Past a certain age, most of us deal with occasional or regular lower back pain. Some experts estimate as much as 80% of the population struggles with back pain. As doctors begin to understand more about lower back pain causes and develop more effective treatments, many patients are experiencing significant relief. If you experience lower back pain on a regular or semi-regular basis, there may be something you can do about it instead of just living with it.
To understand lower back causes, think about how much stress is placed on your lower back by your upper body. The weight of the upper body puts great deals of weight on the lower back, and bending, sitting, lifting and carrying, and other everyday activities also put stress on the region. The spine supports all of that weight and stress. The spine is made up of over thirty vertebrae, which are tiny bones stacked on top of one another and held together by a disc, or cartilage. The cartilage is designed to act like a shock absorber of sorts, protecting the bones from grinding against each other. But as we age, those discs begin to wear away. This condition is known as degenerative disc disease, and it's incredibly common among both men and women.
It is also very common for the muscles, ligaments, and joints in the lower back to experience injury or overuse. Herniated discs are caused by a sudden heavy strain, increased pressure to the lower back, or repeated vibrations or motions. Sudden, great forces can also result in fractures to the vertebrae. [PARAGRAPH] Another leading cause of back pain is arthritis or osteoarthritis, which is a condition that affects millions of people. This condition is caused when the cartilage that protects and cushions the joints throughout the body breaks down over time, as people age. Once the cartilage breaks down, the bones that were once protected are exposed and as a result, they grind together, resulting in a lot of pain and discomfort.
If you are experiencing back pain, schedule an appointment with your health care provider to discuss your symptoms and treatment options. Medications are often prescribed to control pain, while physical therapy or surgery may be necessary in some circumstances. Only your doctor will know for sure. Remember that many conditions only get worse over time, so don't put it off. The quicker you go in to visit your doctor, the sooner you will experience relief from your pain!