Lower back pain is a painful nuisance that most people experience from time to time. It affects men and women in equal numbers and is a common cause of missed work and doctor’s visits. Lower back pain is most commonly caused by inflammation of the muscles and ligaments in the lower back, resulting from tears or over-stretching. Typically this is caused by an injury of some kind—anything from a car accident or sports injury, to something as simple as housework or improper lifting.
Age is also a culprit of lower back pain. As we age, we lose muscle elasticity and bone strength. Additionally, the discs of the spine can become deflated from loss of fluid and are less able to effectively cushion the vertebrae. There are a lot of retirees here in Hudson, so it is not at all uncommon to find someone who deals with lower back pain on a daily basis.
Most cases of lower back pain are acute (short-term) and can be easily treated with rest, medication, or hot and cold compresses. However, some cases of acute lower back pain are symptoms of more serious problems.
Conditions that cause lower back pain include the following:
· A herniated disc occurs when pressure from the vertebrae on either side of the disc squeezes it out of place and into the spinal cord or a nerve ending.
· Sciatica is a condition caused by a herniated disc pushing down on the sciatic nerve.
· Spinal degeneration occurs when discs that have degenerated narrow the spinal canal.
· Spinal stenosis is a disc disease that results from a birth condition in which the spinal canal is narrower than normal.
· Osteoporosis is a bone disease in which bones become increasingly weaker and more brittle.
· Spondylitis is a condition in which the spinal joints have become inflamed or infected.
Additional causes of lower back pain include obesity, pregnancy, weight gain, weak lower back muscles, poor posture, sleep position, and inactivity. Some types of lower back pain can be prevented or eliminated altogether by strengthening the core muscles of the abdomen and back. Exercise helps to keep muscles and joints limber, flexible, and strong.
If you are concerned about your lower back pain, talk to a doctor about the symptoms you are experiencing to find out what treatment is right for you. Every condition needs to be approached in a methodical manner and every treatment plan should be overseen by medical experts.
Low Back Pain Fact Sheet (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)
Lower Back Pain Symptoms and Treatment Options (Spine-Health)
Low Back Pain Cause (WebMD)