Almost everyone experiences low back pain at some time in their life, and usually it’s more than once. Pain in the lower back can happen to anyone at any age for a variety of reasons.
- Bulging disc
- Herniated disc
- Degenerative disc disease
- Pinched nerve
There are other causes for low back pain too, including injuries or spine defects. Degenerative disc disease is usually age related. It’s when the soft center of the disk loses water and becomes dry due to the natural aging process. This causes the bones in the spine to become misaligned as the supporting material collapses.
Low back pain can also occur when you injure the muscles or ligaments in the back. The spine itself is not causing the pain, but rather the muscles. Muscle injury can result from daily activities not handled properly. For example, if you lift a heavy object incorrectly, you can strain the muscles. But injury can also occur as a result of something more serious like a car accident or slipping and falling. Sudden falls can cause the spine to compress or the muscles to twist in ways they aren’t meant to twist.
The treatment for low back pain varies according to the cause of the pain. Pain is defined in 3 ways. There’s acute pain which is pain that occurs suddenly, lasts less than approximately three months, and then diminishes as the cause of the pain is healed. For example, you may strain a muscle in your back one day while picking up a heavy box. After a month of hot or cold compresses (depends on type of injury) and careful physical movement, the muscle will heal and the pain goes away. This is acute pain.
Chronic pain is pain that lasts longer than 3 months. It can be pain that continues even after all known causes of the pain have been corrected, or pain you live with due to an uncorrected back problem. Chronic back pain can simply be miserable for the person enduring the pain. The cause of the pain isn’t visible to anyone else, like a broken arm or leg, but it can limit mobility to a large degree.
Recurring back pain is pain that comes and goes without end.
Many times, low back pain is the result of a muscle sprain. This kind of injury is painful, but fortunately the injured muscle usually heals. A sprained low back can result in muscle spasms or sharp pains when you move a certain way. You can get pain relief most of the time from over the counter anti-inflammatory medications and movement restriction for a few days.
Of course, there can be more serious causes of low back pain. They include osteoporosis, disc disease, arthritis and spinal injuries. If you experience chronic or recurring back pain, you should work with a physician to determine which techniques for healing or pain control best fit your situation.