Back pain may result from abnormalities in the soft tissues – the muscles, ligaments and nerves as well as in bones and joints of the spine. With the weight of the upper body resting on the lower back, there is stress and strain applied to these structures. Motor vehicle and sporting accidents are common causes too, as they cause increased strain and tears up the supporting structures of the lower back.
Treatment of our back pain is dependent on the cause. The common causes are:
- Poor Posture – Poor posture stresses your spine. Ligaments are over-stretched, muscles tire and joints and nerves are put under pressure. Long hours of sitting, strenuous lifting techniques and poor mattress can all contribute or aggravate the back pain.
- Muscle Strains – Minor back muscle strains quickly and improves on their own, but more severe strains will need Physiotherapy treatment to relieve pain and promote healing.
- Ligament Strains – Stretching ligaments too far or too quickly makes them tear and bleed into surrounding tissues, causing swelling and pain.
- Disc Problems – Discs are anchored to the vertebrae above and below, so they cannot ‘slip’ out of place. They can wear down with age, but most disc problems arise from injury. Discs can bulge (prolapse) or herniated, pressing on the spinal nerves/spinal cord, causing pain and numbness down the legs, pins and needles, as well as legs’ weakening.
- Sciatica – The sciatic nerve run from the lower back, through the buttocks and down at the back of your legs. Irritation anywhere along this pathway will cause pain in the back and legs.
- Arthritis – Vertebral and facet joints can be affected by arthritis, causing degeneration and inflammation within the joint and the growth of bony spurs on the edges of the vertebrae.
- Muscle Weakness – Recent research has shown that weakness of the deep abdominal muscles can contribute to increased strain on the lower back.