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Low Back Pain Fact Sheet

Have lower back pain? You are not alone. Everyone at some point has back pain that interferes with work, routine daily activities, or recreation.  We spend at least $50 billion each year on low back pain.  It is the most common cause of job-related disability and a leading contributor to missed work.  Back pain is the second most common neurological ailment in the United States — (only headache is more common).

Acute (short-term) Acute back pain is mechanical in nature — the result of trauma to the lower back or a disorder, such as arthritis. Pain from trauma may be caused by a sports injury, work around the house or a sudden jolt, such as a car accident.  Symptoms may range from muscle ache to shooting or stabbing pain, limited flexibility and/or range of motion, or an inability to stand straight. Occasionally, pain felt in one part of the body may “radiate” from a disorder or injury elsewhere in the body.  Acute pain syndromes left untreated or inadequately treated can become more serious.

Chronic back pain,— pain that persists for more than 3 months, is considered chronic. It is often progressive.   the cause can be difficult to determine but should be thoroughly sought by a spinal/structural specialist.As people age, bone strength and muscle elasticity decrease.  Discs lose fluid and flexibility, decreasing their ability to cushion the vertebrae.  Pain can occur when nerve roots become compressed or irritated. Someone lifts something too heavy, overstretches, causing a sprain, strain, or spasm in one of the muscles or ligaments in the back.  If the spine becomes overly strained or compressed, it can tear fibers in the vertebral disc; it may bulge or even rupture. This can put pressure on one of the more than 50 nerve roots from the spinal cord that control LIFE functions, including sending signals, e.g. pain, from the body to the brain.   The causes can be difficult to determine.  Everyone should be thoroughly evaluated by a spinal/structural specialist.

Low back pain also caused by degenerative conditions such as osteoporosis, arthritis, irritation to joints and discs, or disc disease, bone diseases, viral infections, or congenital abnormalities in the spine.

Obesity, smoking, stress, poor physical condition, posture inappropriate for the activity being performed, and poor sleeping position also may contribute to low back pain.  Scar tissue created when the injured back heals itself does not have the strength or flexibility of normal tissue. Buildup of scar tissue, from surgery or repeated injuries, weaken the back and can lead to more serious health problems.

Pain when coughing, and progressive weakness in the legs may indicate a pinched nerve, spinal stenosis or other serious condition.  Occasionally, low back pain may indicate a more serious medical problem e.g. pain accompanied by fever or loss of bowel or bladder control. People with diabetes may have severe back pain or pain radiating down the leg related to neuropathy. 

 People with these symptoms should get help immediately to prevent permanent damage

When in doubt, CALL for a free consultation at REACH CHIROPRACTIC, it’s what we do.  

We will set aside time for you.  Make your appointment.