Lower back pain of varying intensities occurs at least once in a lifetime to about 80% American adults. The prevalence of lower back pain in Indian population has been found to vary between 6.2% in general population to 92% in construction workers. Check out the EPIDEMIOLOGY-REVIEW here.
While chronic lower back pain is usually defined ‘chronic’ if it lasts for more than three months, acute lower back pain can last for few hours to days or few weeks. There are several causes that lead to lower back pain.
- Most common cause of lower back pain is usually an injury to the disc lying between the vertebrae of the vertebral column. A disc may get torn due to a fall, sudden twisting or lifting heavy objects suddenly. This displaced disc then compresses the nerves exiting the spine and causes pain which can last for more than three days.
- Due to constant movements or as one ages, the ligaments (attach bone to bone) and muscles get torn away. This causes pain and stiffness in the lower back.
Causes to Spinal
- Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of spaces within your spine that puts pressure on nerves travelling through your spine. Spinal stenosis is another common cause for lower back pain.
- Abnormal curvature of the spine commonly called as lordosis or scoliosis leads to pressure on the muscles, nerves and ligaments. This is also commonly seen among children. It can lead to excess pressure on the spine and can cause pain and discomfort. This will further affect your mobility and if it gets severe or is left untreated. It is also called ‘swayback’.
- Spinal osteoarthritis is an age-related condition which leads to degeneration of the spinal vertebrae and pressure on the nerves.
- Women may experience lower back pain during pregnancy, ovarian cysts or fibroids. A cyst is a fluid-filled sac that develops on one of the ovaries that many women develop at least once in a lifetime. Fibroids are compact tumors that are made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissues that develop in the uterus. An estimated 20 to 50 women in their reproductive ages have fibroids with many left undiagnosed.
- Kidney or bladder infections can also cause lower back pain. A bladder infection is one of the urinary tract infections. It is often caused by a bacterial infection in the bladder. In weakened immune systems of people, it can be caused due to an infection caused by a yeast.
Few tests may be prescribed by your doctor in order to confirm the exact cause for lower back pain. A suitable treatment thereafter can ensure better results and relief.
Written by: Dr. C Motwani
Edited by: A. Kumar