What Causes Lower Back Pain & How to Prevent It

Your Lower Back is made up of three main components: The lumbar spine, low back muscles and nerves. The lumbar spine is an extraordinarily engineered part of the human body that supports your upper body’s weight and enables you to perform necessary movements like twisting and bending. Your lumbar spine is also the foundation for your low back muscles, which allow you to walk, flex and rotate your hips. Lastly, the nerves in your lower back provide sensation as well as powering the muscles in your legs, feet and pelvis. However, these three components, though powerful, are very susceptible to pain and injury.

Lower Back Pain Symptoms

  • Aching pain
  • Traveling pain through the legs, feet and/or buttocks
  • Muscle spasms
  • Feeling of tightness ranging from the low back to hips
  • Pain made worse by sitting and/or other specific positions
  • Pain alleviated by holding your body in certain positions
  • Difficulty standing straight
  • Difficulty walking
  • Limited spinal mobility
  • Inability to perform usual daily activities

Causes of Lower Back Pain

The single most common cause of lower back pain is a torn or pulled muscle and/or ligament which can happen suddenly or develop slowly over time. The common causes of this are typically:

  • Heavy lifting and/or improper twisting while lifting
  • Poor posture over time
  • Sports injuries
  • Automobile accidents
  • Falls
  • Sudden movements that stress the lower back
  • Improper sleeping positions
  • Strenuous activities

Though these may be the usual, most common causes of lower back pain, they’re not the only culprits. There are numerous other causes of low back pain, such as:

  • Herniated discs
  • Arthritis
  • Spondylolisthesis, a condition in which a vertebra in your spine has slid forward over the vertebra below it
  • Scoliosis, a condition in which your spine has an abnormal curvature

Diagnosing Lower Back Pain

Upon visiting your family doctor or chiropractor, you will provide a detailed description of the symptoms you’re experiencing, and this will be the main tool used in your diagnosis. You will undergo a physical examination where your physician or chiropractor will test your range of motion, your pain levels and talk to you about your health history, activity habits and the possible cause of your injury.

Lower Back Pain Treatment

If you’ve visited a family doctor, there are a number of different treatment methods that may be prescribed, such as:

  • Ice, applied every 2-3 hours for 15 minutes the week following your diagnosis will help lessen inflammation, pain and swelling
  • Rest, your physician may recommend that you cease as much of your daily, physical activity as possible in order to help avoid worsening your injury
  • Painkillers, (such as Ibuprofen or naproxen) may be prescribed to treat the pain you’re experiencing, however it’s important to recognize that, though medication may help provide relief from the pain, it will not actually treat your symptoms or injury
  • Referral to a specialist, it is possible that your family doctor may refer you to see a specialist such as a chiropractor or physical therapist – depending on the nature of your condition

If you’ve visited or been referred to a chiropractor, your treatment methods may include:

  • A chiropractic adjustment (also referred to as spinal manipulation), this simple treatment can help alleviate pain and improve mobility by gently manipulating the joints affected back to their desired alignment
  • A chiropractic adjustment (also referred to as spinal manipulation), this simple treatment can help alleviate pain and improve mobility by gently manipulating the joints affected back to their desired alignment
  • Muscle relaxation and stimulation, a stretching of your muscles coupled with finger pressure techniques can be used to relax your muscles and relieve tension which can remedy pain
  • Therapeutic exercises, a series of exercises/stretches catered to your specific body and the symptoms you’re experiencing can help remedy pain by strengthening your muscles, improving your mobility and improving your posture

If your low back pain is a symptom of a condition such as spondylolisthesis, chiropractic adjustments will address the mechanical and neurological causes of the pain which can greatly reduce pain and improve movement in the lower back.

Preventing Lower Back Pain

Contrary to popular belief, low back pain can be prevented in most cases by the following activities:

  • Core exercises, having strong core/abdominal muscles can help support your lower back and lessen it’s daily stress and strain
  • Cardiovascular exercise, any cardiovascular exercises (including low-impact activities like walking) can help make you less susceptible to low back injuries
  • Proper lifting techniques, learning proper lifting techniques is important to avoid low back pain and other injuries. It’s important to remember to lift with your legs, not your back, avoid turning/twisting your body while carrying heavy objects and to keep objects close to your body while lifting.
  • Practicing proper posture, given that improper posture can place unnecessary weight and strain on your lower back, having correct posture is a simple way to avoid injury. Actively check your posture throughout your day to make sure you’re not slumped/crouched over and practice holding your shoulders back, straightening your spine and positioning your head upright.
  • Regular chiropractic adjustments, since chiropractors work to keep your spine properly aligned, regular visits to your chiropractor can address shifts in your spinal vertebrae before they become larger issues.

What can HealthFirst Spine & Wellness do for lower back pain?

Given that low back pain is the most commonly treated condition at our practice, we have perfected our approach and brought relief to hundreds of patients through our chiropractic care. Our highly skilled doctors at HealthFirst Spine & Wellness are able to quickly and easily diagnose the root cause of your pain and work towards restoring your spine’s health through chiropractic adjustments and numerous other treatment options available at our practice. We specialize in creating treatment plans specifically tailored to your specific body and symptoms and will utilize our many tools and resources to address your exact, individual issues. Whether you’re simply looking for pain relief or for a complete health and lifestyle change, our combined years of expertise and dedication to your health make us the perfect candidates to bring you the relief and happiness you deserve. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation!