What is low back pain and what is the cause?

Low back pain refers to a pain condition that occurs between the rib-cage and the buttocks. Pain may also refer down to the buttocks, legs and to the groin region. Common labels for back pain include:

  • Disc degeneration
  • Disc bulges
  • Facet joint arthropathy
  • Annular tears
  • Sacroiliac joint pain
  • Sciatica

Prevalence and Recovery Rates of Back Pain:

Back pain is very common and becomes more prevalent through life. Up to 80% of the population will experience back pain in their life. Of these people with back pain, 70% will recover. For the remaining 30%, pain can become persistent (lasting beyond 6-12 weeks), which disrupts many aspects of their life.

Back pain can frequently limit one’s ability to participate in daily activities, exercise, work, or social activities.  Importantly, back pain is rarely linked to serious health issues like cancer, fractures, infections, or inflammatory disorders. The specific source of pain is often challenging to pinpoint for most individuals experiencing low back pain. Studies have shown that various structures in the lower back, such as the facet joints and intervertebral discs, have demonstrated sensitivity to stimulation (Hartvigsen et al, 2018).

Identifying Potential Risk Factors in Back Pain Assessment:

When assessing a patient with back pain, it is crucial to identify potential risk factors. These may include being stressed, feeling tense or run down, experiencing poor sleep, having a low mood, being inactive, smoking, having poor conditioning, and overdoing activities. These factors can make the structures in your back more sensitive and painful. The positive news is that many of these risk factors can be modified with effective treatment. Stay tuned for part two of this series where we discuss the best treatments for low back pain.

To find out more about the services we offer and how we can help if you are suffering from low back pain, get in touch today.