There are many common causes of lower back pain, including underlying chronic conditions:
The muscles and ligaments in the back can stretch or tear due to excess activity. Furthermore, sudden movements can also cause sprains or strains which can result to having symptoms including pain and stiffness in the lower back as well as muscle spasms.
The discs in the back are prone to injury, and this risk increases with age. The outside of the discs can tear or herniate and this is also known as a slipped or ruptured disc. It occurs when the cartilage surrounding a disc pushes against the spinal cord or nerve roots. This leads to the cushion between the spinal vertebrae being outside its usual position. It can result in the nerve root becoming compressed as it exits the spinal cord and vertebrae, possibly causing trauma and degenerative changes over time. Without treatment, pain from a herniated disc will typically last up to 6 weeks.
The sciatic nerve connects the spine to the legs. If a herniated disc presses on the sciatic nerve, sciatica can occur. Sciatica can cause leg or foot pain that usually feels like burning, or pins and needles.
Spinal stenosis causes the spaces in your spine to narrow, putting pressure on the spinal cord and spinal nerves. It is also commonly associated with the degeneration of the discs between the vertebrae. This results in the 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 they stand or walk.
Conditions that cause unusual curvatures in the spine include:
These are often present at birth and are usually first diagnosed during childhood or adolescence. The unusual curvature can cause pain and poor posture because it places pressure on the muscles, tendons, ligaments and vertebrae. However, some people may not have any pain or symptoms.
Several other conditions can cause lower back pain. They’re usually accompanied by additional symptoms.
They include (all associated with musculoskeletal pain):
Low back pain is typically characterized by a combination of the following symptoms:
Pain that remains within the low back (axial pain) is usually described as dull and aching rather than burning, stinging, or sharp. This kind of pain can be accompanied by mild or severe muscle spasms, limited mobility, and aches in the hips and pelvis.
Sometimes low back pain includes a sharp, stinging, tingling or numb sensation that moves down the thighs and into the low legs and feet, also called Sciatica. Sciatica is caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve, and is usually only felt on one side of the body.
Sitting puts pressure on the discs, causing low back pain to worsen after sitting for long periods of time. Walking and stretching can alleviate the pain quickly, but returning to a sitting position may cause symptoms to return.
Symptoms caused by repetitive motions or stress-inducing positions tend to come on slowly and progressively worsen. Pain may develop after certain activities or at the end of a long day, and may feel like a constant ache.
Low back pain caused by degenerative disc disease can be felt off and on, but pain flare-ups get progressively more severe over a long period of time.
Sudden or jarring movements can damage the spine and its supportive muscles, causing immediate, acute pain.
Research shows that spinal manipulation can help relieve pain and improve function in people with low-back pain. In 90% of cases the lower back pain symptoms you experience are caused by an underlying problem. If you identify the root cause of your symptoms you’ll not only be able to eliminate the pain you currently feel but learn what you can do to keep it away for as long as possible. If you have any of these symptoms, contact us and schedule in an appointment.
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