What are the 3 Causes of Low back pain? Helping you decide if your back pain needs the attention of a chiropractor.

Low back pain is the most common form of pain. Chronic back pain is a leading cause of disability worldwide and one of the most common reasons for people of working age to drop out of the workforce.

The approximate percentage of people that suffer from back pain over the course of their lives is 70-90%. Australian bureau of statistics found that 16% of the Australian population suffers from back pain at any given time. (1.)

Low back pain can be caused by a number of different factors. Today we are going to discuss the top 3 that we commonly see in practice; 

  • Disc
  • Spinal Joint strain & changes in spinal alignment
  • Muscle strain/ Weakness

THE functional spinal unit is comprised of the disc, the vertebrae either side of the disc and the facet joint.  If one area in this unit is affected, then all areas are affected.

1. Disc issues:

If there is leg pain or nerve involvement associated with your low back pain then often disc involvement may be the cause. 

Disc Disease: When the disc is damaged, such as disc bulging, disc herniation or sequestration occurs, this can place direct pressure on the nerves exiting the spine and cause sciatica.

 Disc degeneration: In these cases the narrowed disc, with associated degenerative spur development can cause pressure on the nerves or inflame the nerves leading to sciatica.

Symptoms associated with disc problems?

– Low back pain

– Leg pain and numbness

– Foot pain/numbness

– Tingling in the leg or foot

– Loss of strength in the leg or foot

– Stiffness in the low back.

– Shooting /burning pain in the leg or foot

Interestingly the disc’s blood supply ceases when we are in our late 20’s and it doesn’t have a nerve supply that gives us pain. So what gives us pain?

 When a disc is damaged the pain can come from…

  • Nerves from the spinal cord coming out and down the legs
  • Inflammation and irritation to the ligaments due to uneven stress
  • Changes to the joints alignment

2. Altered spinal movement/alignment:

When low back pain is present and leg pain is more painful and there are less sensations such ‘pins and needles’ and numbness, then the problem may be due to altered spinal/pelvic joint function. This is the most diagnosed causes of low back pain in our office.

In order to prevent or stop low back pain from worsening it’s important to seek advice from a professional, such as a chiropractor, osteopath or physiotherapist. They will be able assess your spinal health and assist you in creating ideal postures to help your spinal complaint. 

Our blog on ‘What is good posture?’ will give you the best indicators you can use to assess your posture.

 3. Muscle strain/weakness:

When the musculature surrounding our low back are tight or weak this can be one of the causes of low back pain.

A tight gluteal or hamstring muscles can cause low back discomfort as this tightness can create restrictions in our movement. Weakness in the core muscles that make up the ‘corset’ surrounding our lower back will also cause lower back pain as they provide support for the lower spine. Weak lower back muscles do not provide the protection for us to perform normal everyday activities such as moving/sitting/exercising. This can ultimately lead to injury and pain. The pain will, over time, also come from altered biomechanics. Weak spinal muscles will negatively impact spinal alignment leading to joint stress. This change to the alignment of the lower back curve and function of the spinal joints will perpetuate the pain cycle.

The answer largely lies in activating our core, stretch our tight muscles and do more exercises that provide balance/mobility to our spine such as pilates or yoga. If the problem is chronic, it’s important to address the altered spinal alignment and joint function. To find out more about what the core muscles are and how you can help to improve your core awareness, CLICK HERE.

If you are suffering from low back pain, please call us on 9329 1118.

 Reference 1. https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/chronic-musculoskeletal-conditions/back-problems/contents/what-are-back-problems


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