About 65 million Americans have experienced recent episodes of back pain. Meanwhile, 8% of all adults (16 million people) struggle with chronic back pain. Healthcare costs have reached $12 billion due to back pain every year as a result.
Understanding the common causes of lower back pain can help you determine what form of treatment you need.
Read on to discover what’s potentially causing your pain. Then, visit a specialist to develop a customized treatment plan based on your needs.
The spine is made of several vertebrae, which are stacked atop one another. Then, there are layers of muscles that hold the vertebrae together in a balanced position. Your spine ensures equal dispersion of your body weight.
When your spine doesn’t remain in the proper position, your weight is no longer distributed evenly. The lack of alignment could cause muscle spasms and strain, leading to mechanical pain.
A chiropractor can help correct some of the vertebral imbalances you’ve developed using manual manipulation. You can also benefit from chiropractic care by improving your posture or using physical therapy to improve your strength. Strengthening the muscles around your spine could reduce the risk of strains in the future.
The joints at the back of each vertebra work as a braking system. They prevent forward slippage of one vertebra onto another. However, there are two conditions that can cause one vertebra to slide forward, causing spondylolisthesis.
For example, you could develop a stress fracture (which usually develops in preadolescents ages 8 to 12). A stress fracture can develop after repeated lower back hyperextension, which can crack vertebra above the joints.
Forward slippage could occur later in life as a result.
Lower facet arthritis could cause spondylolisthesis, too. Arthritis can cause a joint to enlarge, making it unstable. Then, the vertebra could slide forward, causing your lower back pain.
Remember to schedule a consultation appointment with a chiropractor or pain specialist to determine what’s causing your lower back pain.
The iliopsoas muscle is located behind your abdominal organs. This thick, long, cylindrical muscle is your hip flexor. It inserts into the upper medial femur (your thigh bone).
When the iliopsoas muscle spasms, it can cause incapacitating cramping pain.
Symptoms of psoas syndrome usually last seven to 10 days. If it doesn’t resolve with time, however, it could last up to a month. Consider visiting a specialist right away.
Chiropractic care can involve a number of lower back pain solutions beyond manual manipulation. Visit a chiropractor to schedule a consultation appointment. Your chiropractor will begin by assessing your current health, symptoms, and medical history.
Once they determine what’s causing your lower back pain, they can help develop a back pain management program. The program might involve manual adjustments, physical therapy, cold/heat therapy, and other techniques. Developing a customized treatment plan will ensure you tackle the root cause of your lower back pain.
Focusing on what’s causing your pain, rather than easing the symptoms, can ensure more effective treatment. Meanwhile, chiropractic care could help you avoid costly surgery or dangerous medications.
A vertebral disc is located between each vertebra along your side. The vertebral discs act as cushions. They take some of your body weight off each vertebral facet joint.
Each vertebral disc has a fibrous outer layer and contains jelly inside (imagine a jelly donut).
If there’s a tear through the fibrous outer layer, the jelly can penetrate through, into the spinal canal (where your spinal nerves are located). This condition is called a herniated disc.
When a nerve is pinched, it can cause sciatica pain (when pain shoots down your leg). The pain could become excruciating. It can also cause nerve damage, leading to weakness in the leg.
Usually, you can treat a herniated disc without surgery by using physical therapy to accelerate healing and pain reduction. Symptoms should resolve within three to six months.
Your tailbone (the sacrum) is located between two pelvic bones. When you walk, these innominate bones rotate forward, then back. The sacrum pivots between the two sides.
If the sacrum becomes imbalanced between your innominate bones, it can cause sacroiliac pain. You can treat lower back pain with manual manipulation.
Otherwise, inflammatory conditions like arthritis can cause inflammation, leading to sacroiliac joint pain.
Your lower back could develop arthritis of the joints as you get older.
Arthritis causes joints to become enlarged both inside and outside the spinal canal. Lower discs tend to become thinner, causing a building of the spinal cord.
Meanwhile, ligaments within the spinal canal thicken or bulge.
This process causes the narrowing of the inner canal and nerve exit holes (neural foramina), leading to stenosis.
If the narrowing becomes too severe, it can cause pinched nerves, leading to painful symptoms.
The lifestyle choices you’re making could contribute to your lower back pain, too. Here are a few ways your daily routine might contribute to your symptoms.
Stress can cause back muscles to tense up, leading to lower back pain. If you’re in pain, you’re likely worried about it. The anxiety you’re experiencing can further contribute to your symptoms, causing an endless cycle.
An adjustment and relaxing massage can help reduce your tension, anxiety, and pain.
Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missing a day of work. Unfortunately, your work environment can also cause some of your symptoms.
For example, maybe you sit at a desk all day. Bad posture could cause a misalignment over time.
Consider switching to a standing desk to take some of the pressure off your spine.
Smoking influences how the body responds to pain. It can also impact blood flow by changing the size of your blood vessels. Smoking can even impact the discs in your smile, causing them to break down.
Try cutting the habit before smoking makes your symptoms worse.
Fast food can contribute to inflammation throughout the body, further causing pain symptoms.
Consider eating more anti-inflammatory foods like berries, salmon, and dark chocolate.
Do these common causes of lower back pain sound familiar? Consider visiting a specialist this year. With help from an expert, you can develop a customized back pain management program.
Instead of letting your back pain control your life, you can take back control.
Eager to get started? Contact our pain experts today.