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Back Injury—causes, prevention, recovery

by Cindy Schmidler

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Back Injury—causes, prevention, recovery

Nine out of ten adults will suffer from a back injury at some point in their life. Back injuries (especially lower back or lumbar spine area) are the second leading cause of adults missing work. Many back pain sufferers can be out of work 1-10 weeks during recovery (if they don’t need surgery). The good news is the majority of back injuries heal with time and following good self-care and without surgery.

What are the Symptoms of Back Injury?

If you have a back injury, it can be next to impossible to go about your regular daily activities because of pain. The pain from back injuries can vary in severity. Some people are unable to move at all, while others have discomfort only during strenuous activity or in certain positions. Back pain is not always just in the back. Pain, numbness, and tingling in the buttocks and legs can also be signs of a back injury.

What Causes a Back Injury?

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There are many causes of back injury such as a single traumatic event—a car accident or slip and fall—or cumulative trauma to the back due to obesity or improper exercise or work habits. Many times people don’t know what event or activity caused the back injury. Some back injuries do not become obvious until up to 24 hours after the incident. The most common causes of back injury include:

A person who has suffered a back injury in the past is 50% percent more likely to suffer back pain again in the future. This is often due to nerve damage at the time of initial injury.

Preventing Back Injury

Back injuries commonly happen due to physical activity. However, your health can help prevent or increase your risk of a back injury. Habits you can develop to prevent back injury include:

Recovering from Back Injury

After a back injury it’s important to be proactive in your recovery. Rest is crucial for full recovery. It’s also very important to stay active, and adjust your lifestyle so you can gradually regain the strength and tolerance in your back. If you’re working with a physical therapist, carefully following the recovery plan designed for your abilities will help you to heal more quickly without causing further injury.

Tips for dealing with back injury include:

Good Self-care is Key!

Recovering from a back injury is painful, frustrating, and overwhelming at times. Being mentally and physically prepared to make changes in your life can mean a quicker and less painful recovery. Be sure to involve your doctor, partner, and others that can offer support. Taking care of your physical, mental, and emotional needs is the best way to cope and heal from back injury.

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