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What are Common Causes of Back Pain and Weakness?

Article Details
  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 08 October 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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The human back is a complex network of muscles, vertebrae, nerves, ligaments, and joints, which means when one or all of those elements encounter an injury, the entire back, and even the entire body, can be affected. The causes of back pain and weakness can be traced to numerous triggers, but some of the most common causes are muscular strains, sprains, and tears. After such injuries, back pain and weakness are common, and such pains can be difficult to alleviate.

When a muscle in the back is stretched beyond its limits, or an unexpected twist or movement causes the muscles to move unnaturally, a strain in the back can occur, leading to small tears within the muscle. These tears cause different levels of back pain and weakness, depending on the severity of the strain. The same thing can happen to ligaments in the back, which can also cause back pain and weakness. if not dealt with properly, these injuries can lead to other injuries and pains throughout the body, and even lead to atrophying of the back muscles.

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Other back pain and weakness can result from problems with the spine. As vertebrae move over the course of a lifetime, they may wear down or weaken from repeated use. One of the most common problems with the spine is a herniated disc, which occurs when repeated compression of the spine pinches on nerves where they exit the spinal column. This type of injury can cause pain throughout the back and other parts of the body where the particular nerve travels. A herniated disc is a common injury for truckers and other workers who do repeated lifting or strenuous motions.

Women are particularly affected by a disease known as osteoporosis. This disease is characterized by the loss of bone density, which makes the sufferer more prone to bone breaks or fractures. The vertebrae are particularly vulnerable to this disease, as sudden motions such as coughing or sneezing can cause extremely painful fractures and compression of the vertebrae.

One of the most common causes of back pain and weakness, as well as pain in other parts of the body, is arthritis. This degenerative condition happens when cartilage between joints begins to break down. When this happens, bones begin to rub against each other, thereby causing swelling and stiffness. This condition can lead to more serious and painful conditions, such as bone spurs.

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