Lower back pain is the most common cause of job-related disability in the US according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. A whopping 80% of Americans will experience lower back pain at some point in their life. The pain can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks in mild cases, and 3 months for severe cases. Below are the reasons for lower back pain.
- Ligament and Muscle Injuries
Injuries and strain to the ligaments and muscles supporting your back are the major cause of lower back pain. Usually, you will feel the pain around the muscles surrounding the spine. You will also experience muscle spasms around this area. The pain might move to the buttocks, but rarely further down to the legs.
When pressure is placed on one or more of the nerve roots of the lumbar, you can experience pain in the sciatic nerve. Spinal stenosis, herniated disk, spondylolisthesis and degenerative disc disease are some of the factors that can lead to pressure being applied on the sciatic nerve.
- Herniated Disk
A herniated disk occurs when a disk in the lumbar area thins out or raptures and degenerates to a point where the gel contained in the disk pushes outward. Sometimes, this condition is wrongly referred to as slipped disk. It is a common cause of sciatica and severe back pain.
The fear of pain can actually increase the likelihood of developing chronic low back pain for people with acute lower back pain. The fear also contributes to restricted movement for the patient. Consequently, they see themselves as more disabled than they actually are.
- Degenerative Disc Disease
This is not really a disease but a description of the normal wear and tear in your spinal discs as you grow older. Spinal discs are compressible, soft discs that separate the vertebrae of the spine. They basically act as the shock absorbers of the spine. As you age, the discs tend to dry and crack and develop ruptures, tears and bulges. The discs around the lower back are particularly susceptible. When this happens, you will experience lower back pain.
Aging, back injuries, wear and tear, herniated discs, surgeries and fractures can cause osteoarthritis. This is a condition characterized by the destruction of cartilage between the joints of the spine. This makes the joints of your spine brittle and painful. This is one of the major reasons for lower back pain.
- Spinal Stenosis
This is the narrowing of the spinal canal in the neck. It is caused by age-related changes in the size and shape of the spinal canal. For this reason, it is most common in people who are 50 years and older. Since the spinal cord runs from the base of the brain to the lower back, you can experience lower back pain as a result of this condition.
Your spine is made up of a series of interconnected bones called the lumbar vertebra. Spondylolisthesis is a condition where one of these bones slips over another below it. In adults, it is caused by degenerative diseases such as arthritis.
This is the thinning of bones as a result of the calcium levels decreasing to a point where they’re fragile and prone to fracturing. Osteoporosis can only cause lower back pain if the vertebrae collapses suddenly as a result of the weakened bones.
To deal with lower back pain consider seeking medical attention. Your doctor could recommend treatment options that might include physiotherapy sessions.