What Type of Low Back Pain do you Have?

Have you been experiencing pain in your lower back but have no idea what could be causing it? You’re not alone.

The back is a complicated structure and many things can go wrong with it. You can sprain ligaments, strain muscles, rupture discs and irritate joints, all of which can lead to back pain. Additionally, sports injuries or accidents can cause back pain.

Sometimes an everyday movement, for example, bending over to pick up a dirty sock, can

result in pain. So can doing the same movement over and over again for your job or your favorite hobby.

What can happen after straining muscles is that you are likely to use your back differently than usual, sometimes in an effort to protect that injury. As other parts of your back work harder or move in a new way to make up for the injured muscles, they also become more prone to injury.

If you are experiencing pain in your lower back, here are a few conditions that may be causing it:

Bulging disc

As discs degenerate and weaken, cartilage can bulge or be pushed into the space containing the spinal cord or a nerve root. When this happens it is called bulging or herniated disc. Studies have shown that most herniated discs occur in the lower or “lumbar” portion of the spinal column. You may have also heard the term “slipped” disc used to describe this condition. Slipped disc does not mean the disc has shifted or fallen out of place in any way. Rather, it refers to a disc that has split or ruptured, or whose layered, cartilaginous outer wall has been forced out of its normal boundary. If you are experiencing this condition you may feel a number of painful and uncomfortable symptoms throughout the back, neck and extremities.

Spinal degeneration

Spinal degeneration is very common, particularly as we age. Years of tension and stress can lead to disc wear and tear, which can then lead to a narrowing of the spinal canal. Discs become drier and thinner, making them more prone to damage. These discs can no longer serve their role as shock absorbers as they may have when you were younger. A person with spinal degeneration may experience stiffness in the back upon waking or may feel pain after walking or standing for a long time.

Spinal Stenosis

The constricting or narrowing of the spinal canal can cause a condition called spinal stenosis, which can be either acquired or inherited. Those who inherit spinal stenosis naturally have a small spinal canal; however, when spinal stenosis is acquired in most cases it begins slowly and develops over years. As time passes, the space between the nerve roots, spinal cord and vertebrae is reduced. Typically, the narrowing of the spinal canal is a result of abnormal bone or tissue growth. Sufferers may feel pain, numbness or weakness in various parts of the body depending on the location of spinal stenosis.

Sciatica

Sciatica is the collection of symptoms that can arise when the sciatic nerve is compressed. This nerve is the largest and longest in the body, running from the base of the spine and down through both legs. It is also characterized by other symptoms like burning, cramping, muscle weakness, tingling and numbness. Sciatica generally occurs on one side of the body, but it can affect both sides.

Arthritis

A term that collectively describes a variety of diseases causing pain, tenderness, stiffness, and swelling in the joints, as well as abnormalities in various soft tissues of the body, nearly 90 percent of people over the age of 55 will experience some type of arthritis. It occurs when there is inflammation in our joints. The resulting back pain can decrease back motion and flexibility while standing, sitting and even walking.

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