Low Back Pain: Causes, Symptoms, Prevention and Treatment

Hello everyone, I am back with another common problem that is almost in everyone’s life. Yeah, we all get a lower back discomfort once in our lifetime. Low back pain or lumbago is like catching a cold or feeling tired or exhausted. You may not like it but it occurs to most of us at some point of time in our life.

a physiotherapist helping woman with low back pain

Lower back pain is one of the most common complaints expressed to emergency physicians in the United States. According to records, about 6 million cases come annually. Approximately two-thirds of adults are affected by back pain at some point in their lives.

Aging itself is a factor in developing back pain, neck pain due to degenerative disc disease. But youth are also at risk of lower back pain as most of them are working in IT or software companies or doing sitting jobs. The more active you are, the more likely you are to cause a spinal injury.

Back pain is one of the main reasons due to which most people are absent from their office and go to a physician for proper treatment.

It is the third most expensive disorder in health care, costing more than just cancer and heart disease.

Causes of low back pain

Our spine( backbone) is the central support structure of our body made up of a complex structure of muscles, ligaments, tendons, discs and bones, which work together to support the body and enable us to move around.

Spine anatomy

Problems with any of these components can lead to a back pain.

Commonly, mechanical problems and soft-tissue injuries are the cause of low back pain. These injuries can include damage to the intervertebral discs, compression of nerve roots, and improper movement of the spinal joints.

Structural problems causing low back pain

The spine consists of small vertebral segments that are cushioned with cartilage-like pads called discs. And disc injuries are a common cause of lower back pain.

These discs can bulge, rupture or herniate that can cause nerve impingement which is a common in elederly patients.

A bulging disc pressing on the nerve that travels from your back down your leg can cause sciatica or irritation of the sciatic nerve. Sciatica can be experienced in your leg as:

  • pain
  • tingling
  • numbness

Muscle strain

Overuse or poor posture can cause muscle strain that eventually leads to lower back pain. Like you feel pain or soreness after standing for a long time in your workplace, kitchen, garden or playground. Lifting a heavy load without precautions can also cause low backache.

Right posture infographic to correct low back pain

Muscle strain can occur because of :

  • Stretched muscles or strained ligaments
  • Muscle spasm
  • Injury

Disk Degenerative Disorder

DDD is like going grey or completely bald that you can’t reverse. In degenerative disc changes, all the connective tissue, intervertebral discs undergo severe age-related changes such as disc bulges, disc herniation, disc prolapse and more. Many patients with disc degenerative disorder have no symptoms but some may experience:

  • Moderate, continuous low back pain
  • Occasional pain flare-ups
  • Local tenderness
  • Leg pain
  • Sudden weakness
  • Leg lifting


Osteoarthritis can cause lower back pain. In some cases, arthritis in the spine can compress the space around the spinal cord, a condition known as spinal stenosis.

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis occurs when disc space decreases as the intervertebral discs lose moisture and volume with age.

Even minor trauma in these situations can cause inflammation or nerve root disturbance, which can produce classic sciatica pain without disc rupture. The discomfort can often be bilateral.

Other possible causes of back pain

  • Long Sitting: sitting continually for 8-10 hours at a stretch is the no one cause of low bacache.
  • Obesity– if your body is out of shape especially in the abdomen area that directly impacts your backbone and causes bacache.
  • Lifting Weight: Lifting heavy weights directly off the floor can strain your back muscles or lead to tissue injury. Lift weights under the supervision of a gym trainer and if you are lifting anything heavy at home, make sure to bend your knees first.
  • Prolonged bike riding.
  • Pain in your kidney can also radiate to your back like you experience pain due to renal calculus.

Symptoms of low back pain

  • The primary symptom is pain in the lumbar region of the spine. Typically, this pain includes stiffness, muscle tension, and lower bacache . In the worst cases, you are unable to move.
  • The pain is localized, meaning it is limited to a small area.
  • Restricted movement of the backbone can be a symptom, such as when you try to bend over or lean backwards.
  • Another sign of lumbago may be a feeling of bacache that may radiate to the buttocks, groin or back of the thigh.
  • Swelling or inflammation of the back or leg can be a warning sign.
  • Lower back pain when you sneeze or cough can also suggest lumbago.

How to prevent low back pain?

Lower backache due to any disease or injury is unavoidable, but we can avoid injuries that cause back pain.

To reduce your risk of back injury you should :

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Strengthen your abdominal muscles
  • Lift heavy items the right way
  • Sleep on a firm surface
  • Sit on supportive chairs that are at the correct height
  • Avoid high-heeled shoes
  • Quit smoking, if you smoke

Who needs a diagnosis for back pain?

Ideally, low back pain doesn’t need a diagnosis in 90% of cases. With conservative treatment (proper rest, NSAIDs, opioids, and back support) back pain can go away.

If you have persistent or progressive symptoms of lower backache during or after 6 weeks of conservative management, your doctor may recommend an MRI of the lumbar spine to see if anything complicates the backache.

What are the treatments for low back pain?

Low back pain usually gets better with rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain relievers. After a few days of rest, you can begin to return to your normal activities. Staying active increases blood flow to the area and helps you recover.

Other treatment options are:

  • Medications: Your doctor may recommend NSAIDs or muscle relaxant drugs for relief from back discomfort .
  • Physiotherapy: With physiotherapy, you can strengthen your muscles. It also helps in improving flexibility.
  • Injectibles: Your doctor may use steroid injections to reduces pain and inflammation.
  • Surgery: In severe cases, surgery may help like in a herniated disc or spinal stenosis. but choose surgery only an option when all other treatments fail.

I hope, this little info about lower back pain will help you choose the right treatment option. You can send your queries and leave a comment below with your feedback. Be sure to sign up for my free newsletter to be the first to get new posts! You can also follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

Thanks for Reading !!!

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