Pain in your back or neck pain is common and many different conditions and injuries can cause it. Most pain is temporary, but it can reoccur. It’s often caused by a strained muscle or sprained ligament - perhaps from an activity you’re not used to such as yard work, moving furniture, or sitting for a long time. Less often, pain comes from damage to part of your spine or from a condition you were born with.
It is critical that you learn the best ways to manage your back pain. There are many things that you can do to self-manage your pain and improve your quality of life. Although some individuals may need injections or even surgery, many patients will find relief and improvement through careful and consistent implementation of a self-care program.
Back pain can also come with other symptoms such as numbness, weakness, and stiffness. Symptoms may not be limited to your back or neck - you might feel them in your limbs or other areas of your body.
Who has back and neck pain?
Anyone can have back or neck pain. Still, some things increase your chance of having pain:
- Getting older. The older you are, the more likely you are to have back or neck pain.
- Poor physical fitness. Lack of exercise and poor posture increase your risk of back pain.
- Being overweight. Extra weight puts extra stress on your spine.
- Your job. A job that requires you to lift, push, or pull can be risky. But so can a desk job - especially if you don’t sit up straight or get up very often.
- Smoking. If you smoke, your spine may not withstand injury or heal as quickly as a non-smoker’s.
- Previous injury. An injury you had months or years ago may put you at risk for back problems later on.
- Diseases. Arthritis, osteoporosis, cancer, and some other diseases can increase your chance of having back pain.
- Family history and genetics. Some conditions run in families or ethnic groups.