If you have lower back pain, you are not alone. About 80 percent of adults experience lower back pain at some point in their lifetimes. It is the most common cause of job-related disability and a leading contributor to missed work days. In a large survey, more than a quarter of adults reported experiencing low back pain during the past 3 months.
Men and women are equally affected by low back pain, which can range in intensity from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp sensation that leaves the person incapacitated. Pain can begin abruptly as a result of an accident or by lifting something heavy, or it can develop over time due to age-related changes of the spine.
Most low back pain is acute, or short term, and lasts a few days to a few weeks. It tends to resolve on its own with self-care and there is no residual loss of function. The majority of acute pain is mechanical in nature, meaning that there is a disruption in the way the components of the back (the spine, muscle, inter-vertebral discs, and nerves) fit together and move.
Lower back pain can be caused by a variety of problems with any parts of the complex, interconnected network of spinal muscles, nerves, bones, discs or tendons in the lumbar spine. Typical sources of low back pain include:
- The large nerve roots in the low back that go to the legs may be irritated
- The smaller nerves that supply the low back may be irritated
- The large paired lower back muscles (erector spinae) may be strained
- The bones, ligaments or joints may be damaged
- An intervertebral disc may be degenerating
Identifying the symptoms and getting a diagnosis that pinpoints the underlying cause of the pain is the first step in obtaining effective pain relief.
This short video describes how chiropractors can help find the cause of back pain. They can recommend the right options to relieve pain and keep it from coming back. ~ Ontario Chiropractic Association