Mechanical vs Inflammatory Back Pain: A Guy’s Guide

September is Arthritis Awareness Month, and a very important month it is. Though most of us think about arthritis as something that only touches older generations, few guys actually know how to take care of their own bodies when it comes to joint care, and end up making their back problems a lot worse before they make it better. Most men report having some serious back pain in their life.

Mechanical back pain (MBP) is the back pain everyone knows, or think they do. Caused by overuse or improper use of the muscles surrounding the vertebral column, it can be brought on by things as simple as poor posture or a bad seat at work. Lifting something the wrong way or acquiring an injury can also cause MBP. The pain associated with this condition is throbbing or aching, and though it can strike quick, will also usually subside with rest. It’s no picnic though, since hurting yourself once can make you more prone to repeated injury.

Inflammatory Back Pain (IBP) is a whole different monster. IBP is brought on by underlying autoimmune disease, and if not caught early, can lead to chronic pain and very serious damage. If your back pain seems to subside with physical activity and exercise, has gradually increased over periods as long as three months, won’t stop with rest, and has proven itself to be most present at night and after you wake up, you could have IBP and should talk to your doctor. Catching IBP early is crucial, and can be treated if caught before leading to irreversible damage.

Ankylosing Spondylitis, a type of IBP, is actually most common in men, and first appears between the ages of 15 and 30. But this isn’t the only type of back pain men need to watch out for. Mistaking IBP with MBP can lead to some serious complications down the road. It’s time to learn more.

Don’t trick yourself into thinking any and all back pain is from wear and tear or working out too hard. Distinguishing the different types of back pain you could face is very important, and early diagnosis is key. If you’d like to learn more, take this 30 second quiz to help with a self-diagnosis, and definitely see a doctor for a formal assessment.

It’s your spine. Take care of it.

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