What Is Causing My Lower Back Pain?

What Is Causing My Lower Back Pain?

man with lower back pain

Do you often experience lower back pain? You aren’t alone; lower back pain affects more than 80% of adults at some point in their lives. 

Lower back pain has unfortunately become a part of modern life, in large part due to poor lifestyle choices and unhealthy eating habits. However, severe pain in the back’s lower part can make it challenging for you to do daily household chores, commute to work, sit at a desk all day, work outside, participate in sports or recreation, and do other activities.

Are you wondering what is causing your lower back pain? There are numerous reasons you might be suffering from low back pain, including a back injury, spinal arthritis, medical conditions, and more.

This article explains the most common causes of lower back pain and what to do to relieve it. You’ll also learn about how chiropractic care has become a viable solution to lower back pain.

How Common Is Lower Back Pain? What Are Its Risk Factors?

Around four out of five people will experience some type of lower back pain in their lifetime. It’s one of the most common reasons people choose to visit healthcare providers. 

Depending on factors like age and weight, some people are more likely to experience lower back pain than others. Below are some common factors that contribute to an increased risk of suffering from lower back pain or worsening its severity.

Age 

As people age, their muscles tend to lose mass quickly. People older than 30 experience lower back pain more frequently because their muscles get soft and the tissues in the spine become rubbery. Muscle wear and tear is also more common in people that are above 30.

Lifestyle and Occupation 

Activities and jobs that require a person to lift heavy items or bend too much can cause back pain and increase the risks of back injury. On the other hand, sitting at a desk all day can also affect the lower back and cause pain.

Weight  

Most people fail to consider it, but your weight does affect the overall health of the spine. Obesity can lead to a condition where a person may experience pressure on the discs and joints of the spine, resulting in back pain.

Mental Health 

Mental health can directly relate to lower back pain. Conditions like anxiety and depression can have physical effects and lead to experiencing pain in the back and other parts of the body. 

Overall Health 

Self-care and maintaining good health are important. Your overall physical condition might increase your risk of experiencing pain in your back.

A sedentary lifestyle can lead to weight gain, weakened muscles, and malfunctioning bodily systems. Weakened abdominal muscles don’t offer ample support to the spine, possibly causing back sprains and strains. Additionally, people who drink or smoke excessively have more chances of experiencing lower back pain.

Why Does Your Lower Back Hurt? The Common Causes 

Besides back injuries, there are multiple reasons why you might experience acute or chronic back pain. Below we have compiled a list of causes that lead to lower back pain and similar conditions.

The Most Common Causes 

A vast majority of people suffer from lower back pain due to the following common issues, and most of them are easily treated with the help of a skilled chiropractor.

Back Injuries (Sprains, Strains, and Spasms)

Back injuries are pretty common and can lead to ligament or muscle strains, sprains, and spasms. Overuse of muscles can also lead to pain in the lower back. People that do strenuous activities, such as lifting heavy weights, are more prone to experiencing chronic back pain due to injuries caused by external or internal factors.

Herniated Disc 

Over time, an intervertebral disc’s protective layer can wear down or lose its ability to perform regular functions. It can result in the soft inner disc pushing out through the outermost layer, causing the disc to slip out of its place.

A herniated disc, often termed a slipped disc or bulging disc, imposes pressure on the nerve roots, which can lead to symptoms such as numbness, pain, and weakness in the lower back.  The herniated disc could be due to injuries or other factors such as age. 

Degenerative Disc Disease 

This term refers to a damaged disc that causes severe pain, especially in the lower back. Over time, the disc becomes flatter and thinner due to regular wear and tear, resulting in reduced cushioning for the vertebrae. The most common symptom of degenerative disc disease is chronic low back pain that can spread to other parts of the back.

Spinal Stenosis 

A herniated disc, if not treated on time, can cause the spine to narrow from the inside, which is known as spinal stenosis. In this situation, the spinal nerves are under immense pressure, ultimately leading to chronic pain in the lower back.

Spinal stenosis can occur anywhere in the spine, but most people experience it in the lumbar region. 

