All of us experience pain in our backs, necks and knees at some point during our lives. These aches and pains are a normal part of life, and are usually caused by lifestyle factors such as posture or exertion. Other causes of pain include the following:
- Ergonomics: Computer use is an inevitable part of modern day living, but most people do not have computer workstations that are designed to minimize strain. Pain in the back, knees and neck can result from a keyboard at the wrong angle, a monitor that is not eye level, a chair that is not at the right height, and a host of other factors.
- Exercise: Individuals who do not use proper form when exercising place themselves at risk of pain. Those who ramp up their exercise too quickly after a period of inactivity can give themselves overuse injuries that affect the knees or spine.
- Injury: Accidents and injuries can cause back, neck and knee pain, even if the primary site of the injury is a different part of the body.
- Sleep: Poor sleep posture or a mattress that is too soft or too firm can cause pain.
- Medical conditions: Some medical conditions can cause pain in the back, neck and knees. These include arthritis and degenerative bone disease.
How pain can affect your life
Even mild pain can have profound impact on daily living. Not only does it affect one’s ability to move around and maintain an active lifestyle, in some cases it can affect sleep and overall health. People with chronic pain frequently report coexisting headaches, or pains in other parts of the body that result from overcompensation or limping.
Pain in the back, neck and knees can generally be treated with rest, medication and physical therapy. In some serious cases, though, the pain can have long-term consequences, including loss of mobility and the need for invasive surgery.
How do I know there’s a problem?
It can be difficult to tell if neck, back or knee pain will go away on its own, or if there is a serious problem. Your pain may need some attention if:
- There is no relief without the aid of medication for several days
- Neck or back pain is accompanied by headaches, fever or impaired vision
- Neck or back pain is accompanied by tingling or shooting pains in the arms or legs
- You experience new bowel or bladder problems, or you suddenly lose weight
- Knee pain is accompanied by severe swelling
- You cannot flex your knee or support weight on it
- The pain occurs after an accident or injury