Lower back pain is something many people will experience at some point in their lives. It can range from a dull ache to a sharp, debilitating pain that affects daily activities. In fact, lower back pain is one of the most common causes of job-related disability and one of the leading reasons for missed work days. But what causes lower back pain? To answer this question, Motion Orthopaedics has compiled the following information to help shed light on this common ailment.
The Anatomy of the Lower Back
Before exploring what causes lower back pain, it’s important to understand the anatomy involved. The lower back, or lumbar region, consists of interconnecting bones, joints, nerves, ligaments, and muscles working together to provide support, strength, and flexibility. However, this complex structure is also susceptible to various issues that may lead to pain.
Common Causes of Lower Back Pain
Several factors may cause lower back pain. These factors may be as simple as muscle strains or overuse or as complicated as conditions like osteoarthritis, herniated discs, or spinal stenosis. At Motion Orthopaedics, our specialized team is committed to uncovering the specific causes of your lower back pain and developing a targeted treatment plan to ease your discomfort. Common causes of lower back pain include:
Structural problems are a primary factor in causing lower back pain. Issues such as herniated discs, where the soft material inside a disc bulges or leaks out, can press on a nerve and cause significant discomfort. Similarly, sciatica, a condition where pain radiates along the sciatic nerve due to a herniated disc or bone spur, is a common culprit. Degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis, and spinal stenosis are other structural conditions contributing to lower back pain.
Muscle or Ligament Strain
Repeated heavy lifting or a sudden awkward movement can strain back muscles and spinal ligaments. Chronic strain, poor posture, and weak muscles in the abdomen and back may also contribute to lower back pain. If you are experiencing a muscle or ligament strain, our team at Motion Orthopaedics can develop targeted exercises and stretches to alleviate pain and prevent recurrence.
A sedentary lifestyle may play a significant role in causing lower back pain. Lack of regular exercise leads to weak back muscles, which are less capable of supporting the spine. Sitting for prolonged periods, especially with poor posture, may also increase the risk of developing lower back pain. If you have a sedentary job, regular breaks to stretch and move can help prevent lower back pain.
Excess body weight puts additional stress on the back, particularly the lower back. Obesity can accelerate the wear and tear on spine structures, contributing to lower back pain. Maintaining a healthy weight through proper nutrition and exercise can help reduce the risk of developing lower back pain.
Stress and Mental Health
Stress and mental health can also be underlying causes of lower back pain. Chronic stress, anxiety, and depression can lead to muscle tension and tightness in the back, which may contribute to back pain. Additionally, these psychological issues can affect individuals’ perception of pain, making it feel more severe.
Prevention and Management
Now that you have an idea of what causes lower back pain, there are steps you can take to prevent and manage it. Maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, practicing good posture, and taking breaks from prolonged sitting or standing can help prevent lower back pain. If you are experiencing significant discomfort, our team at Motion Orthopaedics offers personalized treatment plans to address the underlying causes of your lower back pain and provide relief. Managing lower back pain may involve:
- Physical therapy
- Chiropractic care
- Surgery when other treatments fail to provide relief
Treat Your Lower Back Pain at Motion Orthopaedics
Understanding what causes lower back pain is just the first step toward healing. At Motion Orthopaedics, we pride ourselves on our comprehensive approach to diagnosing and treating lower back pain. Our dedicated team of specialists will work closely with you to understand your symptoms, assess the causes, and develop a personalized treatment plan to improve your quality of life. Schedule your appointment with Motion Orthopaedics today and set yourself on the path to a pain-free life.