Common causes of lower back pain


The low back, or lumbar area, serves a number of important functions for the human body. These functions include structural support, movement, and protection of certain body tissues. There are many causes of back pain. Overuse injuries are a very common source of lower back pain and stiffness. However this usually goes away after a few days.

According to Medicinenet, here are some of the most common causes of low back pain:

(1) Lumbar strain: A lumbar strain is a stretch injury to the ligaments, tendons, and/or muscles of the low back. It results in microscopic tears of varying degrees in these tissues. Lumbar strain is considered one of the most common causes of low back pain. The injury can occur because of overuse, improper use, or trauma.

(2) Nerve irritation: The nerves of the lumbar spine can be irritated by mechanical pressure by bone or other tissues, or from disease, anywhere along their paths -- from their roots at the spinal cord to the skin surface. These conditions include lumbar disc disease (radiculopathy), bony encroachment, and inflammation of the nerves caused by a viral infection (shingles).


(3) Lumbar radiculopathy: Lumbar radiculopathy is nerve irritation that is caused by damage to the discs between the vertebrae. Damage to the disc occurs because of degeneration (wear and tear) of the outer ring of the disc, traumatic injury, or both. As a result, the central softer portion of the disc can rupture (herniate) through the outer ring of the disc and abut the spinal cord or its nerves as they exit the bony spinal column. This rupture is what causes the commonly recognized sciatica pain of a herniated disc

(4) Bony encroachment: Any condition that results in movement or growth of the vertebrae of the lumbar spine can limit the space (encroachment) for the adjacent spinal cord and nerves.

(5) Conditions of the bone and joints: Bone and joint conditions that lead to low back pain include those existing from birth (congenital), those that result from wear and tear (degenerative) or injury, and those that are due to inflammation of the joints (arthritis).

Other conditions causing lower back pain include:

(1) Disc tear

(2) Spondylolisthesis: Normal wear and tear makes it hard for your joints and ligaments to keep your spine in the proper position, especially as we age. When a vertebrae moves more than it should, it can slide forward and on top of another. When this happens, bones can press on the spinal nerves and cause lower back pain.

(3) Vertebral fractures: Caused by osteoporosis (brittle bones)

(4) Spinal stenosis: A narrowing of the spine space around the spinal cord can put pressure on nerves. The narrowing is typically caused by bone spurs that have developed as a result of osteoarthritis

(5) Scoliosis. An abnormal curvature of the spine can cause back pain...

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