What Are Some Common Lower Back Pain Causes
The causes of lower back pain are sometimes viewed as being mechanical, organic or idiopathic. Sometimes spinal conditions are congenital or acquired meaning the disorder develops later in life.
- Mechanical lower back pain is often triggered by spinal movement and involves spinal structures, such as the facet joints, intervertebral discs, vertebral bodies , ligaments, muscles or soft tissues.
- Organic lower back pain is attributed to disease, such as spinal cancer.
- Idiopathic refers to an unknown cause.
These are some of the things your doctor might look for or rule out when you schedule a visit for back pain.
The common symptoms of lower back pain.
Sprains and strains. Ligament sprains and muscle or tendon strains are the most common causes of lower back pain. Theyre often related to overuse.
Degenerative disc disease. While the name sounds worrisome, it just means you have a damaged disc causing pain. Over time, discs become thinner and flatter due to wear and tear. That leaves them less able to cushion the vertebrae and more likely to tear .
Herniated disc. The protective covering on intervertebral discs can tear over time. When this happens, the soft inner disc tissue may push through the outer layer. A disc that bulges or slips out of place is known as a herniated disc, bulging disc, or slipped disc. The herniation may press on nerve roots, leading to symptoms such as pain, tingling, numbness or weakness in the area that the nerve serves
When Is Lower Left Back Pain More Serious
Lower left back pain isnt thought to be that serious, and therefore you shouldnt worry unless the pain becomes fairly persistent, that is, if you have experienced it for six weeks or longer. When there isnt really any improvement and/or the lower back pain actually seems to be getting worse, its considered chronic lower back pain.
Psychosocial factors thought to increase the risk of lower back pain include high levels of emotional distress, social isolation, resistance to change, and certain beliefs or attitudes. Chronic back pain can lead to loss of libido, insomnia, feelings of hopelessness, and depression.
Remedies For Scoliosis Pain
Here at the Scoliosis Reduction Center, weve learned a lot about the power of scoliosis-specific chiropractic treatment and pain management. Not only does our chiropractic-centered treatment approach have positive results in terms of managing the conditions progression and achieving a reduction, it also provides our patients with a lot of relief and helps restore function.
Sharp Lower Left Back Pain From Kidney Stones
Internal organs, such as the kidney or colon, can cause sharp pain to manifest in the lower left back. Patients may feel sharp lower left back pain when a stone moves inside the left kidney, or moves through the thin tubes connecting the kidneys to the bladder. Once a kidney stone begins to move through the ureters, patients may notice a combination of symptoms, which include:
- Sharp lower left back pain, below the ribs
- Fever and chill
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Pink, red, or brown urine
- Cloudy or foul-smelling urine
- Stinging pain when urinating
Kidney stones form when a patients urine contains more crystal-forming substances such as calcium, oxalate and uric acid than the fluid can dilute. Alternatively, a patients urine may lack substances that prevent crystals from sticking together, thereby creating the ideal setting for kidney stone formation. Understanding the type of kidney stone affecting a patient can help with treatment and prevention. The types of kidney stone include:
- Calcium Stones: the most common type for metabolic conditions
- Struvite Stones: formed in response to an infection and may be asymptomatic
- Uric Acid Stones: formed in people who dont drink enough fluids or lose too much fluid, eat a high-protein diet, or have gout
- Cystine Stones: formed in people with a hereditary disorder that causes the kidneys to excrete too much of certain amino acids
Lower Back Pain: What Could It Be
Do you have lower back pain? You are not alone. Anyone can experience lower back pain at any time, even if you dont have a prior injury or any of the risk factors. It is not always serious and can often get better on its own. But in some cases pain is your bodys way of telling you that something isnt right.
Learn more about lower back pain and what causes it from rehabilitation physician Akhil Chhatre, M.D., who specializes in back pain in the Johns Hopkins Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
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When Should You Seek Treatment For Acute Or Chronic Back Pain
Whether you think your back pain is acute or chronic, anytime youre experiencing pain that lasts longer than two weeks without any improvement in symptoms, we strongly suggest you get the care you need.
If you think you need care right away, you can also go to your nearest orthopedic urgent care location.
If the pain is new or you know youve tweaked something, a great place to start is to find a physical therapy location and make an appointment. Our physical therapists will tailor strengthening and mobility exercises to your unique needs, and you can plan on about six visits.
That said, acute back pain will usually heal itself over a few weeks. But chronic pain usually doesnt get better without medical intervention. Why? While home remedies and short-term back pain treatments are helpful, they provide temporary relief and dont address those underlying causes of chronic pain.
