What Causes Lower Back Pain?

What causes lower back pain?

If you suffer from back pain, you are not alone. In fact, according to the American Chiropractic Association “31 million Americans experience low-back pain at any given time.” The lower back, also known as the lumbar region, starts right below the ribcage. As most people may be aware, pain can be intense and is the single leading cause of disability. But what causes lower back pain and how can we avoid it?

Fortunately, lumbar pain usually gets better on its own. Even when it doesn’t there are effective treatment options.

Symptoms of Low Back Pain:

While there are a number of symptoms of lower back pain, most people experience a dull ache, stabbing, or shooting sensations. Furthermore, the pain may make it hard to move or stand up straight.

Acute back pain is sudden and often occurs after an injury from sports or heavy lifting. Pain that lasts more than three months is considered chronic and you should see a doctor immediately. You should consult a doctor if you suffer from chronic pain or if acute pain lasts more than 72 hours.

Severe Symptoms:

If you experience severe back pain after a fall or injury you should be checked out by a health care professional immediately. Other warning signs may include loss of bowel or bladder control, leg weakness, fever, and pain when coughing or urinating. If you have any of these symptoms along with your back pain, contact your doctor.

What Causes Lower Back Pain?

There are many causes of low back pain and some of the most common include:

  • Injury — Traumatic, sports-related or even from something seemingly minor
  • Repetitive motion — Continually twisting, bending or lifting in a stereotyped motion
  • Vibration — Constant vibration from a vehicle or machinery
  • Obesity — Extra body fat puts additional stress on the spine
  • Poor posture — Incorrect alignment of the spine leads to pain
  • Smoking — Reduces bone density, reduces self-healing capacity and increases chance for damage
  • Pathological — Disease, infection or tumor

What You Can Do To Reduce Pain:

There’s a reason that the proverb “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” exists. In most situations you can avoid back pain by changing your lifestyle or avoiding poor choices before hand.

Some of the most basic tips are fairly common knowledge, but not often utilized. When you are overweight, it is time to fix and maintain a healthy diet and weight. As a general rule of thumb, try to stay away from processed foods and saturated fats. Mix in highly colored foods like kale, spinach, carrots, beets, etc. to help reduce inflammation and weight.

Under the supervision of a doctor, remain active. Not everyone needs to start a body building routine or run a 5k to get exercise in. Low impact exercises such as walking or swimming can really help improve body composition. As part of any exercise and even seemingly mundane activities, warm up and stretch your back.

Some other tips may help your lower back pain:

  • Maintain proper posture
  • Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes
  • Sleep on a mattress of medium firmness to minimize any curve in your spine
  • Lift with your knees, keep the object close to your body, and do not twist when lifting
  • Quit smoking. Smoking impairs blood flow, resulting in oxygen and nutrient deprivation to spinal tissues

Treatment Options:

If all else fails, there are a number of treatment options available to patients with chronic back pain. Metropolitan Pain Consultants offers regenerative medicine and spinal cord stimulation for those with pain.

Regenerative medicine is typically thought of in two fashions: platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and stem cell injections / bone marrow concentrate. These two options make use of the patient’s own faculties (plasma and stem cells) to “jump start” the body’s natural regenerative process.

Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) or St. Jude Medical’s BurstDR stimulation are temporary implantable devices that manage chronic pain by essentially overriding the pain signals being sent to the brain.

Related Content:

Patient Educational Event:

On Tuesday, June 6, 2017 at 6:30 PM, we will be partnering with St. Jude Medical to host a spinal cord stimulation patient educational event. The event will be held at our new Lyndhurst, NJ location and Metropolitan Pain Consultants’ own Dr. Shelly Sharma will be presenting the benefits of this medication-free modality.

With your current knowledge of what causes lower back pain, our educational event will divulge deeper into what treatment types are available to you. If you were ever curious about spinal cord stimulation, than this is your opportunity to explore it in depth.

At the end of the event we are having an open house so guests can see our state of the art facility while enjoying light food and beverages.

If you still have questions about what causes lower back pain, please feel free to contact us (201) 729-0001. We offer weekday and weekend appointments. You can find us at our conveniently located clinics in West OrangeAberdeen, and Lyndhurst. If you haven’t done so already, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.