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What Is Causing My Back Pain?

Approximately 80% of all people will experience back pain at some point in their life. The majority of time this pain will be mechanical back pain, which is pain originating from the structures in the spine itself or surrounding soft tissues. However, 5-6% of adults in the US will have back pain that is considered “inflammatory” and is called axial spondyloarthritis (or arthritis of the spine).

Axial Spondyloarthritis (AxSpa) is an Inflammatory disease that affects the joints causing pain and stiffness. It typically presents as chronic back pain and begins before the age of 45, affecting more men than women. Most commonly affect the low back but can also include peripheral inflammation of the hips, shoulder, cartilage between the ribs, heels, and sternum, as well as the tendons and ligaments that connect to the bones of the spine. There is no cure for AxSpa but treatments can lessen symptoms and slow progression of the disease. Men are affected more than women. There is no known cause but genetic factors may play a role in some cases. Many people with AxSpa have more pain in the morning and at the end of the day but feel better with movement.

There are a variety of conditions that may be associated with AxSpa including:

Eye inflammation

Compression fractures

Aortic inflammation causing heart issues

Inflammatory bowel disease


Restrictive pulmonary disease due to diminished chest wall and spinal mobility


Postural changes over time including a rounded spine

Treatment options include a team based approach. Your physician may prescribe medications targeting the inflammation. A physical therapist can help offer exercises to maintain your spinal mobility and range of motion. They can also offer activity modification recommendations including workplace ergonomics to prevent painful positions that lead to pain and disability over time.

Yoga is a great activity for persons suffering from AxSpa. Meditation and relaxation breathing can help with lung expansion and calm the nervous system. Many of the poses and flow series can decrease stiffness and restore mobility. A regular yoga practice can help prevent many of the disabling impairments caused by chronic effects pf AxSpa.

Our team at Radect is here to help and can help implement lifestyle practices that lessen the severity of AxSpa symptoms and slow the progression.

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