages of 30 and 40 and becomes more common with age. Back pain is also more common among people who are not physically fit. Weak back and abdominal muscles may not properly support the spine. A diet high in calories and fat can lead to potential obesity which can add stress to the back. Some conditions that cause back pain such as ankylosing spondylitis, a form of arthritis, are caused by genetics and are therefore hereditary.
Race may be a factor in back problems. For example, African American women are two to three times more likely than white women to develop spondylolisthesis, a condition in which a vertebra of the lower spine slips out of place. If you already have osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or cancer, these conditions may cause back pain. Having a job that carries risk factors such as heavy lifting, pushing and pulling can up your risks for developing back pain. Smoking increases your risk as well of developing back pain.
What can I do to help my acute back pain?
Acute back pain is back pain that lasts less than six weeks. Injury or accidents are a common cause like getting tackled on the football field or falling from a ladder. If you develop back pain after a serious injury, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible so he may evaluate the damage and provide prompt treatment. However, if it is mild, try an aspirin or ibuprofen. Although you may be tempted, don't try and immobilize yourself until the pain ceases. Staying active will keep up blood flow and not allow you to grow stiff. A hot or cold pack can be used to treat sore and stiff packs and can be found at the pharmacy or drug store. Do not exercise vigorously with acute back pain as you may cause further damage to your back. Ask your doctor when or what is safe.