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Leading Causes of Low Back Pain

Sep 01, 2023

Your chances of experiencing low back pain are high. In fact, it’s estimated that four out of every five people in the United States have low back pain at some point during their life. You can get back pain for many reasons, but some causes are more common.

At Florida Pain Management Institute in Delray Beach and Boynton Beach, Florida, our skilled pain management experts focus on finding the source of low back pain so we can provide effective treatment.

Here, we want to tell you about the common causes of low back pain that our pain management experts see at our office.

Damaged intervertebral discs

Your spine is made up of a series of bones (vertebrae) stacked on top of one another and separated and cushioned by a tough, spongy disc. This disc, called an intervertebral disc, provides shock absorption and supports the flexibility of your spine. 

Usually, your discs are fully contained within the edges of the vertebrae. But sometimes, a disc shifts (slipped disc) or cracks and leaks (herniated disc). Changes in the structure or function of an intervertebral disc affects spinal movement, and the protruding disc may irritate or compress the spinal cord or a spinal nerve.

Falls, car accidents, and other injuries can damage an intervertebral disc. As you age, you’re more likely to develop these injuries because of the degenerative changes that make the spongy cushion more vulnerable to tears and herniations. 

Spine arthritis

The vertebral bones in your spine also connect to support movement, forming facet joints. These joints allow you to twist and bend your spine. Like your other joints, the cartilage that separates the bones that make up these joints wears away over time. The bones may rub together, causing joint pain, inflammation, and spine arthritis

The age-related joint changes also affect the spine's structure, and the lack of space between the joints may compress the spinal nerves as they exit the spine, causing pain that can radiate into your arms or legs. 

Quitting smoking, staying active, practicing good posture, and maintaining a healthy weight can prevent or postpone the spinal degenerative changes that lead to spinal arthritis. Seeking medical help when you first experience low back pain may also delay the progressive pain condition.

Sprains and strains

Sprains and strains are also a common cause of low back pain. The lumbar spine is a major weight-bearing body part, supporting most of the weight of your upper body. You need strong back and abdominal muscles to support your weight and the components of your spine. 

But accidents happen. Sprains and strains are overstretching of your ligaments and muscles. Gardening activities, household chores, moving furniture, or lifting heavy objects are common causes of sprains and strains.

But it’s not just activities that cause sprains and strains of the back. Sitting for long periods or using poor posture places extra stress on the back and may cause muscle strain and pain.

Spinal stenosis

Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the space inside your spinal canal, leaving less room for the nerves and spinal cord. The narrowing most often occurs due to degenerative conditions that affect the structure of the spine, like herniated discs, degenerative disc disease (DDD), and arthritis.

Not everyone with spinal stenosis has low back pain, but once it starts, it worsens over time.

Low back pain is common and may occur from many causes. The best way to get relief is to discover what’s causing your pain. Call our office today or schedule an appointment online for expert pain management of your back pain.