The Causes and Symptoms of Lower Back Pain

Although most people associate back pain as coming with age, people from the ages of 30 to 60 are more likely to experience lower back pain. From muscle strains to disc problems, there are many different causes of lower back pain. So, what is causing your lower back pain?

Muscle Strains

Muscle strains are one of the most common causes of acute lower back pain. Muscle strains usually start after physical activities, sudden movements, or lifting a heavy object. Some symptoms of a muscle strain include difficulty moving that can be severe enough to prevent walking to standing; pain that may move around to the groin, upper thigh, buttock, or even the knee; local soreness to the touch; muscle spasms; and a dull or achy pain. Lifting heavy objects, twisting, or sudden movements can cause muscles and ligaments to stretch or even tear. A back muscle strain can cause pain that ranges from mild discomfort to severe and disabling pain, depending on the severity of the strain.

Lumbar Herniated Disc

Often called sciatica, a lumbar herniated disc is caused by a nerve root, in the lower spine, being compressed. This compression can cause pain and numbness that travels along the large sciatic nerve that serves the buttocks, feet, and legs. Sciatica can be caused by a wide range of conditions but it most commonly caused by a lumbar herniated disc, which can stem from degenerated disc disease, isthmic spondylolisthesis, and other conditions. A lumbar herniated disc is characterized by ongoing pain, as opposed to flare-ups; pain that may be worse in the legs or feet; pain that is typically felt on one side of the buttock or legs; pain that is usually worse after long periods of standing still or sitting; severe burning or tingling; weakness, and numbness, or difficulty moving on the leg or foot.

Degenerative Disc Disease

Lumbar degenerative disc disease can affect patients as young as 20 years old. This disease means the lumbar discs between the vertebrae begin to break down, the damaged discs then cause inflammation and an instability in the lower back. Degenerative disc disease is common and can be successfully treated. The symptoms of degenerative disc disease include low-level of constant lower back pain that is punctuated by episodes of severe pain and muscle spasms that can last a few days or even a few months, chronic pain can range from nagging to severe, and back pain that is worsened by sitting. Pain can often be relieved by changing positions, walking, running, or sitting and standing.

Isthmic Spondylolisthesis

Isthmic spondylolisthesis occurs when a vertebra in the lower back slips forward onto the disc space below it. This disorder is most common at the L5-S1 level and can cause low back pain from instability and nerve root pain due to compression of the nerve root. Fractures can occur during childhood but it does not normally show pain until adulthood. Pain often radiates to the buttocks and back of the thighs and often gets worse when bending backward. You may also experience tight hamstrings that can make it difficult to touch your toes and tired feelings in your legs and possibly numbness and tingling in your legs. Pain can feel better while sitting and reclining.

There are many different causes of lower back pain that could be causing you pain. For more information on treating your back pain, call Pain and Spine Specialists today!

Call Pain and Spine Specialists Today!

Pain and Spine Specialists treats many conditions and injuries of the back, neck, and spine by taking a whole-person approach to care. Our focus is getting you back on your feet in good health. In Maryland call 301.703.8767, or call 724.603.3560 in Pennsylvania to make an appointment.

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