Back pain is a common problem, affecting more people than you might realize. Lower back pain has actually been cited by doctors as one of the most prevalent reasons that patients seek medical help for. Many people will actually put the aches and pain aside as much as they can, realizing all too late that they are now in a state of chronic pain. Whether a nagging pain or a sudden injury, it’s important to know your body, and to understand what is truly causing your pain.
The lower back is the most common area to experience back pain. The lumbar spine is composed of five large bones called vertebrae, located in your lower back, just below your waistline. The 24 vertebrae in the spinal column, provides back stability and movement. The muscles of the lower back help stabilize, rotate and flex, where the spinal cord and the brain make up the central nervous system. Just below the lumbar spine is the sacroiliac (SI) joint, which is made up of five vertebrae that are fused together and do not move. The SI joint connects the spine to the pelvis.
Injuries or pain can be caused for reasons ranging from improper posture to abnormalities in the soft tissues, nerves, discs, or vertebrae of the lumbar spine or SI joint. Strain from overexertion, poor posture, lifting activities, physical stress, or injury can all contribute to low back muscle spasms, pinched nerves, or tightening of the lower back muscles. For some people, long periods of poor posture while sitting, driving, or even sleeping, contribute to low back pain. Sports injuries, over lifting, or simply not exercising those core muscles can also contribute to the onset of pain.
Low back pain symptoms can range from sharp and stabbing to a dull ache. The pains can be constant or intermittent and positional. Acute low back pain occurs when the pain comes on very suddenly, often right after an injury. Chronic back pain is defined as pain lasting more than three months. Consult a doctor if you have prolonged back pain longer than 72 hours, especially if you feel as though you cannot even stay on your feet for any period of time.