What Causes Chronic Lower Back Pain?

Lower back pain is a widespread issue, affecting almost ⅔ people at some point in their lives. In most cases, the cause of lower back pain is not severe, and you can often manage the pain on your own. However, for some individuals the pain can be chronic, therefore, it is important to seek advice from a physiotherapist or doctor.

In this article, we will discuss what causes lower chronic lower back pain and how it can be treated.

How Does Chronic Lower Back Pain Happen?

How Does Chronic Lower Back Pain Happen
Source: medicalnewstoday.com

Lower back pain refers to pain in the area of your back from the bottom of your ribs to the top of your legs. It can originate from various structures in your back, including bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, nerves, and tendons.

Your back is supported by the spine, which is made up of 24 separate bones called vertebrae stacked on top of each other. The lower section of the spine is called the lumbar spine. Below the vertebrae, at the bottom of your spine, there are bones called the sacrum and coccyx. Lower back pain is sometimes referred to as lumbosacral pain.

Discs of cartilage sit between each vertebra, acting as shock absorbers and enabling your spine to bend. Some lower back pain can originate from these discs. Your spinal cord runs through the vertebrae, carrying nerve signals between your brain and the rest of your body. If the nerves at the base of your spine become compressed or inflamed, it can lead to sciatica—a type of pain that starts in your back or buttocks and radiates down your leg.

The Causes of Chronic Lower Back Pain

The Causes of Chronic Lower Back Pain
Source: hss.edu

Determining the exact cause of back pain is often challenging for doctors because the back is made up of many different parts and surrounding tissues. Even tests such as X-rays and MRI scans are not usually helpful for most people.

Causes of lower back pain can be classified into two categories: specific back pain and non-specific back pain.

Specific back pain refers to cases where there is a specific cause for the pain. Some common causes include a slipped (herniated) disc, where a disc bulges out of shape and presses on the surrounding nerves; fractures or breaks in the vertebrae, which can occur due to spinal trauma or osteoporosis; facet joint pain, which is a pain in the joints that connect the bones in the spine; and inflammatory lower back pain caused by conditions like ankylosing spondylitis, which leads to inflammation in the spinal joints and ligaments. While rare, back pain can also be a symptom of more serious conditions such as infections or cancer.

Non-specific back pain, on the other hand, refers to cases where no specific cause can be identified. It is the most common type of back pain and often results from strains in the muscles, tendons, or ligaments around the back. It can be challenging to determine the exact cause of non-specific back pain.

Certain factors can increase the risk of developing lower back pain, such as lifting heavy objects, being overweight, having a sedentary lifestyle, having a physically demanding job or experiencing work-related stress, standing for long periods, and experiencing depression.

Below are some of the common conditions, diseases, and disorders that may cause chronic back pain:

disorders that may cause chronic back pain
Source: healthcentral.com
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Ankylosing Spondylitis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Herniated discs
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Scoliosis
  • Sciatica
  • Kyphosis

Muscle, ligament, and tendon strains and sprains

What Does Chronic Lower Back Pain Feel Like?

What Does Chronic Lower Back Pain Feel Like
Source: kelloggbrainspine.com

The symptoms of lower back pain can vary from person to person. It can occur suddenly after lifting something heavy or making a certain movement, or it may develop gradually without a clear cause. Some people experience dull pain, while others describe it as tearing or burning. Certain activities or positions may worsen the pain, while others may provide relief. The severity of the pain can range from mild to severe. In cases of sciatica, the pain may radiate from the back or buttock down the leg, sometimes reaching the foot or toes.

In most cases, lower back pain improves within a few weeks without seeking professional help. However, if the pain persists for more than two to three weeks without improvement or if it worsens, it’s advisable to seek advice from a general practitioner or physiotherapist.

How to Treat and Cure Chronic Back Pain

How to Treat and Cure Chronic Back Pain
Source: healthline.com

Chronic back pain can be treated in multiple ways, from simple exercise, physical therapy, and medication. In decades gone by, people suffering from back pain were told to get plenty of rest, however, studies now show that this could have a detrimental effect. Now people are told to stay active and mobile when possible, taking short walks, stretching, and even going on a gentle jog.

If a person is out of shape or obese then they may be referred to a physical therapist who can work with the patient to help them shed the extra pounds, building muscle strength in the back and core, and improve their flexibility. This can help to take pressure off the spine, provide more support, and allow the patient to perform a range of movements without any pain.
The sciatic nerve, which is one of the spinal nerves, connects from your low back, through your leg into your knee. Sciatica feels like a shooting pain running from your lower back, down your leg, and can contribute to knee pain. It usually has some other root cause, like nerve degeneration or an injury.

Together, the knees and back provide support for activities like walking and tennis. One of these regions may put tension on the other when it gets unpleasant. Pain in the knees and lower back can be brought on by arthritis, injuries, and bad posture. If you are suffering from knee issues then it will not be possible for you to take care of the whole treatment. However, you can view website to understand the possible knee surgeries to be fit again for exercise

Medication can also help to ease pain in the short term, with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) being the most commonly prescribed drug for back pain. This medication includes well-known drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. In severe cases, a doctor may also prescribe opioids but this can be quite rare, as the side effects such as potential addiction make them a last resort. There is also a range of injection-based therapy which targets the exact area of pain to provide short-term relief.

Finally, surgery may be the final course of action which could be traditional surgery like a laminectomy, discectomy, and spinal fusion surgery, or modern spinal devices such as the Premia Spine TOPS System. Please read more here about this unique device.

Thank you for reading. If you are suffering from chronic back pain then it is highly advised to seek a medical consultation as soon as possible.