What Are the Common Causes for Lower Back Pain? - Texas Spine and Sports Therapy Center

What Are the Common Causes for Lower Back Pain?

Back pain

Lower back pain is one of the most common conditions in the U.S. The pain can range from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp pain that makes it hard to move. The most common causes for lower back pain are problems such as degenerative discs, herniated discs, spinal stenosis, injuries and tears, auto accidents and more. Learn more about these common sources of lower back pain, how to treat them and prevention methods!

 

A Pain in the Back

The American Chiropractic Association reports that over 31 million Americans suffer from lower back pain every day. ½ of working Americans have back pain and 80% of people will eventually experience lower back pain during their life. Lower back pain truly is a pain for millions of people! Those with lower back pain experience symptoms such as:

  • Pain that is is a dull to severe ache all day or that is intensified by certain movements
  • Inflammation centered in the lower back, neck or mid-back regions
  • Pain that is worse or better after resting
  • Stiffness along the spine or in the muscles surrounding it
  • Pain that is worsened or improved by exercise
  • Spasms throughout the back that make it hard to sit, stand or lie down
  • Numbness
  • Pops, cracks and other noises or sensations when you move after resting

 

Lower Back Pain Causes

There are common causes and risks for lower back pain. Some of those causes include:

  1. Degenerative discs
  2. Herniated discs
  3. Overuse injuries
  4. Disc tear
  5. Vertebral fractures
  6. Spinal stenosis
  7. Scoliosis
  8. Auto accident

You may have back pain from something that is genetic or you may simply have something such as poor posture that is causing your troubles. This is one of the reasons so many people experience lower back pain at work. Watch for habits such as:

  • Poor posture, especially when seated
  • Pushing yourself too hard when exercising, playing sports, etc.
  • Lifting heavy boxes or unbalanced loads
  • Lifting with your back instead of your legs
  • A sedentary lifestyle that allows the major back muscles to weaken
  • Untreated depression or anxiety

 

Woman with back pain

Degenerative and Herniated Discs

Your spine is made up of 24 individual bones that stack up on each other like blocks. Between every two bones is a vertebral disc. These discs act like a jelly doughnut. They are soft and jelly-like on the inside, protected by a tough exterior. These discs help to “glue” your spinal bones together and also serve as shock absorbers for your spine. The design of your spine allows your body to move freely. However, your spinal bones can move too far, especially in an accident or during physical activity. This can stretch the tough outer material of your disc and the surrounding ligaments. When that stretch happens, you end up with a sprain or you can pinch a nerve, causing you intense pain.

 

Spinal Stenosis

The spinal column has numerous vertebrae that rest upon each other with plenty of openings and gaps to accommodate the spinal cord and nerves that connect with it. When something causes these openings to shrink, your nerves compress, leading to pain and other symptoms. Some cases of spinal stenosis go for years without pain, and others have pain immediately. This condition is usually accompanied by neuropathy symptoms, pain that develops in one area of the spine, radiating sensations down the limbs and more.

 

Scoliosis

Scoliosis is when the spine curves sideways to the left or right. This can happen over time, especially if you have scoliosis in your family or if you have bad posture. The curve of your spine can range from severe to mild, with symptoms and risks varying based on the cause. ½ of cases have no specific cause, while others are caused by the reasons stated above. Besides back pain, patients will also experience uneven hip or shoulder alignments, a dull ache around the spine, a twisted torso or rib cage, shoulder blade exposure and difficulty breathing.

 

Auto Accidents

An auto accident can easily end with you having back pain for weeks or months on end. Whiplash is a common injury, that leads to neck and back pain as well as stiffening in your muscles. This injury happens when a sudden stop makes your body jolt against the seat violently. Your body might still be moving even though the car has stopped, making your neck or head bend or pull rapidly. This can cause serious back and neck pain. We have treatments to help with whiplash so you don’t end up suffering for months.

 

You can also sustain injuries from overuse during exercise or with repetitive motions. These usually result in tears or small sprains, which will also cause you pain. Avoid repetitive motions to reduce your risk for back injuries.

 

Back Pain Treatments

Lower back pain is the leading cause of missed work and disability. However, that doesn’t have to be you! The actions you take now may be putting you at risk for back pain in the future. We can help you know what habits to change to avoid lower back pain and what treatments are effective if you already have that pain. We help our patients with treatments like:

  • Electrical stimulation to calm irritated or damaged nerves
  • Spinal alignment therapy to straighten out slipped vertebrae and relieve pressure on discs
  • Steroid shots to reduce pain in specific areas
  • Recommendations for braces or other support appliances to protect your back

To learn more about what you can do for your lower back pain, call Texas Spine & Sports Therapy Center today at (512) 806-0015!

 

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