The Most Common Causes of Lower Back Pain and How To Avoid Them

Nearly everyone will have back pain some time or other during adulthood. Most people experience acute low back pain, meaning it lasts for six weeks or less, but some people develop chronic low back pain, when it lasts longer. The experts at Northwest Suburban Pain Center have some tips to help you avoid the most common causes of low back pain.

Muscle strain

One of the most frequent causes of low back pain is muscle or ligament strain. If you repeatedly lift heavy objects, you’re likely to strain the tissues in your back. Or, if you don’t usually lift heavy objects, you may hurt your back when you do.

There are some things you can do to lower your risk of back strain. One of the most important is to eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly so you don’t have excess weight. Other important steps include:

If you feel sore, such as after a day of yard work or a game of golf, rest, use ice packs, and take over-the-counter medications as necessary to give your muscles time to heal. If you don’t, you may easily strain them and go from simple muscle soreness to strain.

Disc injury

Your spine is made up of vertebrae, with small discs of cartilage between them. Injuries to those discs are a common cause of back pain. There are two main types of disc injury: disc tears and herniated discs.

Disc degeneration

Back pain is more common in older people; your risk increases with age. Part of the reason is that over time, the discs between your vertebrae begin to wear out and lose their cushion. They may tear or simply begin to flatten, letting the vertebrae rub against one another painfully.

Whether you develop degenerative disc disease depends on a host of factors, some of which can’t be controlled. However, there are some things you can do that may help, including:

Herniated discs

Sometimes the discs between your vertebrae slip, or bulge out, and they can herniate, also called rupturing. The bulging can put pressure on the nerves in your spinal canal, causing pain. When the herniated disc is in your lower back, that pain can be in your buttock, and even run down your leg into your foot.

The same tips for avoiding degenerative disc disease and muscle strain apply to avoiding having a herniated disc. Maintaining a healthy weight, gently exercising, and eating a healthy diet are the best ways to keep the discs in your spine healthy.

Other causes

There are many other causes of low back pain, including conditions like arthritis, scoliosis, or spondylolisthesis, which is when one vertebra slides forward so that it’s on top of another.

In some cases, low back pain can be an indicator of some other medical condition, like diabetes or a pinched nerve. If you’re experiencing low back pain, book an appointment online or by phone with one of the specialists at Northwest Suburban Pain Center and begin learning why your back hurts and what you can do to prevent it.

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