The school of thought about causes of back pain has changed drastically over that past decade or so. Experts used to talk about strengthening the back muscles and sucking in your stomach to strengthen your core. Now experts support new research which says our back muscles are overused because our body is out of balance.
The average American sits at a computer day in and day out for hours at a time. Our hip flexors, hamstrings, and back muscle called erector spinae are tight, while our glutes and abdominal muscles are weak because they are rarely activated.
Many different tissues can cause low back pain.
Soft Tissues: You can have a muscles spasm that should last less than a day. A sprain or a strain can cause discomfort from a few days to weeks depending on its severity.
Joints: The joints in the spine are called facet joints and can get irritated by over extension of you back. It can be caused by poor posture while sitting or exercising incorrectly. Excess weight in the abdomen can contribute to facet irritation. Facet syndrome as it is called may be good days and bad days for years if not managed appropriately with poor habits corrected.
Discs: Discs are between each vertebra in the spine. They can bulge, tear, or herniate. Leaning forward and twisting even slightly, especially when carrying something heavy can cause disc injury. When discs bulge or herniate, it can hit the nerve and cause sharp pain down the leg. Studies show that whether you have surgery or use conservative care, in five years your outcome in the same. Disc injury can take a several weeks to a few months of conservative care from a chiropractor to manage.
Other: Osteoarthritis, as known as degenerative joint disease, is preventable by proper motion of the spine. It can cause a stiff feeling in the back and can be handled by a chiropractor. In extreme cases, it is very painful if there is encroachment of the nerve or spinal cord. If you are experiencing neurologic changes in both legs or bowel and bladder problems, see a medical doctor immediately.
Referred pain: There are more serious, less common causes of back pain including referral from organs. This will have other symptoms like abdomen pain, bowel and bladder problems, reproductive problems, or if the pain wakes you up at night. See a medical doctor immediately if you have these associated problems
Because most low back pain is mechanical, it can be avoided or reduced by proper movement. See a personal trainer and a chiropractor to learn proper motion and keep your body in good shape and balance.