What causes your lower back pain?
Lower Back Pain Causes – The Never Ending Story. There are many, many causes of low back (lumbar spine) pain. Most of the time low back pain is due to an accidental sprain or strain. This kind of pain usually takes care of itself within (fingers crossed!) a few days. Simple strains and sprains usually cause no long-term complications.
However, there are a number of other reasons why your lower back hurts, causing you an absolute agony on daily basis.
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Degenerative disc disease
Facet Joint Osteoarthritis
Spondylolisthesis & Slipped Disc
Osteoporosis & Osteogenesis Imperfecta
Lower Back Pain When Sitting
The G(enetic) Factor
Lower back pain during early pregnancy
Some scientifically sounding conditions causing lower back pain include:
Lower Back Pain Causes: Degenerative disc disease (DDD)
Degenerative disc disease (aka DDD) – A condition known that usually occurs when ageing discs of the spine dries out and the outer rim tears causing low back pain.
Very briefly, the DDD is quite often the outcome of injures (even those minor) & natural daily stresses that can cause spinal discs to gradually lose water & the rigid outer shell of a disc (annulus), simply weakens. When disc(s) weaken and lose water, they will begin to collapse – resulting in a strong pressure being put on the nerves in the spinal column. This degenerative process effectively causes your lower back pain. Ouch!
Lower Back Pain Causes: Facet Joint Osteoarthritis
Another (painful) reason might be the facet joint osteoarthritis (also known as degenerative arthritis). The type osteoarthritis of might irritate the sensory nerves in the facet joints of the spine, which in effect can cause typically acute episodes of lower back pain. This can lead to serious complications, such as numbness of the legs & arms.
Your lower back hurts due to Spondylolisthesis or a Slipped Disc
If a vertebra (bone in the spine) slips out of position, either backwards or forwards, we call it Spondylolisthesis
This is sometimes mistaken for a slipped disc (spinal hernia, lumbar herniated disc), where a disc(s) between vertebrae bulges our of place (herniates) or break open (ruptures) causing a lot of discomfort.
Find out more about Spondylolisthesis & slipped disc.
Scoliosis: When your spine isn’t right
Scoliosis: If your spine doesn’t feel/look right, curves and twists to the side – you probably suffer from some type of scoliosis.
Find out how scoliosis might affect your lower back here
Back pain caused by Osteoporosis & Osteogenesis imperfecta disorders
Vertebral fractures may also be caused by osteoporosis – a condition that weakens your bones, making them very fragile and more likely to break. We is very rarely occurs in babies, children and even adults. It’s most commonly seen when older adults lose mass of their bones and consequently weaken their bones.
Weak bones, brittle bones – we all had a friend or a relative that had a lot of broken bones in their lives. He or she probably suffered from a genetic disorder condition known as Osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bone disease).
Narrowing of the spinal canal which can cause crowding or pinching of the nerves leading to low back pain and other associated symptoms is called Spinal stenosis (or precisely lumbar spinal stenosis when if affects the lower back area). Lumbar spinal stenosis symptoms include: lower back pain, leg or arm weakness, legs or buttocks numbness & problems with balance.
Are you suffering from lower back pain when sitting?
Another back-breaking factor worth mentioning is the incorrect sitting position. Like me, you have probably sat at your desk for countless hours with your back bent like the famous Paris landmark Arc de Triomphe.
I have done this myself. Years of sitting and starring at the screen at work costed my a lot of grief. It’s not the seating on it’s own. I have sat in front of my computer with the shockingly-wrong screen height. In addition to poorly-made chair I used to sit on, my keyboard and mouse positions weren’t ideal at all. Another factor is the lack of…walking. You need to get up from as often as you can!
To find out how to fix your sitting position, check my dedicated Fix Your Sitting Position to Avoid Back Pain post.
Use smart lifting techniques to avoid (lower) back pain
It’s not a rocket science that you should think twice before lifting something heavy. Have you ever lifted an object at work that you would consider as ‘WAAAY TOO HEAVY’?! This may have caused your lower back pain or back pain in general. Safe lifting techniques are very important to prevent any kind of back injures, which can be life-changing and even stop you being able to work at all. Safety should be always your number one priority, no matter what your supervisor tells you – you are responsible for your own back injuries at the end of the day.
Click here to find out more about about how to prevent the (lower) back pain when lifting & handling objects both in and outside of your workplace.
Lower Back Pain Causes: The Genetic Factor
One of the main reasons some people develop lower back pain and others do not may be simply in your genes and the genetics factor. Have you got lower back pain? A chronic back pain? It’s quite likely you have inherited the tendency to this kind of pain ‘with your mothers milk‘ – it may also mean you will struggle to get rid of it, perhaps it will stay with you forever.
Some of us have a lot of sensitive receptors in our lower back, these are called nociceptive fibers. You may have them in your discs. If you were born this way, you may have back pain even without causing it by your own reckless actions. This can (in a nutshell) explain why some of us can lift a lot of weight without having ANY back pain. Some other people will struggle to lift even smallest weights without distress, pain & tearful eyes. So, do not instantly blame yourself, as we’re all very different AND certainly we aren’t cut from the same cloth.
Less commonly (however not impossible) low back pain can be a sign of a serious medical condition, such as diabetes or a pinched nerve. In the case of a pinched nerve, the pain may be accompanied by symptoms like chills, high temperature (fever), night sweats, or even loss of bladder control.
Lower back pain during early pregnancy
While a women is pregnant her hormone (relaxin) loosens her ligaments. As her bones and joints are connected by these tissues (ligaments), she will most likely suffer pain if they’re too loose. It is estimated that up to 80% of women experience some kind of back pain during pregnancy, with lower back pain being the most common. The substantial increase in weight also plays a huge role in the women’s well being and consequently lower back pain.
Find our more about Lower Back Pain Causes in Early Pregnancy.