5 Top Causes of Lower Back Pain
Updated: Sep 14
At some point in life, upwards of 80% of people will experience some sort of lower back pain. And while it may be short-lived, those who have experienced pain in their lower backs can surely attest to the agony and debilitation it causes, regardless of how long it lasts.
Lower back pain complaints are a common issue in Baltimore pain relief centers, and are a regular reason to miss work. And while most back pain resolves itself with time, there are sometimes serious injuries that must be addressed by your local Baltimore pain relief specialists in order to regain normalcy in your life.
Preventing lower back pain is important to your overall health. Today, we will take a look at some of the top causes of lower back pain in hopes that you can prevent ever having to experience the painful effects of an injured back.
Most Common Causes of Back Pain in Baltimore
1. Sprains and Strains
A lot of acute back pain in patients is caused by either a sprain or a strain in the lumbar area of the spinal column.
Not sure what the differences are between sprains and strains? Check it out:
Sprains are injuries affecting the ligaments and are often a result of serious trauma such as a fall. The ligaments can either be overstretched or torn. Bruising, swelling, instability, and painful movement are some common symptoms you might experience if you sprain your lower back.
Strains, on the other hand, are injuries affecting the tendons or muscles and often occur due to a quick tear, twist, or pull of the muscle. Pain, weakness, and muscles spasms are common symptoms you might experience if you strain your lower back.
Both sprains and strains of the lower back can occur while doing even the most routine of daily activities. Unfortunately, all it takes is one wrong turn or incorrect form when lifting something to cause a sprain or strain, creating your lower back pain.
2. Bulging, Ruptured, or Degenerated Discs
Discs act as the cushions between the vertebrae (or bones) of your spine. However, the soft material making up these “cushions” can sometimes bulge out or deteriorate and press on the sensitive nerves that run the length of your spinal cord.
If you have a bulging or ruptured disc in your lower back, there is a good chance you will also experience pain that runs down your leg. This is called radiculopathy. Radiculopathy occurs because the nerves near the bottom of your spinal cord that exit into the leg are irritated.
Aging is the primary cause of degenerative discs. To prevent this you should remember to exercise carefully, maintain a healthy weight, and refrain from smoking.
3. Poor Posture
One of the most common causes of lower back pain that is not attributed to an injury, disease, or severe trauma, is sitting for long periods of time. This is especially true if you regularly hunch over a desk or computer with your shoulders rolled forward.
The muscles surrounding your hips tend to become extremely tight when you sit in a hunched over position for too long causing the lower back to cramp and become painful. Excess body weight can also cause poor posture, even while walking, which can also lead to lower back pain. Try to maintain a neutral sitting position with a tight core and a flexible body if you are going to be sitting at a desk for long periods of time.
Osteoarthritis is the specific term coined for arthritis of the bones. Arthritis is known to cause tenderness, pain, swelling, and stiffness in your joints, specifically in the lower back, neck, hips, knees, and hands.
Osteoarthritis of the facets, or areas connecting each vertebra of your spine together, involves the bones rubbing together and the development of abnormal bone growths called bone spurs. These bone spurs then press on the nerves that are in your spinal cord causing extreme pain.
Aging, obesity, and genetics are all risk factors for developing spinal arthritis. Staying lean and flexible can help prevent arthritis from developing. The key to battling osteoarthritis is to decrease the inflammation, maintain joint movement, and minimize pain.
Another disease related to bones, and thus your lower back, is the progressive disease called osteoporosis. Since bone is a living tissue, it is constantly shedding its older parts and regenerating new bone parts so that your skeleton stays strong and healthy. When the new bone growth fails to keep up with the removal of old bone, you develop osteoporosis.
With osteoporosis, your bones become porous, brittle, and very weak. Because of this, even the most normal of movements can cause a fracture. Over time, these fractures become very painful and hard to manage. In order to help prevent the development of this disease, you should eat a healthy diet, perform weight-bearing exercise to encourage new bone growth, and regularly visit your favorite Baltimore pain relief center to help alleviate symptoms.
Other Common Causes of Lower Back Pain
There are many things that can cause your lower back to scream out in pain and make your life miserable. Take a look:
Spondylolisthesis. This is when a vertebra of the lower spine slips out of place, pinching the nerves that are exiting the spinal column.
Injury. Any serious injury to the spinal cord can result in lower back pain. For instance, a sports injury, car accident, or fall can injure the ligaments, tendon, muscles, and even bones that make up the lower back.
Spinal stenosis. This is a narrowing of the spinal column that places pressure on your spinal cord and nerves causing pain or numbness while walking. Over time, your legs will become weak and you may experience sensory loss.
Skeletal irregularities. Scoliosis, a curvature of the spine, is one of the most well-known skeletal irregularities that will cause lower back pain mid-life.
Infections. Things such as vertebrae infections (osteomyelitis), tumors, and kidney stones can all cause lower back pain and signal that something is very wrong.
Treating Lower Back Pain
Most acute back pain can be relieved with the following at-home treatments:
Over-the-counter pain relievers
Alternating heat and ice treatments
Minimal activity that does not increase pain levels
There are also several pain relief center treatment options such as traction, acupuncture, nerve block therapies, and steroid injections for when your lower back pain is unbearable and begins affecting the quality of your life.
If after a few weeks your lower back pain has not subsided, give Baltimore’s premier pain relief specialists – Complete Pain Care a call. Specializing in lower back pain, the pain experts at Complete Pain Care can diagnose your lower back pain issue and prescribe an individualized treatment plan to get you back to your normal self.
For patients suffering from both acute and chronic lower back pain, Complete Pain Care will provide several multidisciplinary pain management treatments to get you feeling better soon. And with easy scheduling, getting to see you favorite pain doctor is just a phone call away.