Top 8 Risk Factors for Back Pain

Back pain is an all-too-familiar problem. From a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp pain that leaves you incapacitated, back pain can come on suddenly and linger endlessly. It can occur from an accident, a fall, or by lifting something heavy. It can also develop slowly, a result of age-related changes to the spine. Regardless of how back pain begins, you know it when you have it.

Although anyone can have back pain, a number of factors increase your risk. Below are the top 8 risk factors for back pain:

Age – The first attack of low back pain typically occurs between ages 30 and 40. The older you get, the more likely you’ll begin to notice some discomfort.

Fitness Level – Back pain is more common among people who are not physically fit. Weak back and abdominal muscles may not properly support the spine. In addition, consistent activity is critical. People who exercise heavily after being inactive all week are more likely to suffer painful back injuries than those who make moderate daily activity a habit.

Weight – When you carry extra weight, you’re putting added stress on the back.

Occupational Risk Factors – Some jobs just aren’t great for the back. If you have a job that requires heavy lifting, pushing, or pulling – particularly when it involves twisting or vibrating the spine – you run the risk of injury and back pain. An inactive job or a desk job may also lead to or contribute to pain, especially if you have poor posture or sit all day in an uncomfortable chair.

Heredity – It’s hard to escape hereditary issues. Some causes of back pain, such as ankylosing spondylitis, which is a form of arthritis that affects the spine – are tied in to genetics.

Race – Like heredity, race can factor in to your likelihood of developing back problems. African-American women, for example, are twice as likely as white women to develop spondylolisthesis, a condition in which a vertebra of the lower spine—also called the lumbar spine—slips out of place.

Other Diseases – Many diseases can cause or contribute to back pain, including various forms of arthritis such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Cancer can also affect the spine if it spreads from other parts of the body.

Cigarettes – Smoking may not directly cause back pain, but it increases your risk of developing low back pain and low back pain with sciatica (back pain that radiates to the hip and/or leg due to pressure on a nerve). Smoking also slows healing and prolongs pain for people who have had back injuries, back surgery, or broken bones.

Uterine Fibroids 101

What are Uterine Fibroids?

Fibroids – also called leiomyomas – are non-cancerous tumors, or growths, that appear on the walls of the uterus. Although they are composed of the same smooth muscle fibers as the uterine wall (myometrium), they are much denser than normal myometrium.

Uterine fibroids can be all sizes but are usually round. Fibroids have no predictable growth pattern, so some can be very small – like a seed or pea – while others grow large – as big as an orange or small melon – and cause considerable discomfort.

Though fibroids are growths, they are typically not associated with an increased risk of cancer. On rare occasions, malignant growths on the smooth muscles inside the womb, called leiomyosarcoma, can develop.

How Are Fibroids Diagnosed?

To determine if you are suffering from fibroids, your doctor must perform a pelvic exam and ultrasound.

Who is Susceptible to Fibroids?

Uterine fibroids affect at least 20 percent of all women during their lifetime.

Statistics show that women between age 30 and 50 are most likely to suffer from fibroids. The most common time women suffer from fibroids is during a woman’s reproductive years because when estrogen levels are high (as during pregnancy) fibroids swell. As women age and estrogen levels decline (as during menopause) fibroids shrink.

Women who are overweight or obese have a significantly higher risk of developing fibroids. Another key factor is heredity. Women whose mothers or sisters have had fibroids are also at a higher risk of developing them.

What are the Symptoms?

Most women with uterine fibroids will display no symptoms, which is why they often go undetected.

However, fibroid size, location within in the uterus, and proximity to adjacent pelvic organs can cause many painful and inconvenient symptoms. The most common symptoms are abnormal bleeding, pain, and unusual abdominal pressure. Other symptoms include the following:

  • Anemia (resulting from heavy periods)
  • Backache
  • Constipation
  • Difficulties during labor
  • Issues with fertility
  • Lower abdominal discomfort (especially if the fibroids are large)
  • Frequent urination
  • Heavy, painful periods,
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Pain in the legs
  • Pregnancy problems
  • Repeated miscarriages
  • Swelling in the lower abdomen (especially if fibroids are large)

How Do You Treat Fibroids?

The physicians at Indiana Fibroid Center are some of the most experienced in the Midwest at performing Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE).

UFE is an outpatient non-surgical, minimally invasive procedure that effectively treats symptomatic uterine fibroids.

The procedure has a greater than 90 percent success rate at relieving uterine fibroid symptoms and has been performed in the United States for more than 20 years.

Top 7 Varicose Vein Risk Factors

Both men and women are susceptible to varicose veins. In fact, more than half of all people 50 years and older suffer from varicose veins. Vein problems, in total, affect more women than of men, but it’s an issue that is fairly universal.

Several factors impact whether you are susceptible to varicose veins. The following are the top 7 risk factors for developing varicose or spider veins:

Increasing Age
Just like the rest of your body, your veins tend to show their age after a while. As you get older, your veins may weaken and not work as effectively as they once did, resulting in varicose or spider veins.

Medical History
Heredity is a key risk factor. If you have family members with vein problems, the likelihood of you experiencing difficulties increases. You may have simply been born with weak vein valves. Approximately half of all people who have varicose veins have a family member who suffers from them, too. Take a look at your family history – that should give you an indication whether it’s something you need to be concerned about.

Hormonal Changes 
When your hormonal levels fluctuate, your risk for varicose veins increases. During puberty, pregnancy, and menopause are the most natural times of concern. Women who take birth control pills and other medicines containing estrogen and progesterone may also increase the likelihood that varicose and spider veins begin to form.

Of the major hormonal changes, pregnancy can have the greatest impact. During pregnancy, the amount of blood in the body increases substantially. You are supporting new life, after all. Because your uterus is growing, your veins experience added pressure. The blood increase can cause veins to enlarge, hence the appearance of spider veins or varicose veins. The good news is that varicose veins usually improve within three months after delivery. With that being said, more varicose veins and spider veins tend to appear with each additional pregnancy.

Varicose veins and spider veins can increase when you put extra pressure on your veins. Being overweight and carrying around extra weight causes that very thing to happen. Your diet is a critical component of your ability to avoid developing varicose veins.

Lack of Movement 
A sedentary lifestyle – or at least one where you don’t move much throughout the day – is bad news for your veins. When you sit or stand for long periods of time, you may be forcing your veins to work harder to pump blood to your heart. The effects may be even more substantial if you often sit with your legs bent or crossed. You can combat the problem with exercise and, at the very least, taking time throughout the day to just walk around.

Sun Exposure 
People love grabbing some rays, but too much sun is bad news. This is especially true for fair-skinned people. Excessive sun exposure can cause spider veins to appear on cheeks and noses. If you’re going to be out in the sun for a while, make sure you have protection.