Understanding Back Pain: Common Lower Back Problems

Back pain can interrupt your daily life and make the simplest tasks difficult. The lower back is complex and made up of many muscles, ligaments, nerves and bony structures, so your pain could come from one of many sources. Some causes could be serious, with the possibility of internal conditions, so it’s important that you understand the symptoms that you’re experiencing.

Common symptoms that you may experience include aching, stiffness, cramping or muscle spasms in the lower back, tingling, and numbness or muscle weakness in the buttocks, legs and feet.

Sprain or Strain from an Injury

A back strain is an injury to your muscle or tendon that supports the spine, such as a twist, pull, or tear. A sprain occurs when the ligament, which connects two or more bones at a joint, is stretched too far beyond its limits or tears.

A back sprain or strain can be caused by overstressing back muscles, such as with improper lifting. A trauma to the body could also knock the joint out of its normal position, which could stretch the ligaments past normal range of motion, causing an injury.

Symptoms typically include pain that gets worse as you move, muscle cramps or spasms, and reduced range of motion in the area. It’s also common to hear a pop during the injury, which could signify a tear.

These injuries are common, but you must seek medical attention as soon as you feel symptoms. Your doctor will learn about your medical history and perform a physical exam and may even take X-rays or order more advanced tests if necessary, to determine the cause of the pain.

Overuse and Poor Posture

It’s very common to experience an injury due to overuse. If you’re performing an action, for example during a sport or your job, that works the same muscle in your back repeatedly; the muscle will become tired and could result in a strain or tear.

It’s also common for back pain to come as a result of poor posture, especially for people who work with computers. Many people adopt a hunched sitting position when working over a computer which can cause back problems over time. Other poor posture positions that could cause back pain include bending awkwardly, pushing, pulling or carrying something, and standing or bending down for long periods of time.

Lumbar Disc Herniation

A herniated disc is when a lumbar disc breaks down and weakens, and the inner core pushes outward, sometimes leaking through the outer portion of the disc. The disc is located next to the spinal nerve root, so the herniation may put direct pressure on the nerve when it pushed outward.

A herniated disc could occur from a slow breakdown from wear and tear, or certain motions such as twisted or turning to lift an object, which puts tremendous strain on your lower back. Symptoms include lower back pain, pain in the buttock, leg pain, numbness, weakness, or tingling in the leg.

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, see your doctor for pain relief. You may be treated with physical therapy, injections, chiropractic manipulation, anti-inflammatory drugs, heat or ice therapy.

Lumbar Stenosis

When lumbar stenosis occurs, the open spaces in your spine begin to narrow. This can put pressure on your spinal cord as well as your nerves that run from the spinal cord to your arms and legs.

Sometimes, patients don’t experience any symptoms, while others feel pain, tingling, numbness, and muscle weakness. It’s most commonly caused by osteoarthritis secondary to wear-and-tear.

If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your doctor right away.

Living with back pain can disrupt your entire life and you deserve relief. To set up consulting with a doctor from Aligned Medical Group, click here.

If you’re in need of a chiropractor for your pain, download our eBook Your Total Guide to Finding and Choosing a Chiropractor for helpful tips on how to select the right chiropractor for you.

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