Lower back pain is very common! In fact, eighty percent of all Americans deal with it at some point during their lives. This information comes from an orthopedic surgeon, Ron Wisneski, who is a spinal disorder expert. If you suffer from nagging or sporadic lower back pain, you should know the primary causes of this type of discomfort.
Knowledge is power. With this in mind, we’d like to share information about the most common causes of lower back pain.
Why Is It Happening?
The lower back takes a beating. It’s a part of the body which experiences plenty of wear and tear, via strain and mechanical stress. It bears the weight of the entire upper body, so it carries a load and the weight of this load tends to trigger occasional or chronic pain in some people.
Your spine is responsible for carrying the weight of the upper part of your body. The spine consists of thirty small bones. They’re known as vertebrae and they are arranged into a stack formation. A disc separates each vertebra. It’s made of cartilage, which has a sponge-like consistency. The disc will absorb shocks and stop the vertebra from rubbing up against other vertebra.
As we get older, the discs lose some of their cushioning properties. They tend to shrink and/or degenerate. When this happens, lower back pain is often the result. If this is happening to you, you have a health issue which is referred to as degenerative disc disease. Discs may also become damaged. When discs are weakened for any reason, more pressure is applied to their jelly-type centers.
When this added pressure occurs, you may be at risk for a slipped disc, which is also called a ruptured disc or a herniated disc. With a herniated disc, the center of the disc will bulge. The bulging will make the stuff inside of the disc press down on the delicate nerves which transmit messages to your brain. These nerves are so sensitive and this is why people experience pain.
How to Deal With Lower Back Pain
Some people need surgery and/or medication in order to alleviate lower back pain. Others are able to practice self-care techniques which ease or eliminate their symptoms. The most common prescription medications for lower back pain are narcotics (painkillers or opiods) and muscle relaxants. OTC remedies (Motrin, Advil, Tylenol, etc.) may also be effective. Surgery is chosen in order to correct anatomical problems which trigger instability in the spine or the pinching of nerves. Only a doctor will know which form of treatment is right for you.
Lower back pain which is less severe will typically respond to weight loss (less weight in the upper body means less weight carried by the spine/lower back), exercise and rest. In terms of exercise, consider adding some partial crunches, wall sits and hamstring stretches to your daily routine. Also, consider the type of mattress you sleep on and pillow you use. A firmer mattress will offer the highest level of support and this support is important. An orthopedic pillow will help you to sleep in the right position for lower back pain relief.
Now that you know why lower back pain happens, you’ll be ready to find the right treatment(s).