Back Pain: Ten things you may not know about it
Back pain (also known as backache) is a very common problem and often goes away on its own; but be alert to dangerous causes such as cancer, infection and inflammation.
Here are ten things you may not know about back pain:
* Back pain affects 8 out of 10 people at some point in their lives and it costs the United States between $20 and $50 billion yearly.
* Back pain is the most common orthopedic complaint and also the most common cause of disability in people less than 45 years old.
* Low back pain is the second most common reason to visit a doctor in the developed world.
* About 1% of people living in the United States of America are chronically disabled due to back pain.
* Back pain can be felt going down into the buttock, back of the thigh, and below the knee into the calf and ankle. When this happens it is known as â?~sciatica'.
* It is time to see your doctor as an emergency if symptoms of bowel and bladder are present as these may signify compression on the spinal cord.
* Cancers of the breasts, lungs, kidneys, prostates and thyroid glands can present as back pain.
* It may be important for your doctor to examine your abdomen, pelvis, rectum and major arteries when you complain of back pain. This is because; diseases of the abdomen, chest, rectum (rectal cancer) and pelvis may refer to the back of the spinal cord. Sometimes back pain may be the only sign of such serious diseases.
* Back pain can cause emotional problems such as low mood, depression, stress, and anxiety.
* Risk factors for developing back pain include overweight, female gender, older age, previous history of back pain, lack of physical activity, smoking, job dissatisfaction and wide spread pain.
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About the author:
Dr Maduka C Ogwueleka is a practicing physician in the United Kingdom. He is currently writing on series of articles regarding 'ten things you may not know about various diseases'. He is married with two children.