14 Dec Salient causes of lower back pain
Lower back pain is a common medical problem which can manifest itself in acute or chronic forms. The lower back is often more highly susceptible to pain than the upper back since the weight of the upper part of the body rests on the lower back. Often it becomes difficult for doctors to detect the exact cause of lower back pain since a number of underlying conditions can be responsible for this symptom. Here are some of the causes of this symptom:
What are the common causes of lower back pain?
- Age related degeneration: Discs are spongy pieces of cartilage that rests between two vertebra and acts like a cushion, preventing the two vertebra from grazing against each other. Age often leads to intervertebral disc degeneration which implies that the discs deteriorates and shrinks and so does their cushioning ability. The resulting friction created between the vertebral bones, grinding against each other, gives birth to lower back pain. Degeneration of facet joints and ruptured discs are some of the other conditions that could also be responsible for lower back pain.
- Injuries: An accidental injury to the lower back is also a very common cause of acute lower back pain which may lead to a chronic condition if left untreated. Sprains or fractures resulting from sudden falls, jerks and jolts can lead to painful injuries. Overuse of back muscles while working, awkward back movements, remaining in a hunched position for long periods, lifting heavy objects are some of the voluntary body movements that can also lead to lower back injuries resulting in pain.
- Osteoporosis: Vertebral fractures are not always the result of a sudden accidental trauma but also may be due to osteoporosis. This is a condition where the bones become porous and weak and the symptoms worsen with age. The bones become more and more fragile with age and since the lower back bones need to bear more weight, they tend to fracture easily leading to a painful condition.
- Underlying diseases: A number of diseases may exhibit acute or chronic lower back pain as one of the symptoms of the disease. Scoliosis involves curvature of the spine that is associated with back pain. Arthritic diseases like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and spinal stenosis may also have lower back pain as a symptoms of the disease. Besides these, pregnancy, kidney stones, fibromyalgia, endometriosis can also contribute towards lower back pain.
- Lifestyle choices: Some lifestyle selections also increases the vulnerability to develop lower back pain and these include:
- Obesity due to unhealthy diet and lack of exercise
- Cigarette smoking
- Excessive use of corticosteroids that damage bones
- Infections and tumors: Infections in the lower back region like osteomyelitis or discitis may be the source of lower back pain. Malignant or benign tumours in the lower back could be a more sinister cause of pain in the area.
- Stress and depression: Even though back pain is a purely physical symptom, mental state also affects the strength and depth of the pain felt. Depression or anxiety have been shown to aggravate painful symptoms in a number of individuals. Stress can cause the back muscles to become tense and painful.