Did you know lower back pain is the number one cause of disability worldwide? In fact, lower back pain affects about 80 percent of adults at some point in their lifetimes. Because this is such a common ailment, the reason behind the pain is commonly mistaken for something other than its actual cause. A misdiagnosis can mean your pain goes untreated, and you suffer far longer than you need. So, how do you know if it’s something more?
Take a look at the common spinal conditions below to see what could be the underlying cause of your lower back pain.
The leading cause of lower back pain is sciatica. Sciatica refers to pain originating from the sciatic nerve and is most often rooted in the lower back or lower lumbar region of the spine. But, it is also felt at different points on the sciatic nerve and its branches. The sciatic nerve connects the spinal cord with each leg, the hamstring muscles in the back of the thighs, and muscles in the lower legs and feet. Because of its reach and influence, when the sciatic nerve is impaired, it can lead to muscle weakness or numbness or tingling in the leg, ankle, foot, or toes.
In addition to generalized lower back pain, other symptoms of sciatica include:
- Constant pain that occurs on one side of the buttock or leg.
- Numbness throughout the leg or on specific parts of the foot and toes.
- Burning, tingling, searing sensation or “pins and needles” feeling, and
- Weakness in the leg that makes the leg or foot feel heavy and significantly interferes with movement.
2. Lumbar Herniated Disc
Another common cause of lower back pain is a herniated disc. Disc herniation occurs when the outer fibrous layer of a spinal disc breaks open, allowing the jelly-like center to escape. Along your spine, nerves branch off from the spinal cord and pass through small passageways between the vertebrae and discs, so if a herniated disc presses into that passageway, it can compress – or pinch – the nerves, resulting in lower back pain.
3. Degenerative Disc Disease
Degenerative disc disease is one of the most common causes of lower back pain because it’s a natural part of the aging process. This condition occurs when a spinal disc degenerates and loses its ability to function properly, which in turn leads to back pain. Most patients with degenerative disc disease experience chronic low back pain, with occasional spurts of more severe pain.
Spondylolisthesis – commonly referred to as a “slipped disc” – occurs when one of the vertebra in the spine slips out of place and onto the bone below it. Depending on the severity, the vertebra may press on nerves and cause severe back pain or nerve crowding that produces leg pain or numbness.This condition is most common in the lower back but can occur anywhere throughout the spine.
Sacroiliitis – or sacroiliac joint dysfunction– is an inflammation of the sacroiliac joint, which is located where your spine and pelvis connect. Pain associated with sacroiliitis typically occurs in the buttocks or lower back and can extend down one or both legs. Sacroiliitis is commonly caused by degenerative arthritis or traumatic injury to the buttock or pelvic region.
If you think you may be suffering from any of these conditions, or if you have chronic neck or pain that isn’t responding to general pain management treatments, please reach out to us today.
At Southern Laser Spine, our goal is to provide our patients with the information and help that they need in order to find relief from their lower back pain. For more information about our spinal condition treatments, please request a free phone consultation or contact our team today.