Sitting all day long in front of the computer, barely moving with the neck forward and the back hunched—it’s the perfect recipe for lower back pain disaster. Eight out of 10 Americans are going to complain of back pain at some point in their lives, with 30% of men and 20% of women reporting back pain as having an effect on their ability to work. Lower back pain can lead to more serious health conditions if left untreated. If you’re experiencing persistent back pain that doesn’t go away, keep reading to learn what’s probably causing it and how you can remedy it:
Cause of Acute Lower Back pain: Muscle Strains or Ligament Sprains
The single most common cause of lower back pain is a strained muscle or sprained ligament. This can happen suddenly or over time from repetitive movements. Strains happen when a muscle is stretched too much and tears, leading to damaged muscle. Sprains happen due to the tearing and over-stretching of ligaments. The symptoms of both strains and sprains are the same, and they are caused by the following:
- Poor posture over time or sitting too long. This is most common among office workers.
- Lifting a heavy object
- Twisting the spine while lifting
- Sports injuries
- Sudden movements that cause too much impact on the lower back, like a fall
- Sleeping on a hard surface. The quality of your mattress can significantly affect your lower back. If your mattress is old, stiff, and saggy, it’s time to get a new one. You can check out a new mattress at a mattress store in American Fork.
Causes of Chronic Lower Back Pain
Once your back pain exceeds three months and doesn’t respond to the body’s natural healing process, it’s considered chronic lower back pain. It usually involves a joint problem, a disc problem, and/or an irritated nerve root.
- Lumbar herniated disc. The lumbar disc has a jelly-like center that can break through the outer layer. It can also irritate a nearby nerve root. The disc wall can also be torn, and since it contains a lot of nerve fibers, this can cause severe pain.
- Degenerative disc disease. As you age, your intervertebral discs lose hydration and wear down. This reduces their ability to reduce forces and will transfer force to the disc wall. This will lead to weakened discs, which may lead to herniation and the collapse of the discs.
- Osteoarthritis. This condition is the result of wear and tear of the disc and facet joints. It’s commonly associated with aging and progresses slowly over the years. Commonly referred to as the degenerative joint disease, it involves pain, instability, stenosis, and inflammation.
- Trauma. If you’ve had an accident that caused acute fractures or dislocation of the spine, this can be causing your chronic lower back pain. If you suspect this, you should see a doctor immediately.
Having lower back pain affects the quality of your life. If you’ve been experiencing acute or chronic lower back pain, seek help from a doctor, a chiropractor, or a physical therapist. This will prevent the problem from getting worse and increase your chance of having a healthy back again.