Scoliosis or Spinal Deformities 

Scoliosis is a common spinal cord deformity causing the spine to curve left or right. The result is severe back pain and limited flexibility in the back muscles. Some other common spinal cord deformities include:

  • Kyphosis: The spine abnormally rounds in the upper back.
  • Lordosis: The spine abnormally curves too far inwards.

Sciatica 

Sciatica causes pain in the lower back that spreads across the hips and upper legs. Mostly caused due to an irritated sciatic nerve, sciatica can restrict movement of the back, sometimes making it difficult to walk properly.

Arthritis 

There are around 100 types of arthritis, and most of them can affect the lower back, causing inflammation and pain. These include rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and spondylosis. 

The Less Common Causes 

The reason we have classified the following causes under the less common category is the severity. These causes are not as common as the aforementioned but could cause significant lower back pain.

Spinal Tumors

When cells divide and multiply unchecked, it can result in tumors. Both malignant and benign tumors can cause severe back pain. The origin of pain could either be in the spine or it can metastasize there. 

Cauda Equina Syndrome 

This type of condition occurs when there is a dysfunction in the lumbar region and the nerves surrounding the spinal cord are compressed. Cauda equina is an emergency and needs to be treated on priority. However, even after treatment, it can leave a patient with chronic lower back pain that lasts for a long time.

Osteoporosis 

The rate of bones losing their mass is higher than the rate of their restoration, making them become brittle as we age. Fractures are pretty common in fragile bones, and there might be no warning signs. Osteoporosis is the weakening of bones due to loss of bone mass, and both women and men can experience it. Postmenopausal women lose muscle mass much faster, however, making them more prone to getting these fractures and experiencing frequent lower back pain.

Lower Back Pain Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore 

There are several tell-tale symptoms of lower back pain that can come on suddenly or gradually. Sometimes, people experience pain after a specific event, such as lifting weights, whereas sometimes they experience it by doing a basic activity, such as bending to pick something up. 

The pain can be dull, sharp, or achy depending on where it is radiating from and the leading cause. The most common symptom is pain, but there are some other signs that indicate an occurrence of a back issue in the future.

Some of these symptoms include:

Posture Problems 

Most people with lower back pain find it difficult to stand up straight or sit properly. These people may stand bent or crooked, with their torso off to one side rather than keeping the spine aligned. In some cases, the lower back may look flat instead of curved.

Stiffness in the Muscles 

Any stiffness in the muscles makes it harder to move or straighten your back. In addition, it becomes difficult to get up from a seated position and you might feel a constant need to stretch the muscles. A decreased range of motion can also be a symptom of stiffness in the muscles and back pain.

Muscle Spasm

A sprain can make the muscles in the lower back contract uncontrollably. Muscle spasms can be excruciatingly painful, making it difficult to move, walk, stand, or even sit still.

A few other symptoms of lower back pain include:

  • Numbness 
  • Limited range of motion 
  • Weakness 
  • Tingling 
  • Pain radiating down one or both legs 

What Should You Do About Lower Back Pain? Is Chiropractic Adjustment a Solution?

Chiropractic for lower back pain has been one of the best solutions for many patients. Not only does it offer instant relief, but it may help you attain long-term benefits, including a better range of motion. Chiropractic care is aimed at reducing pain and improving muscle functionality. 

At Oak Brook Medical Group, licensed chiropractors in Oak Brook, IL can make chiropractic adjustments to your body in order to reduce pain and improve spinal alignment. Our physical therapists know how to restore movement in your spine and joints using several proven techniques.

Most patients with lower back pain find spinal manipulation through chiropractic care more effective than other treatments. Moreover, chiropractic care offers some added benefits, such as an enhanced range of motion and quicker pain relief. It is also affordable, making it an accessible solution for lower back pain.

There have been several studies showing the efficacy of chiropractic care for lower back pain. In fact, according to an article from the Harvard Medical School, spinal manipulation (a part of chiropractic care) works well for treating lower back pain.

How Do Chiropractors Diagnose and Treat Lower Back Pain?

