The causes of low back pain can be many, but you need to discover them in order to treat your condition better and faster. See how!
Low back pain is an annoying pathology. In severe cases it is disabling until resolved. Posture is a big problem, both at work and in sports activities, but the only causes are not there. We will tell you.
The causes of low back pain are very varied, but this discomfort is always related to the muscular and skeletal structure of the spine. It is a frequent reason for consulting the doctor and for incapacity for work.
It is a pain that is located in the lower part of the back. Throughout life, almost the entire population suffers from it at some point. In fact, most cases have a good prognosis and are easily resolved. However, around 15% of low back pain becomes chronic.
In this article we are going to explain the most common causes of low back pain. Some of them can be prevented, so we’ll also talk about a number of simple measures that can help avoid the situation.
Causes of low back pain
Low back pain, as we have noted, is pain that occurs in the lower back. This discomfort itself can radiate and spread to the lower limbs. It is a very common situation that affects people of any age.
So much so that, according to a study carried out at the Center for Medical-Surgical Research, the prevalence varies between 60% and 90% of the general population. Within all these cases, around 80% are acute and the rest are chronic.
Low back pain has specific characteristics. For example, it tends to intensify when the person leans forward or tries to lift an object. In addition, it can be extended, although not to the leg, but limited to the buttocks.
In some cases, low back pain is associated with sciatica. It is a pathology in which there is a sciatic nerve impingement. In this case, it is more common for the pain to reach lower parts of the lower extremities.
The causes of low back pain are usually related to a mechanical problem in the spine. In a review article published in the Medical Journal of Costa Rica and Central America, they affirm that factors such as age, sex, genetics, sport and work influence their development.
Physical overexertion is one of the most common causes of low back pain. This is explained in a work carried out at the University of Miguel Hernández. It can include any type of sporting activity that puts a sudden strain on the back.
For example, a strength training in people who are not used to it. Even in those who are in good physical shape, but make an aggressive movement that injures a ligament in the spine.
However, it doesn’t have to happen only during sports. It is important to note that a large part of the causes of low back pain related to overexertion occur in the workplace.
Disc injuries as a cause of low back pain
The intervertebral discs are a kind of cushions that are found between the vertebrae. They allow to cushion the shock between them. They are made up of cartilaginous tissue and it, like all those in the body, is sensitive to aging.
In this way, as age advances, it is more common for these discs to tear. If this happens, chemicals are released that irritate the nerves causing inflammation and pain.
Herniated discs are another of the pathologies most associated with low back pain and sciatica. A herniated disc involves the center of the disc pushing outward, bulging into the spinal canal. When this happens, it presses on the nerves that run through the canal.
In the previous section we mentioned that, with age, the cartilaginous tissue of the discs frequently wears out and reduces its cushioning capacity. When this happens, the vertebrae can collide with each other, causing stiffness and low back pain.
The problem is that this degeneration of the disc aggravates other pathologies of the spine. For example, spinal stenosis or osteoarthritis of the spine.
Spondylolisthesis consists of the abnormal displacement of one vertebra over another, as if it were sliding. What happens is that, as a vertebra moves, it can press on the nerves of the spinal canal causing pain and even inability to move.
As explained by the Clinic of the University of Navarra, degenerative spondylolisthesis occurs when the tissues that stabilize the vertebrae degenerate. It can be the intervertebral discs or ligaments.
However, that is not the only cause. Spondylolisthesis can be due to trauma, as a result of a tumor and even some congenital deformity.
Spinal stenosis is a pathology that consists of the narrowing of the spinal canal. A large part of the peripheral nerves pass through this channel. So when it gets smaller, the nerves get pressured and injured.
Recommendations to prevent low back pain
Some of the causes of low back pain are preventable, although there are factors that cannot be acted upon. However, there are a number of simple measures that can improve the health of the spine.
First of all, it is very important to note that exercising is one of the most beneficial actions. Especially a moderate exercise that helps to strengthen the muscles of the back. However, it is necessary to avoid sudden movements or with too much weight that cause injuries to the ligaments.
In the same way, avoiding a sedentary lifestyle prevents, in turn, maintaining the same posture for a long time. When it comes to work, it is advisable to stretch during breaks. Twisting or hyperextension movements should also be avoided, especially if working with weight.
Obesity is another factor that can increase the risk of low back pain. Therefore, you must lose weight to put less pressure on the structure of the spine.
If you suffer from one of the causes of low back pain, take action
The causes of low back pain are many and the prevalence of this pain is very high. Therefore, in the event that you suffer an episode, it is essential that you take into account certain considerations. The first thing is that it is always indicated to consult a specialist.
Also, given low back pain, it is not advisable to stay in bed resting. In fact, it is more effective to stay active, without trying to force this area too much.
Some people experience some pain relief by applying hot or cold compresses to the area. Those with hot water usually relieve if the pain persists over time. Cold, meanwhile, are indicated at the right time of injury to reduce inflammation.
One of the most important things to remember is that most back pain is related to posture. Therefore, being aware of our postural habits and trying to improve them is a basic element.
At work, during study, and even during moments of relaxation, try to keep your back upright. When making any effort, such as picking up an object or carrying weight, it is recommended to involve other parts of the body, such as the legs. In this way, the back does not suffer all the stress.
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