What Causes Low Back Pain?

Low back pain is one of the most prevalent causes of pain in adults with around 80-90% of people experiencing it at some point in their life. Generally, it is not of a serious nature and is able to be managed conservatively.

Red Flags, or danger signs that you may need a specialist consult include an interruption in bowel or bladder function, leg pain with dramatic weakness – where you can’t move your foot or toes, and a complete loss of reflexes in the lower limb. Thankfully these occur rarely.

Most people’s experience with lower back pain will be mechanical in nature. They can feel a sharp or dull pain in the small of the back, with associated muscle spasming, occasional referral to the leg or thigh, and is usually preceded by an event causing the pain such as:

– Lifting/twisting while moving a heavy object (such as a box or child)
– Prolonged sitting
– Falls
– Being involved in a motor vehicle accident

Mechanical back pain can be classified as acute or chronic with acute pain generally lasting a few days or weeks, and chronic pain for 3 months or more. Chronic low back pain can also be degenerative in nature.
Causes of mechanical low back pain can be:

– Disc bulges/herniation
The disc between the vertebrae may become damaged and bulge slightly, causing pressure on the surrounding nerves

– Ligament/joint sprain and muscle spasms
Constant poor loading or a single traumatic event can cause stretching and tearing of the ligaments and muscles around your spine causing localised pain with occasional referral to the buttocks or thigh

– Postural back pain
Poor posture can be one of the most common causes of back pain and is a frequent presentation in our clinic. Sleeping position, work desk set up and standing posture may all be contributing factors.

– Degenerative changes
Back pain and stiffness may develop from ‘wear and tear’ to the spinal joints and discs. This can be degenerative in nature, be gradual in onset, and may become chronic.

At Spinal and Sports Care, we are a spinal treatment centre with clinics in Parramatta and Castle Hill. Our experienced physiotherapists and chiropractors are able to assess and remedy pain with a range of lower back treatments. For more information or to book an appointment for lower back pain treatment in Castle Hill or Parramatta, call (02) 9683 1110.