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Diseases and Conditions that Cause Low Back Pain
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Low back pain occurs in nearly everyone at some time or another.  Both men and women are affected.  The age it occurs most often is between 30 and 50.  This is due in part to the aging process and as a result of sedentary life styles with too little exercise.  Low back pain may also occur from over-exertion or too much exercise.  Back pain associated with disc disease or spinal degeneration increases with age.

Pre-teen children have a low occurrence of low back pain unrelated to injury or other known cause.  A backpack overloaded with schoolbooks and supplies can strain the back and cause muscle fatigue for pre-teen children.  It is estimated that more than 13,260 injuries related to backpacks are treated at doctors’ offices, clinics, and emergency rooms annually.

Children and pre-teens can avoid back strain by:

•    Bending both knees when lifting heavy packs
•    Visit their locker or desk between classes to lighten loads or replace books
•    Purchase a backpack or airline tote on wheels

Diseases and Conditions associated with low back pain include:

•    Bulging disc (or protruding, herniated, or ruptured disc).  Studies show most herniated discs occur in the lower, lumbar portion of the spinal column.
•    Cauda equine syndrome:  A more serious complication of a ruptured disc.  Permanent neurological damage may result if left untreated.
•    Sciatica:  A herniated or ruptured disc presses on the sciatic nerve and causes shock-like or burning low back pain along with pain through the buttocks and down one leg to below the knee, sometimes reaching the foot.  In severe cases, and when the nerve is pinched between the disc and an adjacent bone, symptoms are not pain but numbness and some loss of motor control over the leg.  This condition may also be caused by a tumor, a cyst, metastatic disease, or degeneration of the sciatic nerve root.    
•    Spinal degeneration:  From disc wear and tear can lead to a narrowing of the spinal canal.  Symptoms may be stiffness in the back upon awakening or  pain after walking or standing for a long time.
•    Spinal stenosis: Is related to congenital narrowing of the bony canal and may cause some people to have pain related to disc disease.
•    Osteoporosis:  A metabolic bone disease recognized by progressive decrease in bone density and strength.  Fracture of brittle, porous bones in the spine and hips may result.  Women are four times more likely than men to develop osteoporosis.  Caucasian women of northern European heritage are at the highest risk.
•    Skeletal irregularities:  Produce strain on the vertebrae and supporting muscles, tendons, ligaments and tissues supported by spinal column.  Irregularities include scoliosis, kyphosis, and lordosis.
•    Fibromyalgia:  Chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and multiple tender points in the neck, spine, shoulders and hips.  Other symptoms may include sleep disturbances, morning stiffness and anxiety.
•    Spondylitis:  Chronic back pain and stiffness caused by a severe infection to or inflammation of the spinal joints.
•    Sacroiliitis:  Inflammation in the sacroiliac joints
•    Osteomyelitis:  Infection in the bones of the spine

Source:  National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Disclaimer:  These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  The information in this article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.  All health concerns should be addressed by a qualified health care professional.   

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© 2007 Connie Limon All Rights Reserved  

By Connie Limon
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