Back pain is one of the most common work-related injuries and is one of the main reasons why people visit physicians. If you’re suffering from lower back pain, you’re not alone, since nearly 80% of adults suffer from lower back pain at one point in their life. Lower back pain affects both men and women equally, and the pain ranges in intensity, from a constant dull ache to a sharp sensation that can incapacitate a person.
The pain can generally start because of lifting something heavy or by an accident, and it may even develop with time due to changes in the spine caused by age. Irrespective of how it was caused, lower back injuries can be anywhere between downright debilitating and mildly annoying. Most lower back pain is short term or acute and will only last for a couple of days to a few weeks.
Acute back pain tends to be mechanical in nature, due to a disruption in the back components that fit together and move. The pain severity isn’t related to the extent of the physical damage since even a simple strain can lead to excruciating pain in the lower back, making it difficult for you to walk or stand up, while a degenerated or herniated disc can be completely painless.
What Causes Lower Back Pain?
The most common causes of back pain are all mechanical in nature, and most lower back pain cases are caused by the degeneration of the spine as people get older. There are numerous examples of back pain, some of which include:
Sprains and strains
Most instances of acute back pain are due to sprains and strains. Sprains are caused by tearing or overstretching the ligaments, while strains are tears in the muscle or tendon. You can suffer from sprains and strains by improperly lifting something, twisting, overstretching, or lifting something too heavy. These movements can also trigger painful spasms in the back muscles.
Intervertebral disc degeneration
This is one of the most common causes of lower back pain, and it takes place when the rubbery discs lose their integrity due to aging. Intervertebral discs in a healthy back allow flexion, torsion, and bending of the lower back and provide height. The discs lose their cushioning ability as they deteriorate.
Sciatica is when the sciatic nerve is compressed, which results in a burning or shock-like pain in the lower back, which extends down the buttocks and down one leg. In extreme cases, when the nerve is pinched between the bone and the disc the symptoms will not only include pain but muscle weakness and numbness in the leg, due to nerve signals being interrupted. This condition can also be caused by a cyst or tumor pressing on the sciatic nerve.
Injuries while playing sports, car accidents, and falls can injure and damage muscles, ligaments, and tendons, which can result in lower back pain. Traumatic injuries may also compress the spine, which will result in an intervertebral disc herniating or rupturing.
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