Common Causes of Back Pain
Back pain is a symptom that can arise from many causes. It can range from a dull, annoying ache to absolute agony. Many cases of back pain are caused by stresses or injuries to the muscles, ligaments, joints, and discs that support the spine. Sedentary jobs and lifestyles may create a vulnerability to this type of stress or damage. Obesity, which increases both the weight on the spine and the pressure on the discs, is another factor. General loss of flexibility commonly associated with the aging process may contribute to stiffness and certain types of back related pain. Repetitive work tasks, faulty ergonomics, improper lifting or strenuous recreational / sports activities may also injure the back. Smoking is also a known risk factor that is associated with back problems and pain.

Treatment and Care Options
Staying active combined with appropriate exercise, various types of spinal manipulation/adjustment, and education are often the primary modes of therapy. Nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs – alone or in combination with steroid injections, analgesics, muscle relaxants, or anti-depressants are sometimes added to the therapy program by medical physicians. Acute back pain often goes away by itself in a few days or weeks. However there is a high risk of reoccurrence. An ice bag, hot moist pack or topical analgesic applied to the back may also help to alleviate pain. Prolonged bed rest is not beneficial and may be counterproductive because it weakens muscles and may prolong the healing process. Your chiropractor or medical physician should be notified immediately if there is no relief from pain after a few days, if pain is severe or recurs, if radiating pain, numbness, tingling, or weakening occurs in the arms or legs, if bowel or bladder dysfunction occurs, if a child or elderly person has back pain, or if fever and/or vomiting occurs with back pain.

Prognosis
You should consult your chiropractor for recommendations for preventing initial and recurring episodes of back pain. Specific advice to help prevent ongoing future back problems may include: periodic chiropractic adjustments as necessary combined with regular exercise, stretching before participation in sporting or strenuous activities, quitting smoking, losing weight, maintaining correct posture with adequate lumbar support when sitting, while driving, or while working at the computer, sleeping on the side with knees drawn up or on the back with a pillow under bent knees, lifting by bending at the knees rather than the waist, avoiding sitting, standing or working in any one position for too long, and reducing emotional stress that may cause muscle tension.