Low back pain is one of the top three reasons why people see their doctor. It affects individuals of all ages and health. Low back pain may be result from a muscle sprain and/or strain, arthritis, degenerative disc disease, as well as disc herniations. The foundation of your back is built around the spinal cord, a stack of 24 individual bones called vertebrae. It is your body’s main structural support system. The types of vertebrae include the cervical vertebrae (7 bones forming the upper part of the spine), thoracic vertebrae (12 bones between the neck and lower back), lumbar vertebrae (5 bones in the lower back between the chest and hips), and the sacrum and coccyx (bones at the base of the spine). As you can imagine, an injury sustained from contact sports, falls, heavy lifting, or motor vehicle accidents can cause a wide range of problems, ranging from muscle strains to spine fractures. Repetitive habits such as poor posture or long hours spent sitting at a desk are also common causes that lead to back pain.
Signs & Symptoms of Back Pain
- Persistent ache and/or stiffness.
- Back pain that travels down the back of the thigh, leg and even to the foot.
- Sharp pain – strenuous activities such as heavy lifting can intensify discomfort.
- Numbness, tingling or burning sensations in your leg.
- Weakness sensations in your leg.
- Inability to stand up straight.
- Increased level of pain when coughing or bending forward.
- Pain accompanied by fever, burning during urination, frequent urination.
- Inability to control bladder or bowel movement.
Causes of Back Pain
- Arthritis including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis
- Disc herniation
- Spinal stenosis (narrowing of spinal column that places pressure on the spine)
- Discogenic pain
- Scoliosis (curvature of the spine)
- Failed back surgery
- Osteoporosis (can lead to painful fractures of the vertebrae)
- Fibromyalgia (generalized stiffness, fatigue, and widespread muscle ache)
- Endometriosis (buildup of uterine tissue in the places outside the uterus)
- Kidney stones or infections