Lower Back Pain
While lower back pain may be common, its wide variety of causes mean it needs to be accurately diagnosed and treated appropriately to reduce the risk of ongoing problems and pain. The cause of lower back pain and discomfort varies but is most often of musculoskeletal origin and results from abnormal stress and strain to muscles, ligaments and joints. This is called ‘non-specific lower back pain’. This pain may develop following a trauma such as lifting a heavy object or may occur over time from daily routines such as poor posture at work. Different mechanisms each require different treatments specific to the pathological nature of the injury that has occurred, reinforcing the importance of seeking a thorough assessment and treatment in order to optimise your rehabilitation. Pain can be sharp or dull and can be localised over a small or large region of your back. In rare cases, causes of back pain can include fractures, cancer, infections and systemic conditions.
Causes of non-speciﬁc lower back pain can include:
Poor posture places excess stress on the muscles, ligaments, joints and the inter-vertebral discs of your spine. Prolonged poor postures can cause strain, fatigue and pressure on spinal structures that can result in lower back pain. It is important to be mindful of posture not only at work but when standing, sitting and lifting objects too.
A bulging or prolapsed disc describes the outward bulging of an inter-vertebral disc - a spongy cushion-like structure that sits between the vertebrae of the spine and acts as a shock absorber. This may cause it to push against a nerve and produce neurological symptoms including pain, numbness, tingling and cramps. Common symptoms of a bulging disc are both localised lower back pain and referred pain usually travelling down the leg or into the groin.
Muscular and ligamentous sprains and strains occur from increased stress on the tissues such as through heavy lifting, twisting, reaching, sport and car accidents. Muscles fatigue and can tear resulting in pain and swelling.