5 Common Spinal Problems (And, How to Avoid Them)

There are several common causes of spinal problems. This guide will talk you through the different issues and how you can avoid them.

Did you know that 83 million days of work are lost every year due to back pain? In fact, about 16 million adults, or 8% of Americans, experience chronic or persistent back pain.

Early diagnosis and treatment are essential to avoid the long-term impacts of chronic pain. One of the costliest conditions to treat, back pain is often the result of spinal problems.

If you are interested in treating back pain, it’s important to understand common spinal problems. Keep reading to learn more about five of the most common spinal issues and how you can avoid them.

1. Herniated Disc

The spine has discs, which act as cushions, between each of the spines 33 vertebrae. A herniated disc is a spinal problem caused by a disc that has shifted. This can interfere with the nerves in the spine and cause back pain, numbness, tingling, muscle weakness, and discomfort in the arms and legs.

To prevent a herniated disc, it’s a good idea to maintain a healthy weight, good posture, and regular exercise.

2. Sciatica

Compression of the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back and down each leg, can cause pain and weakness. This nerve damage can create radiating pain in the lower back and legs.

Treatment from a physical therapist or chiropractor can help manage persistent pain from sciatica. Learn more about what pain-relieving services chiropractors can offer. 

3. Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is the most common spinal problem that impacts the back health of older adults. Weakened bones cause the spine to be damaged and brittle. This can result in long-term spinal issues like collapsed vertebrae, fractures, and a hunched posture.

To help protect yourself against osteoporosis and strengthen your bones, it’s a great idea to maintain a healthy diet rich in calcium and vitamin D. Regular activities like walking, running, and strength training can also help bone health.

4. Muscle Strain

Daily activities like sitting at a computer, bad posture, manual labor, and overuse can strain the muscles around your spine. This can cause tightness and pain throughout your neck and back.

Regular strength conditioning and stretching can help prevent muscle strains and future spinal issues.

5. Whiplash

The sudden or jerking motion of the head can quickly strain your neck muscles. Whiplash can also damage discs, joints, and ligaments in the neck. Common symptoms include a stiff neck, headache, fatigue, lower back pain, and dizziness.

While whiplash is usually caused by an accident and can be hard to prevent, icing in the first 24 hours can help treat the injury. Additional treatments like heat, massage, and physical therapy can also help reduce the length of your overall recovery.

How to Avoid Spinal Problems

While spinal problems are not always in our control, there are easy steps you can take to protect yourself from future back pain. Committing to regular exercise, adopting smart eating habits, and building your strength and flexibility are small changes that you can start making today.

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