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What Causes Lower Back Pain?

Updated: Mar 4

According to estimates, 80% of Americans will experience lower back pain at one point in their lives.

Unfortunately, knowing you are in good company does not make low back pain less uncomfortable or disruptive. Back pain can get so bad for some people that it significantly affects their quality of life and day to day functioning.

What are the causes of lower back pain? Read more on that here.

1. Deformity

Curvature of the spine can include kyphosis, lordosis or scoliosis. If a deformity is associated with the breakdown of discs, stenosis, facet joints and sacroiliac joints, it can also cause lower back pain.

2. Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis results from the wear and tear of facet joints and discs. This can cause instability, pain, inflammation and stenosis to some degree. Osteoarthritis can occur on multiple levels of the lower spine.

Spinal osteoarthritis is also known as degenerative joint disease. It's associated with ageing and is slowly progressive.

3. Pregnancy

Many women will experience some back pain during pregnancy. This pain is linked to multiple factors of pregnancy.

The first is weight gain. Women add weight during pregnancy, and the weight of the baby and the uterus adds more pressure to the nerves and blood vessels surrounding the pelvis and the back. This can cause discomfort.

Other causes are changes in posture as a pregnant woman tries to adjust to the shifting centre of gravity, muscle separation and hormonal changes that occur in pregnancy.

4. Spinal stenosis

The pain from spinal stenosis comes from narrowing of the spinal canal where nerve roots sit. This narrowing can be foramina, central or both.

It can also happen at one or more levels of the lower back.

5. Stains

Ligaments and muscles in the lower back can tear or stretch from excess activity. These symptoms include pain in the lower back and even muscle spasms.

Once you identify the source of the strain, avoid it and rest the back, the lower back pain should subside.

6. Bulging or ruptured discs

Discs function as cushions between the vertebrae (bones) in your spine. However, there is soft material inside the disc that can rupture or bulge and press on a nerve. This can cause lower back pain.

However, many people can have a ruptured disc without causing back pain. Often, disc diseases are identified when an individual goes in for an x-ray for something else.

7. Health conditions

Certain health conditions will have back pain as a symptom. Examples of these include;

Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes long-term tenderness and pain in the joints, muscles, and tendons.

Spondylosis: this is a degenerative disorder that can cause the loss of normal spinal function and structure. This condition is typically linked to age but its rate of progression.

Conclusion

If you suffer from back pain, you will be happy to know that you have several options to consider.

These include medication, surgery, physiotherapy and chiropractic care. Any of these options can help you regain control of your health.

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