Back nerve pain is an inadequately understood problem, which is disturbing since four out of five of us are going to experience it at some point in our lives according to the American Chiropractic Association.

woman with back nerve pain

However, this isn’t news to you; you are here because you already have back pain. Perhaps it is too familiar. In a way that we’ve become desensitized, like the way we have with the news. After all, if back pain is just something that happens, it is easy to disregard in the same way we dismiss a cold or a small bruise.

However, unlike a cold or a bruise, back pain doesn’t happen to us randomly. I know it seems that way at times. The pain is brought on by your bad habits, like poor posture, lifting techniques, sports, and other life demands. If you try to ignore the back nerve pain, it will never actually go away and may get worse.

The bottom line is this; you must become more back pain aware if you want to find relief or avoid it altogether. So here are ten facts about back nerve pain that you shouldn’t ignore.

Back Nerve Pain Fact #1: It Can Strike Anyone.

Don’t assume that you are too young to have back pain, or old enough to blame it on age. It is not necessarily hereditary either. In reality, back pain can affect anyone as it has many causes. It can happen to people of all ages, from adolescents to the elderly says Dr. Devon Rubin, M.D. (2007).

Low-Back-Pain-Diagram

Back Nerve Pain Fact #2: A Sign Something is Wrong.

It is not merely a matter of bad luck, like catching a cold. Instead, back pain is almost always a sign of an injury, poor posture and other bad habits, or maybe a degenerative condition that needs medical intervention.

The good news, according to Dr. Jan Hartvigsen and colleagues (2018) is that most cases of back pain are mechanical or non-organic—meaning not caused by severe conditions, such as inflammatory arthritis, infection, fracture or cancer.

Back Nerve Pain Fact #3: Left Untreated, It Gets Worse.

Okay, so not all back pain gets worse. Some studies suggest that back pain rates go down around retirement age says Sandrine Plouvier, professor of epidemiology at the University of Versailles (2011). Others argue the opposite.

Back nerve pain gets worse if you do not treat it and correct bad habits, however. I recommend a book by Dr. John Sarno called Healing Back Pain here. It covers how stress and other psychological factors can cause back pain and how you can be pain-free without drugs, exercise, or surgery.

healing back pain dr sarno

Back Nerve Pain Fact #4: Back Pain Will Heal if Treated Properly.

Don’t assume that back pain is just a part of who you are. Most people with low back pain recover; however, reoccurrence happens when we fall back on our old habits. For a small percentage of people, the condition becomes chronic and disabling (Hartvigsen et al., 2018).

To heal, you need to stretch correctly and do the right exercises. You also need to correct posture, how you look at your computer and smartphone, and how you move to pick things up. Ask your doctor about seeing a physical therapist and an occupational therapist. These professionals help by teaching you the right moves to avoid debilitating back pain.

In the meantime, you can go here to watch a video that shows 7 Simple Core Exercises That Prevent Lower Back Pain.

yoga for low back pain flexor

Back Nerve Pain Fact #5: Pain is a Symptom, Not a Disease.

The pain you feel in your back is a sign that something else is wrong. It is a symptom of something out of alignment, inflammation, degeneration, infection, or something else. Therefore, it is essential to remove the cause of the pain to have lasting relief. Treating only the symptom is not going to cure the underlying issue.

Back Nerve Pain Fact #6: Being Active and Healthy Helps Avoid Pain.

I know this is a sticking point for many, including myself. However, you need to try to maintain a healthy weight and work on muscles that encourage your back to build up, which correct your posture, build bone density, and generally make you less vulnerable to back pain.

Check out The 7 Best Lower Back Pain Exercises and Stretches to get started.

Back Nerve Pain Fact #7: Let Your Back Support Itself.

A lot of you have probably turned to hard mattresses and back braces to provide support and to help the back to be upright at all times. These are great if your doctor recommends them, but they are not long term solutions. Your muscles need to be used to remain active and supportive.

Not moving or using your back enough is as bad as slouching or hunching over. By not being active enough, our muscles waste and that makes your back problems worse.

Your mattress should be medium-firm. Too soft or too hard and your spine is out of alignment while you sleep. I talk about the bed that I recommend here.

Back Nerve Pain Fact #8: The Spine Wants to Heal.

Your spine is probably not as weak as you think. You might be surprised to learn that it is incredibly designed and astonishingly robust. It may have a problem spot somewhere now, but it can and wants to heal back to its healthy state. It just needs the proper input and adjustments.

Back Nerve Pain Fact #9: There is no One Size Fits All Cure.

It is a symptom of another problem, as we have discussed. Work with your medical team to find out the cause and address it. A pill only masks the pain temporarily and could have dangerous side effects. You must treat the back pain at its source instead of relying on band-aid type therapies.

Back Nerve Pain Fact #10: The Best Treatment is the One That Works.

If your pain is unbearable, it’s okay to use drug therapy to ease the pain! Be sure to see your doctor, however, and do not worry about not seeming “genuine.” Just don’t forget about trying to fix the cause of the pain once it’s under control. It is your body, and any method of pain relief is suitable if it helps.

References

Rubin Dl. Epidemiology and Risk Factors for Spine Pain. Neurol Clin. 2007; May;25(2):353-71

Hartvigsen J et al. Low Back Pain Series: What Low Back Pain Is and Why We Need to Pay Attention. Lancet, June 2018; Volume 391, Issue 10137; p2356-2367

Plouvier, Sandrine et al. “Low back pain around retirement age and physical occupational exposure during working life” BMC public health vol. 11 268. 28 Apr. 2011, doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-268