The back is a large and complex area that includes bones, joints, muscles, blood vessels, nerves and many other structures, and injuries or diseases that affect any of these structures can cause both acute and chronic pain in any area of the back, from the neck to the lower back. Some of the most common causes of lower back pain are:
disc pain from herniated or ruptured discs
arthritis and other degenerative conditions affecting the spine, muscles or nerves
nerve impingements, including cervical radiculopathy in the neck and sciatica in the lower back
traumatic accidents and injuries
repetitive and overuse injuries including heavy lifting or bending
standing or sitting for long periods of time
strain from being pregnant or overweight
poor posture or poor ergonomics at school, work or home
Chiropractors are skilled in “hands-on” evaluations of lower back pain that can help pinpoint the source of pain as well as assess the extent of symptoms. Many types of lower back pain can be determined by a physical examination using these hands-on techniques in addition to passive and active exercises to identify the causes of pain. Diagnostic imaging like x-rays or MRI may also be used.
Most lower back pain is caused by mechanical issues that affect the spine and the way it moves and flexes, the discs that separate the spine bones (vertebrae) or the nerves that travel through the spine. Often, these issues occur when the spinal alignment is “out of whack,” and uneven forces or strains pull the bones and joints out of their normal positions. One of the most effective ways to treat lower back pain is to realign the spine to reduce uneven strain while relieving nerve impingements so the nerve pathways are normalized. In addition to spinal adjustments, therapeutic massage, and gentle stretching exercises can be helpful in reducing pain and stimulating circulation for faster healing. Lifestyle changes like losing excess weight, practicing better posture at home and at work, and using a more supportive mattress and pillow can also help.