Lower back pain is a universal human experience. Almost 80% of the population suffers from lower back pain during their lives. This pain can be excruciating and steal away or limit daily activities.
The lower back is a complex body part of interconnected and overlapping elements of muscles and other soft tissues. It has highly sensitive nerves and nerve roots that travel from the lower back down into the legs and feet. It has small and complex joints, spinal discs with their gelatinous inner cores. An irritation or problem with any of these structures can cause lower back pain.
Who’s at Risk for Lower Back Pain?
Most people experience low back pain in their 30s and the pain increases with age. It may also be because of weight, inactive lifestyle, and jobs that require heavy lifting.
What can Cause Lower Back Pain?
- Herniated Disc: The spine’s vertebrae are cushioned by gel-like discs that are prone to wear and tear from aging or injuries. A weak disc may rupture or bulge, putting pressure on the spinal nerve roots. This is known as a herniated disc and can cause intense pain.
- Spondylolisthesis: Spondylolisthesis is a condition in which one bone in the back (vertebra) slides forward over the bone below it. It most often occurs in the lower spine (lumbosacral area). In some cases, this may lead to spinal cord or nerve roots being squeezed.
- Spinal Stenosis: Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of spaces in the spine (backbone) which causes pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. About 75% of cases of spinal stenosis occur in the lower back (lumbar spine).
- Osteoarthritis: Also known as degenerative arthritis degenerative joint disease, OA, or osteoarthritis, is a form of arthritis caused by inflammation, breakdown, and the eventual loss of cartilage in the joints – the cartilage wears down over time.
Some less common conditions such as sacroiliac joint dysfunction, spinal tumors, fibromyalgia, and piriformis syndrome can also cause lower back pain.
Different Types Of Lower Back Pain
- Axial lower back pain: This is the most common type of lower back pain. It is confined to the lower back. The pain can be sharp or dull, and can be severe enough to limit activities, such as standing and walking. It usually worsens with certain activities such as sports or physical positions such as sitting for long periods. Most low axial back pain is acute and can be healed within 6 to 12 weeks, but in some cases it can become chronic.
- Lumbar radiculopathy (sciatica): This is the second most common type of low back pain caused by compressing the nerve roots of the sciatic nerves.
- Lower back pain with referred pain: This is pain in the lower back that radiates to the upper thigh. The pain is dull and achy with varying intensities. Lower back pain with referred pain is similar to axial pain and is managed with similar treatments.
When to Seek Medical Care for Lower Back Pain?
Most cases of low back pain do not require urgent care, but patients should seek treatment immediately if they experience lower back pain accompanied by any of the following:
- Fever and chills.
- Unexplained recent weight loss, or recent weight loss due to trauma.
- Significant leg weakness.
- Sudden bowel and/or bladder incontinence – either difficulty passing urine or having a bowel movement, or loss of control of urination or bowel movement (cauda equina syndrome).
- Severe, continuous abdominal pain (abdominal aortic aneurysm).
Are You Suffering With Lower Back Pain? We Will Help You.
We understand the pain of not enjoying daily activities. At Integrated Medical Care (IMC), we offer comprehensive and patient centric pain management approaches to ensure that each patient lives a pain free life. At IMC, your low back pain will be evaluated and treated by our physicians who have years of experience in pain management. We’ve seen it all, and we look forward to relieving your pain. Call us at 845-535-9884.