Back pain ranks just behind cold and flu as the main reason people go to the doctor, but back pain isn’t always due to a problem in the back. Issues originating in other parts of the body can play a role in aches and pains felt in your back area–meaning pain won’t go away until contributing factors are also addressed.
Like it or not, the natural process of aging can contribute to spine pain as supporting discs experience some degree of wear and tear. While nothing can prevent degeneration, maintaining an active lifestyle and eating foods that naturally fight inflammation can minimize discomfort. According to Los Angeles spine surgeons, arthritis and similar age-related conditions can also contribute to back pain.
Smoking and Alcohol
Reduced oxygen levels in the tissues supporting the backbone make smoking a habit that’s not conducive to optimal spine health. There’s also evidence suggesting that chemicals in cigarette smoke may affect blood vessels and how nutrients are delivered to the spine. Excessive alcohol consumption can also contribute to spine pain by affecting muscles and nerves.
While some level of stress is normal, prolonged anxiety can make muscles supporting the spine tight or stiff. Individuals experiencing some degree of depression are less likely to get regular exercise, pay attention to their diet, or follow doctors’ recommendations. Stress and anxiety can also make it difficult to maintain a normal sleep schedule, which means less time for spinal tissues to naturally mend.
Whether it’s an ankle sprain or a condition like plantar fasciitis, anything that alters how you stand or walk can impact your spine. Such conditions can place added stress on muscles and change how your spine aligns with your lower body. Wearing excessively high heels and shoes lacking sufficient support can also throw off spinal alignment.
Determining the actual source of spine pain can be hit or miss if there’s not a clear mechanical issue like a herniated disc. Once other possible factors are identified, treatment can be expanded to address both symptoms affecting the spine and contributing issues.
While most back-related pain will improve with time or rest, chronic back pain that affects everyday living should be examine by a board-certified spine surgeon who can recommend non-surgical options for pain relief. To learn more about treatment options for back pain, please call The Spine Institute at (310) 828-7757 and schedule a consultation today.