Just like with other medical conditions, chiropractic care for lower back pain begins with determining the cause of the issue. A qualified chiropractor will examine you carefully to make an initial diagnosis. They also will take your health history into consideration to evaluate the cause of back pain, such as any past sprains, fractures, neurological disorders, and more.

These medical professionals will take note of the severity and duration of your symptoms. Usually, chiropractic care for lower back pain does not require laboratory tests, but a chiropractor can recommend you take X-rays and other tests if required. 

Furthermore, the assessment of lower back pain can include various aspects, such as physical examination and advanced diagnostic testing. 

Methods Chiropractors Use to Treat Lower Back Pain 

Besides spinal manipulation, expert chiropractors use a variety of techniques to treat lower back pain. These techniques can reduce the pain and its symptoms while helping the spine retain its natural shape and position.

Here are some common methods chiropractors use to treat lower back pain:

Toggle Drop

The toggle drop technique involves the chiropractor issuing a quick and precise thrust to a certain area of the spine in order to relieve pain. Using a controlled motion, the action improves the mobility of the vertebral joints to maximize muscle flexibility and reduce pain.

Lumbar Roll 

Another common chiropractic technique to cure lower back pain is a lumbar roll. The process involves a chiropractor positioning the patient in a precise manner and applying pressure to twist the affected area. The aim is to restore the alignment of the vertebrae and improve the functionality of the lumbar spine.

Chiropractic Massage 

If the main source of back pain is tissue- or muscle-related, chiropractors might choose to perform therapeutic massage or manual therapy techniques to help relax the affected muscles. Different massage methods offer different purposes, however, the end result is reduced pain and better mobility of the spine.

Chiropractors apply direct pressure on the affected area to treat very localized back pain, whereas instruments are usually used to address chronic or severe lower back pain.

A deep-tissue massage helps stimulate blood flow while increasing muscle flexibility and reducing the healing time.

Physical Therapy  

Chiropractors use physical therapy, including several controlled movements of the back and connected muscles, in order to relax the muscles of a specific area. 

This type of therapy for the lower back helps reduces pain while improving muscle mobility and the health of the spine.

Manipulation with Anesthesia 

Traditional spinal manipulation and physical therapy don’t address the underlying cause of chronic lower back pain in some patients. For such patients, chiropractors sometimes opt to use manipulation with anesthesia. 

This type of treatment is suitable for people with intense back pain caused by several reasons, such as back injury, age, or poor health. Since this method is more invasive than other chiropractic methods, it’s usually not the first treatment suggestion.

Speak with one of our proficient chiropractors and get the best pain treatment plan for your lower back pain. 

4 Signs that You Should See a Chiropractor for Lower Back Pain 

While excruciating pain should be enough for you to visit a chiropractor in Oak Brook, IL, there are some other signs you cannot ignore. If you experience any of the following, you should contact a professional chiropractor to get treatment for lower back pain and any related issues:

You Sit for Prolonged Periods of Time 

Sitting for extended periods of time, especially with a hunched back, can cause intense back pain. A sedentary posture can force the spine to misalign, which gradually affects its health, and ultimately results in back issues. 

The misalignment can also lead to stiffness and nerve interference, which might cause distress to extend from the lower back up the spine and create neck pain. 

If you have a sedentary job or you find yourself sitting for long hours, you should seek out chiropractic care. A chiropractor will help relax the back muscles, thus improving their mobility and realigning the spine so it remains in place.

You’ve Had an Injury 

Whether you are an athlete or not, back injuries are common occurrences. However, ignoring back injuries can have severe consequences, such as chronic pain in the lower back. A repeated injury increases the risk of further damaging the spine and nerves that surround it. 

If you’ve met with an injury that affects the back, it would be wise to see a chiropractor. Starting treatment immediately will help relieve back pain and allow you to get back to normal activities sooner.

You Have a Pinched Nerve 

You may need to see a chiropractor in Oak Brook if you have a pinched nerve. In this situation, you’ll most likely experience sharp pain in the lower back that worsens with even the slightest movement. 

