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Causes of chronic pain in back and shoulders are complicated

It's been a couple of months since we wrote in detail about back injuries and the disabling pain they can cause.

In our September 27 post, we noted that there is new research about how neural connections in the brain may be able to signal when back pain is likely to become chronic.

In this post, let's look at some of the causes of chronic pain in the back and shoulders. This pain can get so severe that it becomes a disabling condition.

Doctors who work in rehabilitative medicine point out that the shoulders are a much more complex area of the body than most people realize. The nerves and tendons there can be conduits for pain caused in many different ways.

For example, pain in the upper back and shoulder area may actually be caused by a neck injury.

There is also the fact that back pain can be the result of several different factors. These could include:

  • Prior injury
  • Aging
  • Poor posture
  • Other factors

The other factors range from overuse of shoulder muscles and tendons to underuse of those same muscles and tendons.

Poor posture is a pervasive factor because our society so often lacks good ergonomic practices. Looking down at a computer, for example, tends to make neck muscles less supple. The result can be greater susceptibility to pain in the joints, as well as the back and neck.

High stress levels only make such problems worse. And our society is often awash in stress, especially in the workplace.

In short, back and neck pain is a complex phenomenon that often has multiple causes. But the potentially disabling consequences of this pain cannot be denied.

Source: Dallas Morning News, "Special Focus: Back and Joint Health," Daphne Howland, Nov. 4, 2013

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