Causes and symptoms

Low back or lumbar Blausen_0484_HerniatedLumbarDisc - Copypain is one of the most common ailments that affects humankind today especially with the ever increasing stress of our daily modern living and its encroachment on our precious time.The result is a tendency to neglect our back due to lack of exercise, poor posture and poor diet and a general  lack of health knowledge.

Your back and especially your lower back’s main function is to support your upper body ,allow flexibility and protect your spinal chord, your lower back unfortunately bears the brunt of the body’s weight including anything else you may pick up or carry.Most low back discomfort is not serious and reflects only a minor injury like a muscle strain.Your back could also be overworked or feeling the effects of normal aging.But very often it is a warning sign we should not ignore,if discomfort becomes an acute back pain and we do not adequately care for our backs ,the problem could become chronic and debilitating.

Low back pain occurs when specific nerve endings are abnormally stimulated to send messages up the spinal cord to the brain,which sorts out the nerve impulses.Normally,the back muscles receive the brains message of pain and tries to protect  the back by going into a spasm to hold your back immobile.Since the bones ,discs ,ligaments and muscles are supplied by many nerve endings,there are various inter-related conditions that can cause back pain.

Causes of low back painScan_Pic0010

Poor posture ,lack of exercise and being overweight can often lead to lower back pain.Most low back pain is due to the improper use of your back.Poor posture strains the lower back and makes it vulnerable to injury.A swayback (an increased lumber curve) is normally a weak one.Weak and flabby abdominal muscles deprive your muscles of its best support and excessive weight adds to the strain.

Back sprains occur when when the back’s muscles or ligaments are stretched or torn. This results from normal activities done improperly such as bending,lifting standing or sitting.The injury may occur as a result of wrenching caused by a car accident or sports activity.Back sprains can heal completely with proper treatment .

Slipped or “ruptured”disc are common but notorious for causing severe pain and disability.The disk may slip or bulge and stimulate nerve endings or in some cases may rupture through and pinch the spinal nerves.This type of pain radiates down the back of  the thigh down the leg and is called sciatica .If pressure or pinching of the spinal nerves continue nerve damage can occur and cause numbness or muscle weakness in the leg.Surgery is normally not advised for a slipped disk although a small percentage may require surgery.Most patients do well with non surgical treatment.        

normal back    Slipped disk     DISLOCATED VERTEBRAE

   normal back                           slipped disk                      dislocated vertebrae   

Dislocated vertebrae happen when the vertebrae slightly dislocate and exert pressure on the spinal nerve.This injury is common with work or sport that involves twisting or turning actions.Chiropractic treatment is generally the best method for realigning the vertebrae back into position.

Wear and tear ,arthritis(osteoarthritis) is part of the aging process and very often unavoidable.Osteoarthritis affects the discs and bones of your back in varying degrees.It narrows the discs and can cause spurs on the vertebrae producing pain.However osteoarthritis can be present with no discomfort at all,proper use of your back and good posture can drastically lessen the effects of aging.

Miscellaneous causes  can include birth defects like having one foot slightly shorter that cause curvature of the spine (scoliosis) but these are quite rare.Stress and overwork and lack of sleep can contribute significantly to low back pain.Other more common problems not related to the spine could be male prostate problems, kidney issues and female related problems.

Any severe or persistent low back pain should be brought to your doctors immediate attention.