Lower back pain is a common cause of visits to the doctor. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), low back pain is the most common cause of job-related disability. At least 80 percent of Americans will experience low back pain in their lifetime. Most low back pain is the result of an injury, such as muscle sprains or strains due to sudden movements or poor body mechanics while lifting heavy objects. Low back pain can also be the result of certain diseases, such as:
cancer of the spinal cord
a ruptured or herniated disc
infections of the spine
Acute back pain can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, while chronic back pain is pain that lasts longer than three months. Low back pain is more likely to occur in individuals between the ages of 30 and 50. This is partly due to the changes that occur in the body with aging. As you grow older, there’s a reduction in the fluid content between the vertebrae in the spine. This means discs in the spine experience irritation more easily. You also lose some muscle tone, which makes the back more prone to injury. This is why strengthening your back muscles and using good body mechanics is helpful in preventing low back pain.
What are the causes of low back pain? Strains The muscles and ligaments in the back can stretch or tear due to excess activity. Symptoms include pain and stiffness in the lower back, as well as muscle spasms. Rest and physical therapy are remedies for these symptoms. Disc injury The discs in the back are prone to injury. This risk increases with age. The outside of the disc can tear or herniate. A herniated disc, which is also known as a slipped or ruptured disc, occurs when the cartilage surrounding the disc pushes against the spinal cord or nerve roots. The cushion that sits between the spinal vertebrae extends outside its normal position. This can result in compression of the nerve root as it exits from the spinal cord and through the vertebral bones. Disc injury usually occurs suddenly after lifting something or twisting the back. Unlike a back strain, pain from a disc injury usually lasts for more than 72 hours. Sciatica Sciatica can occur with a herniated disc if the disc presses on the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve connects the spine to the legs. As a result, sciatica can cause pain in the legs and feet. This pain usually feels like burning, or pins and needles. Spinal stenosis Spinal stenosis is when the spinal column narrows, putting pressure on the spinal cord and spinal nerves. Spinal stenosis is most commonly due to the degeneration of the discs between the vertebrae. The result is compression of the nerve roots or spinal cord by bony spurs or soft tissues, such as discs. Pressure on the spinal nerves causes symptoms such as:
You might feel these symptoms anywhere in the body. Many people with spinal stenosis notice their symptoms worsen when standing or walking. Abnormal spine curvatures Scoliosis, kyphosis, and lordosis are all conditions that cause abnormal curvatures in the spine. These are congenital conditions that are usually first diagnosed during childhood or adolescence. The abnormal curvature causes pain and poor posture because it places pressure on:
Other conditions There are a number of other conditions that cause lower back pain. These conditions include:
Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints.
Fibromyalgia is long-term pain and tenderness in the joints, muscles, and tendons.
Spondylitis is inflammation of the joints between the spinal bones.
Spondylosis is a degenerative disorder that may cause loss of normal spinal structure and function. Although aging is the primary cause of the condition, the location and rate of degeneration are specific to the individual.
Additional health conditions that can cause lower back pain include: Kidney and bladder problems
Suitable for: 1. Prolapsed lumbar intervertebral discs. 2. Abnormal function of small joints of a lumbar vertebra. 3. Hyperplasia of the lumbar vertebra. 4. Long time driving or sitting. 5. Scoliosis and spondylolisthesis. 6. Low back pain caused by obesity. 7. Degenerative discs.