A pinched nerve can be due to hard tissue or a bone pressing down in the wrong place. Using several techniques, chiropractors can identify the location of the pinched nerve and help restore its function to reduce sciatica pain.

Watch our expert chiropractor, Dr. Hall, in action treating sciatica pain.

It can be hard for anyone to determine if they have a pinched nerve, so it is best to get chiropractic care if you are experiencing lower back pain.

Other Treatments Don’t Work

There are several invasive and non-invasive treatments for lower back pain. If nothing your doctor has suggested works for you, it’s time to seek chiropractic care from a team of specialists at Oak Brook Medical Group. We will build an individual pain management plan for you and get results.

How Long Can Chiropractic Treatment for Lower Back Pain Last?

The length of the course of treatment depends on several factors, such as the severity of the issue, age, overall health of the patient, and more. Typically, most types of chiropractic treatments for lower back pain require 3 to 4 sittings per week for 4 weeks in order to experience substantial pain relief.  

Patients who get more chiropractic sessions within a specified period of time tend to experience better results than patients who skip treatment sessions. 

Depending on the condition, a chiropractor may also recommend a maintenance program that extends the treatment time. While some people experience significant pain relief from a few sessions, others may need multiple sessions to be pain-free.

Tips for Choosing the Best Chiropractor for Lower Back Pain 

So, you have decided to seek chiropractic care for lower back pain and want to find the best chiropractors in Oak Brook, Illinois? Here are a few tips that’ll help you choose the right chiropractor for your needs:

Learn More About Their Services 

As you are experiencing lower back pain, you should choose a chiropractor that specifically treats lower back pain. Make sure the chiropractor understands the anatomy of the musculoskeletal system and offers comprehensive treatment plans, such as spinal adjustments paired with physical therapy.

You should also ask them about the specific lower back issues that they address in order to make an informed choice.

Their Facility Should Be Close to Your Residence 

Chiropractic care for lower back pain usually involves several sessions, and therefore, you will need to visit the clinic often to get treatment. It would be great to find a chiropractor that’s in the area you live.

If you live in Oak Brook, Illinois, or the surrounding area, you can trust Oak Brook Medical Group to treat your lower back pain and related issues.

Review the Chiropractor’s Experience

Back pain isn’t easy to deal with and treating it is a learned skill so the chiropractor’s education and experience matter. Don’t hesitate to ask the chiropractor how many patients they have treated with successful results so far. Moreover, you can skim through their patient reviews online to learn more about the particular chiropractor.

Inquire About Costs and Insurance

As you narrow down the list of chiropractors, it would be great to ask them about the costs and insurance options. Reputable chiropractors, such as the Oak Brook Medical Group, will accept different types of insurance and their representatives will be able to explain everything about it. 

Does Chiropractic Care for Lower Back Pain Work for Everyone?

As per a study, not all types of lower back pains are amenable to chiropractic care because of the nature of the issue. However, it has been found that chiropractic care can treat most types of back-related issues, such as: 

  • Strains 
  • Disc injury 
  • Sciatica 
  • Spinal stenosis 
  • Abnormal spine curvatures
  • And more!

Additionally, chiropractic care postpones the risks of surgeries and prevents the need to rely on drugs and medications. The non-invasive processes such as physical therapies, massages, cupping, and trigger point injections provide instant relief from pain and the results can be long-lasting. A holistic approach may be exactly what you need.

In a nutshell, chiropractic care for lower back pain works for many and most types of back-related issues. You should contact a chiropractor if you have had a back injury or just want your back muscles to remain strong and flexible.

Let Oak Brook Medical Group Take Care of Your Back 

Lower back pain might not just be negatively affecting your lifestyle; it can elevate into a severe issue if not treated on time. 

At the Oak Brook Medical Group, we have a team of experienced chiropractors that can determine the cause of pain in your lower back and develop an individualized low back pain treatment plan and professional medical advice.

Call us at 630-317-7478 to schedule a new patient exam. You’ll soon be getting the best chiropractic care for your back!