The back is made up of many structures such as nerves, ligaments, discs, facet joints, and muscles which means several areas are a possible source of pain. Back pain can also be associated with leg numbness, pins and needles, and weakness. Lower back pain is very common, affecting around 80% of people at some point in their life.
What Are The Causes Of Lower Back Pain
Sudden (acute) lower back pain is often caused by an injury to the muscles or ligaments in the back. Most commonly the pain is caused by a muscle strain or spasm, however, there are many other causes of lower back pain; some of the most common include:
- Facet joint sprain or stiffness
- Rib (costovertebral) joint sprain or stiffness
- Spinal disc injury
- Compression fractures
- Spine cancer
There are three categories in which health care professionals place lower back pain:
- Radicular Syndromes: Research suggests that this cause of back pain accounts for 5-10% of cases. Radicular syndromes result from structural damage that irritates or pinches a nerve. One of the most common nerves affected is the sciatic nerve.
- Specific Spinal Pathologies: This is a more serious cause of lower back pain requiring urgent attention. Specific spinal pathologies are the cause of back pain in less than 1% of cases and include conditions such as cancer, spinal infections, rheumatoid arthritis, and spinal fractures.
- Non-Specific Lower Back Pain: This type of lower back pain is a classification used for sufferers who have no specific back structure that has been injured. This diagnosis is done by excluding all other causes. Non-specific low back pain accounts for around 90-95% of back pain causes. It is almost always successfully treated without surgery and usually improves with treatment within two to six weeks.