Your lower back is made up of 5 bones stacked on top of each other with a soft “disc” between each joint in your spine should move freely and independently in your low back can become “stuck”. We call this condition “lumbar segmental joint restriction”
What causes lower back pain?
Lower back pain is a leading cause of missed workdays and job-related disability. Lower back pain can be caused by a number of underlying conditions that affect the joints, discs, nerves, and bones. Lower back pain is commonly caused by:
Sprains or Strains
Sprains occur when the ligaments are overstretched and torn. Strains are tears in the muscles and tendons. Both account for most cases of acute lower back pain. Sprains and strains can be caused by twisting, heavy lifting, and improper posture.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage that cushions the bones begins to gradually wear down. If you have lumbar osteoarthritis, the joints in your lower back become inflamed, causing pain and stiffness.
The sciatic nerve is a major nerve that travels from the buttocks to the lower leg. If the sciatic nerve becomes compressed or pinched, it can cause lower back pain, numbness, and weakness in the legs.
What are the risk factors for lower back pain?
In addition to conditions like osteoarthritis and sciatica, certain factors can increase your risk for lower back pain. They include:
Obesity or sudden weight gain puts additional pressure on the back and lower extremities. This can increase your risk for conditions like sciatica and osteoarthritis, as the nerves and joints are put under more stress.
As we age, our bones become less resilient and can withstand much less stress and force. Our muscles also lose tone and flexibility with age. This leaves you vulnerable to fractures, sprains, and strains that can cause lower back pain. Your risk for osteoporosis, a condition that gradually weakens the bones, also increases with age.
A lack of physical activity can lead to weak back and abdominal muscles. This can increase your risk for back injuries due to reduced support of your spine.
How is lower back pain treated?
Treatment for lower back pain depends on the cause of your condition. To begin, your provider performs a physical exam to evaluate your ability to sit, stand, walk, and move your legs.
Your provider discusses your pain level while performing these activities to help determine the source of your pain. In addition to a physical exam, your Achieve Wellness Medical Center provider may also order an X-Ray, MRI, or CT scan.
Once your condition is diagnosed, there are several options for treating your back pain. They include:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
- Muscle relaxants
- Enriched plasma injections
- Physical therapy
- Corticosteroid injections
- Chiropractic care
You and your provider discuss your condition to determine the best treatment for you. Achieve Wellness Medical Center specializes in individualized treatment plans catered to each patient's specific needs.
To speak with a pain management specialist about your lower back pain, book an appointment by calling Achieve Wellness Medical Center or request one online today.