So, if youre regularly experiencing signs of chronic back pain, dont ignore it. While chronic pain is long-lasting, it doesnt have to be permanent and you probably dont need surgery. This is where the Physicians Neck & Back Center spinal strengthening program can help.
What Are Some Less Invasive Or Noninvasive Back Pain Treatments
Your doctor has a wide range of treatments that may help your lower back pain. In general, expect your doctor to take a stepped care approach. That means starting with simple, low-cost treatments and moving to more aggressive approaches later. Keep in mind that many treatments take time to reach their full effect.
Medications. When over-the-counter pills and topicals dont do enough to relieve back pain, your doctor may recommend a prescription drug. Examples include:
- Antiseizure medication, such gabapentin or pregabalin, for nerve-related pain
- Muscle relaxants, such as baclofen or carisoprodol
- Prescription NSAIDs, such as celecoxib, diclofenac, or fenoprofen
- Opioids, such as oxycodone or hydrocodone, on a short-term basis.
Physical therapy . PT for lower back pain involves passive and active therapies to help the patient build core muscle strength, improve spinal flexibility and range of motion, correct posture and more. Your physical therapy sessions may include:
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation
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Which Low Back Exercise Is Right For You
If you are experiencing pain on one side of your back or leg, then try the first exercise and monitor symptoms as you exercise. Watch for centralization, which is a decrease in leg or thigh pain and an increase in low back pain. Centralization that occurs while you are performing an exercise is a good sign and indicates that the particular exercise is the correct one for you to be doing.
If your symptoms worsen, fail to centralize, or only centralize partially, move on to the next exercise in the list. Attempt the exercise, and monitor any changes in your symptoms. Remember pain that moves closer to your spine is a good sign.
Before starting any exercise for your back, it is a good idea to check in with your doctor to be sure that exercise is safe for you to do. Your local physical therapist can help you decide on the best exercises for your specific condition.
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What Is Lower Back Pain
Low back pain can result from many different injuries, conditions or diseases most often, an injury to muscles or tendons in the back.
Pain can range from mild to severe. In some cases, pain can make it difficult or impossible to walk, sleep, work or do everyday activities.
Usually, lower back pain gets better with rest, pain relievers and physical therapy . Cortisone injections and hands-on treatments can relieve pain and help the healing process. Some back injuries and conditions require surgical repair.
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Low Back Pain Fact Sheet
If you have had lower back pain, you are not alone. Back pain is one of most common reasons people see a doctor or miss days at work. Even school-age children can have back pain.
Back pain can range in intensity from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp or shooting pain. It can begin suddenly as a result of an accident or by lifting something heavy, or it can develop over time as we age. Getting too little exercise followed by a strenuous workout also can cause back pain.
There are two types of back pain:
- Acute, or short-term back pain lasts a few days to a few weeks. Most low back pain is acute. It tends to resolve on its own within a few days with self-care and there is no residual loss of function. In some cases a few months are required for the symptoms to disappear.
- Chronic back pain is defined as pain that continues for 12 weeks or longer, even after an initial injury or underlying cause of acute low back pain has been treated. About 20 percent of people affected by acute low back pain develop chronic low back pain with persistent symptoms at one year. Even if pain persists, it does not always mean there is a medically serious underlying cause or one that can be easily identified and treated. In some cases, treatment successfully relieves chronic low back pain, but in other cases pain continues despite medical and surgical treatment.
Lumbar Sprain Or Muscle Strain Could Be To Blame
Your lower spine is supported by a network of soft tissues, including muscles, tendons, and ligaments. If you feel irritation, muscle spasms, or tightness across your lower back, hips, or buttocks when walking, the tissues may be damaged. This can lead to lumbar sprain or muscle strain.6
What are the Symptoms of Lumbar Sprain and Muscle Strain?
When you sprain or strain your lumbar spine, the soft tissues in your back can become aggravated and inflamed. The pain can range from slight to debilitating. Depending on the extent of the injury, you may experience:
- Muscles spasms
- Stiffness or soreness in your lower back
- Restricted range of motion
- Tightness in lower back muscles
- Pain that radiates from your back to your buttocks7
Possible Causes Of Lumbar Sprain And Muscle Strain
You can strain your lower back by pulling or twisting your lower back muscles suddenly or awkwardly. Chronic strain can occur if you overuse muscles in a repetitive fashion.
Remember the old saying, Lift with your legs, not with your back? You can also experience muscle strain by lifting something improperly or by putting too much stress on your back muscles.
Lumbar sprain can occur when one or more ligaments in your back are stretched beyond their normal range.
This can happen after a fall, an unexpected twist, or a forceful blow to your body.
