Lower back pain is a chief complaint among many people. It is also the most costly musculoskeletal problem in developed countries. Chances are, if you have yet to experience any back pain in your life, you most likely will at some point. While the reported cases of back pain vary, roughly eight out of ten people will experience some episode of lower back pain in their lifetime.
The causes of low back pain are varied, as there are so many structures in this area of the body that can contribute to its symptoms. Because there are so many complex structures, in many cases, the root of the back pain cannot be readily identified and accurately diagnosed, despite the use of the latest in technology and imaging studies.
However, the possible causes of low back pain can be attributed to the following conditions:
1.) When the bony spinal canal becomes narrowed, it can cause the nerves to become squeezed. This condition is known as spinal stenosis.
2.) A common cause of low back pain is a strain or sprain in the lumbar region, due to injury to multiple structures, such as the tendons and the muscles.
3.) Although tumors are not a common cause of low back pain, they can be a warning sign, as this is the kind of pain that will awaken you in the middle of the night.
4.) Bony fractures can contribute to low back pain. These can be due to sustained trauma or may occur in people with osteoporosis.
5.) Sciatica, caused by a bulging or herniated disc, due to pressure on a nerve in the spine, can create low back pain.
6.) When the joints in the spine begin to age, such as with arthritis, the lower back can hurt.
7.) Although rare, an infection can contribute to low back pain and can be serious. Those at risk for infection include people with diabetes, AIDS, or liver failure.
8.) Compression of the spinal cord, although unusual, may contribute to weakness and loss of bowel and bladder control.
The important thing in treating back pain is to rule out any potentially serious condition and to treat that condition immediately and aggressively.
As for treating lower back pain, there are three general categories of methodologies that help: