The 4 Most Common Causes of Low Back Pain
You may deal with pain of varying levels on a regular basis, from a stomachache to a stubbed toe to a tension headache. But if you’re one of the 60 to 80% of adult Americans who suffer from back pain, your usual sources of pain may be coupled with spinal pain.
For many people, back pain causes active disruption to their daily lives. At its mildest, back pain may just mean that you have to stand and stretch frequently throughout your work day. At its most severe, however, low back pain can make it difficult to drive, lift objects, sleep, and even stand.
But where does this pain come from?
The back consists of a complex and fragile system of vertebrae bones, ligaments, and nerves. Unfortunately, even a small misalignment in this system can send serious pain signals to your brain.
In this blog, we talk about the four most common reasons you may experience back pain.
- Disc Degeneration
Your back has a series of rubbery intervertebral discs, which cushion your bones and allow you to move normally. As you age, these discs can become compressed and lose their shape, causing pain.
Poor posture, abnormal sleep positioning, and previous back injuries can contribute to disc degeneration over time.
- Disc Herniation
In addition to age-related degeneration, discs can herniate or rupture, causing sudden lower back pain. Disc herniation occurs when a disc shifts and bulges abnormally. This movement prevents the disc from cushioning your vertebrae as it should and may put pressure on back nerves.
Herniated discs are at a high risk of rupturing, which eliminates virtually all of the cushioning between two vertebrae.
Disc herniation can occur over time due to a habit of incorrect lifting, long periods sitting, or poor posture. Traumatic back injuries can also cause herniation or rupture.
- Skeletal Irregularities
Congenital or progressive spinal irregularities can cause and exacerbate lower back pain. Congenital spinal defects include scoliosis and other conditions which affect the shape of the spine.
Occasionally, poor posture, injury, or bad habits can cause spinal deformities over time. These irregularities can lead to pinched nerves and sciatic pain, even if all spinal discs remain intact.
- Sprains or Strains
Sprains and strains represent the most common cause of low back pain. Sprains occur when a ligament becomes overstretched, while strains happen when a tear appears in a ligament or muscle.
Most sprains and strains happen during activity. You may sprain your back while lifting, pulling, kicking, or falling. If you sustain one of these injuries, you will likely notice it right away. Stretch before working out or playing sports to decrease your risk of sprains and strains.
Additionally, learn how to lift correctly to ensure that you do not sustain a sprain when working, moving, or caring for children. Squat down to pick up the item rather than leaning. When you stand, power the movement with your legs instead of your arms or back to avoid overexerting your back muscles.
If your back pain does not respond to over-the-counter medication, consult with medical professionals. Start with your general care doctor so you can undergo tests for any serious conditions which may contribute to or cause your pain.
For therapy to diminish and manage your pain, consider hands on approaches such as acupuncture, massage therapy, and chiropractic care. These methods focus on the way parts of your body interact and attempt to bring your body into better balance and alignment. Many patients find these methods effective for reducing everyday pain and decreasing the frequency of symptoms.
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