Excessive activity from aerobic exercise or low-impact exercise can cause a sprain. Displaying incorrect form while exercising can also be troublesome.
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Your Pain Extends To Other Body Parts
If you’re experiencing severe back pain that is coupled with pain in other areas such as shooting pain down your leg then you should see a doctor. This could be a sign that you have sciatica, a form of pain that affects the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back and through the buttocks before branching down each leg. This condition usually results from a herniated disk. A doctor will be able to offer a variety of ways that you can relieve this pain.
Muscle Strain In Lower Left Back
Muscle strain is another type of injury that can cause left-sided lower back pain and affect your daily activities. The resulting pain from the lower back injury can be mild to severe, depending on the extent of strain to the muscles, tendons, or ligaments of the lower back.
According to research published in the journal BMJ, low back strain and pain in the lumbar region is the leading cause of missed days at work and is becoming a global epidemic. Many medical professionals point to carrying heavy bags as a common reason for lower back pain at work.5
Dr. Melissa Conrad Stöppler on MedicineNet says that acute lower back pain on the left side can be lumbar strain caused by overuse of the back muscles, incorrectly lifting heavy items, or carrying heavy bags. This results in microscopic tears in the tissues in the lower back. This causes back pain in the lumbar region when walking, getting up from a chair or bending over.3
To treat acute and chronic back pain, you can find some useful ideas in my article on how to get rid of muscle soreness. You should also try to improve your posture to prevent back pain causing discomfort in your daily activities.
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Lower Right Back Pain Symptoms
The back provides both strength and stability to the entire body, leaving it vulnerable to many kinds of injury. It’s possible for even severe back pain to be confined to just one side of the back. When the pain is entirely on the lower right side, it may suggest a specific type of injury or illness, and it’s important to have it examined. Low back pain is also called lumbago or sciatica.
What Exactly Is The Lower Back Anyway
Your lower back is known as the lumbar region of the spine. It has a lot of heavy lifting to do: The lumbar spine carries the weight of your entire upper body, plus biomechanical stresses that occur with movement.
The lumbar spine has five vertebraebackbones. Each vertebra has a large disc cushiony gel wrapped in a tough membrane on its front side that acts as a shock absorber. Each vertebra also has two cartilage-lined facet joints on its back side. Working together, discs and facet joints allow the spine to safely bend and twist.
Your lower back also includes ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Ligaments are strong bands that hold the vertebrae and discs together. Tendons attach muscles to the vertebrae. These structures help limit excessive movement that could harm the spinal cord.
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Deadlifting And Your Lower Back
You see, for many people, having a sore lower back after deadlifting just kind of goes with the territory.
Indeed, if you do a Google search for lower back pain deadlifts, youll find lots of people talking about this very topic.
The problem is that many of them are further perpetuating the myth that your lower back is somehow supposed to hurt after deadlifting.
Take a look at this thread on Bodybuilding.com, entitled Lower back sore after deadlifts?
Youll notice that many of the people who chime in seem to think its normal to have lower back soreness after deadlifting.
In fact, the very first comment tries to reassure the initial poster, claiming: Yes very normal, Im sometimes sore for 2 days after I do deadlifts.
Wow, 2 days after, really?
Let me make this unequivocally clear: your lower back should not be sore for days after deadlifting!
It should not be sore for hours after deadlifting.
And it should definitely not be sore while youre deadlifting.
The truth is that if it is sore, you are simply doing it wrong. Much like I used to do.
Other Potential Causes Of Lower Back Pain When Walking
Lower back pain when walking is not limited to these causes. Here are some other potential causes of lower back pain when walking:
Cauda Equina Syndrome
The compression of nerve roots, commonly resulting from a herniated disc in the lumbar area.15
Degenerative Disc Disease
Can be caused by the drying out of a disc, daily physical activity and sports, or injury.16
When part of a bone in the spine, a.k.a. a vertebrae, collapses.17See Your Doctor for Lower Back Pain When Walking
You dont want to gamble with your back health. Call your doctor to advise you on any type of treatment. Heres what your doctor might recommend:
While youll always want to call your doctor for advice, especially if your pain is severe, there are also several things you can do at home that might help you manage lower back pain.
- Change up your exercise routine
- Apply heating pads and ice packs
- Buy a more supportive mattress
- Pay attention to your posture
- Lose weight
- Focus on relaxing and natural stress relief18
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Lower Back Muscle Strain
A muscle strain is a common cause of lower left back pain. Continuous pulling on a particular muscle or related tendons can often cause a muscle strain, for instance, after lifting a heavy object. Being overweight or having a weak back or abdominal muscles can increase the risk of muscle strains in the lower back.
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