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The 4 Main Lower Back Pain Causes

herniated disc in lower back causing pain, diagram with pain indicated in lower back and herniated disc as cause

Welcome to the AFC health blog! The topic for this month is lower back pain.

Back pain fact: about 31 million Americans are experiencing lower back pain at any given moment. More concerning than that is the fact that the prevalence of impairing lower back pain is rising significantly over the last 14 years! Fact: Lower back pain is the second most common cause of disability in US adults and also a common reason for lost work days.

An estimated 149 million days of work per year are lost due to this debilitating condition. Odds are you yourself are currently, have recently, or will soon be experiencing back pain! Knowing these statistics should be enough motivation to read on and take action.

After over 30 years of treating thousands of cases of back pain, I have found that the only way to get permanent relief is by identifying the underlying causes. These are the most common underlying causes of back pain:

1. Disc problems: herniated discs (disc bulge, slipped disc), or arthritic degenerative disc disease.

Lower back pain is sometimes due to a single inflamed or damaged disc rather than misalignment of the spine as a whole. A herniated disc, also called a slipped disc or disc bulge, occurs when a fragment of the disc’s nucleus breaks through the annulus that wraps around the outside. Without an MRI or other herniated disc diagnosis method, the clearest sign of a herniated disc is stabbing pain at a singular point in the lower back.

Due to osteoarthritis and the effects of aging, the flexible cartilage that cushions each vertebra of the spine begins to wear away by the age of 60. While this natural effect of aging does not have serious effects on everyone’s health and wellbeing, it does lead to significant discomfort in some. Holistic chiropractic care can help to ease this pain and help support the health of the spinal discs.

2. Postural misalignment of the lumbar spine (lumbosacral spine), or sacroiliac joint.

The lumbar spine is the lower part of the back, between the ribs and the tailbone, and is the portion of the back most often injured from heavy lifting. Spinal misalignment most often occurs from poor posture, either while lifting heavy objects or while sitting for extended periods of time. Postural misalignment can also be genetic as with scoliosis.

The sacroiliac joint is the point where the spine and hip bones connect. The sacrum, or the arrow-shaped base of the spine, is nestled between the ear-shaped iliums of the hips. Between the bones are strong yet flexible ligaments keeping the joints together. Sacroiliac joint misalignment is most often linked to arthritis, though walking posture and injuries are a contributing factor. Sacroiliac joint pain may also be triggered by pregnancy.

3. Muscle abnormalities: Muscle tightness, weak muscles, or asymmetric muscle structure.

Often related to posture, injury, over-exercise, or under-exercise, the muscles surrounding the lower back can become tight and inflexible. Great relief to tight and uneven muscles comes from routine therapeutic massage.

4. Chemical trauma: Dietary concerns, allergies, hormonal imbalances, and toxins.

Our bodies are like an ecosystem. If the pH and hormone levels are well balanced, there are few or no oxidants loose in the blood stream, the body has all the vitamins it needs, and there are no other toxins causing issues, then the entire body and the healthy microorganisms within are much better at taking care of each other. Whether or not chemical trauma is the direct cause of a case of lower back pain, promoting improved overall health can greatly alleviate symptoms in a natural way.

Whatever the case, the most important thing you should take away from this is that you must know the cause of the back pain to get a permanent solution. Drugs do not correct any of this and may actually make things worse over time. Get it checked and correctly treated by AFC Physical Medicine and Chiropractic Centers today! 

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