The lumbar region is otherwise called the low back (the area that begins below the ribcage) and the pain in this region is known as lower back pain. Back pain is very common – almost everyone has it at some point in their life. For working women and men and especially middle-aged working women, this is one of the major causes of missed work. If it is less severe, it often gets better on its own. But, when lower back pain doesn’t get better and becomes increasingly troublesome, you must see an orthopaedic doctor or spine specialist to rule out any underlying cause and to get effective treatment.
What causes lower back pain?
Lower back pain causes: The most common cause of lower back pain is pulled muscle or ligament or torn ligament. Overstretching of muscles damages or tears the muscles. When this happens, the ligaments that connect bones together get affected. The causes of strain and sprain include poor posture over time, falls, sudden movements, twisting the spine while lifting something heavy. Lifting heavy objects, weight lifting exercises, vigorous exercises, injuries during sports that involve large impact and twisting can also lead to lower back pain.
Lower back pain may also be due to the tiny gel-filled discs that protect the space between the vertebrae. If one of these disks’ swells or bursts, it can put pressure on the nerve. If the nerve is sciatic, the pain spreads from the hip to one leg. It is known as sciatica.
Your Job: If your job involves twisting, stretching, pulling, lifting your spine, it may lead to back pain while stretching and twisting the spine. Sitting at a table all day can be dangerous in itself. Especially if the chair is uncomfortable or prone to slipping.
Your Bag: Believe it or not your bag, purse, briefcase or backpack too can be a culprit if you carry a heavy one all through the day over your shoulders. Your lower body supports this additional weight putting pressure on your back spine. Next time when you carry an overstuffed one be careful – especially when it is your day-to-day routine.
Lower back pain causes – Your Posture
Of course, the mother would say, “Get up be straight! If you don’t slouch, your back supports your weight evenly. Meaning if you sit in a chair that provides enough lumbar support for your hips, shoulders, and legs and provision for resting your feet properly on the ground, you are in good posture. When standing, keep a balanced weight on both feet.
Lower back pain causes male
Your workout at the gym or playground – especially after a long gap or period of inactivity. Therefore, don’t overdo your workouts at the gym during weekends after a long haul of hectic work throughout the week. Obese individuals, people who lift heavy objects or those who lead a sedentary life are prone to lower back pain.
Chronic lower back pain causes: This type of back pain lasts longer than 2 to three months. It can be due to an irritated nerve root, a joint problem or a disc problem. Lumbar herniated disc irritates nearby nerve roots and causes nerve compression, inflammation and nerve root pain.
Degenerative disc disease is associated with ageing due to loss of hydration and the effect of force and tears. Facet joint dysfunction and sacroiliac joint dysfunction (sacroiliitis) are also responsible for lower back pain. The other causes of lower back pain include spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal), Spondylolisthesis, Osteoarthritis, trauma (injury) and disc deformity (curvature of the spine – kyphosis or scoliosis) and compression fractures.
Less Common Causes of Low Back Pain
While considerably less common, low back pain may also be caused by:
Spinal infection (Osteomyelitis), though less common, can cause lower back pain. It may become life-threatening if not addressed and treated comprehensively. This type of infection can spread through blood transfusion, injections and surgical procedures. Individuals whose immune system has been compromised due to an autoimmune disorder, kidney disease or life-threatening health condition are prone to developing a spinal infection.
Rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, lupus erythematosus, fibromyalgia, ankylosing spondylitis and other such conditions can possibly cause back pain.
Tumour – Spinal tumours can cause back pain. In the majority of the cases, tumours start somewhere else in the body and metastasize to the spine. Lung cancer, Prostate, kidney, thyroid, cervical, ovarian and breast cancer are some of the most common tumours that spread to the spine. A sudden manifestation of back pain in patients who have already been diagnosed with cancer should well be evaluated comprehensively for spinal metastasis.
You must see a specialist orthopaedic or spine doctor if your back pain is not getting better within 3 – 4 days. Lower back pain causes are sometimes unknown or idiopathic. Dr Vasudeva Juvvadi recommends you to see a specialist doctor immediately without wasting any time if you have back pain after injury or fall. Similarly, if you have back pain associated with weakness in legs, bowel or bladder control issues, fever, pain while urinating and coughing, you must see a specialist doctor immediately.