Five Causes of Low Back Pain

Low back pain is one of the leading causes of absenteeism from work and a reason for doctor visits. About 80% of the adult population has reported experiencing back pain at least once in their lifetime. Low back pain has affected both men and women alike. Pain can be sudden as a result of the improper lifting of heavy objects or it can also develop over the course of time due to degenerative diseases. Acute pain often resolves in a few weeks while chronic pain lasts for more than three months despite home management and doctor-prescribed medications.

Here are five common causes of low back pain:

Lumbar Herniated Disc

A lumbar herniated disc is also known as a slipped disc or ruptured disc. The lumbar vertebrae are segmented together through cartilage. When the cartilage exits or herniates from the spinal cord, it pushes against the spinal cord or nerve roots causing nerve compression. This is a common injury resulting from the sudden lifting of an object or twisting of the back. The compression of the nerve root will cause swelling, inflammation, and severe pain.

Sprains and Strains

Sprains are caused when ligaments are overstretched or torn while Strains result from tendon or muscle tears. Both conditions can occur from improper body posture when twisting, stretching, or lifting something heavy. These improper body positioning can also trigger muscle spasms at the lower back area and can also be painful.


Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease of the cartilage as a result of wear and tear over a long period. It affects the cartilage that acts as a cushion preventing two bones from rubbing each other. It is the most common type of arthritis that affects joints in the hips, hands, knees, and spine. Spinal arthritis often leads to narrowing of the spaces surrounding the spinal cord. This condition is called ‘spinal stenosis’ and may cause pain in the lower back area especially during movement.

Poor Posture

Poor posture can also cause lower back pain. The pressure or weight of the body is not well distributed throughout the spine. Poor sitting and standing posture weaken the tissues in the lower back. It causes misalignment of the intricate connection of muscles, joints, and cartilages beyond their normal limit which will result in pain.

Common poor posture practices that will later result in low back pain:

  • Hunching forward while weeding your garden or washing dishes for a long time
  • Lifting heavy objects off the floor by bending your back
  • Lying on your belly on the bed while working on a laptop/reading a book
  • Sitting on a bed and working on your laptop
  • Slouching or sitting slumped on your office chair or couch
  • Standing with the weight of your body concentrated on one leg
  • Using your vacuum cleaner with one hand and long arm movements
  • Walking in a hunched manner without supporting the head or the trunk

Mechanical Back Pain

Mechanical back pain is one of the causes of low back pain. It is usually a result of a specific trauma or strenuous activity that may cause pain. It is also known as Acute Idiopathic Low Back Pain, Lumbago, Lumbosacral Strain or Sprain, and Lumbar Syndrome. The source of the pain may involve the spinal discs, vertebrae, joints, or soft tissues. Fortunately, people with mechanical low back pain often recover quite well under chiropractic care.  Chiropractic care for mechanical low back pain is an effective form of treatment.

When to see a doctor

Consult a chiropractor when your low back is causing you pain, dysfunction or is persisting for longer than a few days.  Conservative, non-surgical low back treatment can be an effective way of releiving your pains and returning you back to a healthy lifestyle.



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