Lower back pain is very common, and the degree of pain can vary greatly depending on the cause of the problem. Many people experience sudden lower back pain after heavy lifting, twisting or sudden movements. Others experience a dull lower back pain that aches constantly and is often worse after long periods of inactivity.
At Commonwealth Spine and Pain Specialists, where we relieve some of the most treatment-resistant cases of patients’ lower back pain, we would like to explore with you some of the causes of this nagging-to-agonizing condition.
What causes lower back pain?
Lower back pain can be caused by muscle strain, a herniated lumbar disc or degenerative disc disease. Pain that occurs suddenly is usually associated with muscle strain, which happens when muscles and ligaments stretch too much or tear. Muscle strain can make it difficult to move or sit, cause muscle spasms, be sore to the touch, cause prolonged aching or radiate to the groin, buttock, or upper thigh.
A herniated disc can cause sciatica, which is severe, ongoing pain that radiates to the leg and foot and often occurs on only one side of the body. A herniated disc occurs when the soft interior of a disc leaks out, irritating nerves in the spine.
Degenerative disc disease usually occurs as you age, but sometimes can affect adults as young as 20. This occurs when lumbar discs begin to break down and cause inflammation and instability in the spine. Degenerative disc disease causes lower back pain that worsens when walking, standing and bending. It often causes tired legs and tight hamstrings.
In next month’s blog on lower back pain, we will describe the spectrum of treatments available for both acute and chronic pain. Please contact us at Commonwealth Spine and Pain Specialists at (804) 288-7246 or schedule online if you have questions about your lumbar pain — we are Virginia’s most experienced Pain Specialists, and diagnosing and treating lumbar pain is one of our specialties!