What Causes Lower Back Pain?

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According to WebMD, lower back pain is usually caused by injury, osteoarthritis or pressure on a nerve root. Back pain is one of the most frequent reasons people visit a pain specialist.

Injury or overuse is one of the most common causes of lower back pain. This includes sprains and strains of ligaments and muscles, compression fractures or fractures of bones, or joint injuries to the joints between spinal bones.

Osteoarthritis affects the small spinal joints. It can cause lower back pain by causing stiffness and soreness of the joints and putting pressure on the roots of the nerves. If the arthritis is in the hips or other lower body joints, it can cause back pain because it affects how a person walks.

Pressure on nerve roots is typically caused by conditions such as spinal stenosis or a herniated disc. Spinal stenosis is when the spinal canal begins to narrow and puts pressure on the nerves. Disc problems occur when one or more of the discs in the back rupture or bulge outward and press on a nearby nerve.

Treatment for lower back problems depends on the cause. Often rest, avoiding strenuous physical activity, using hot or cold compresses and taking over-the-counter pain medications are sufficient for strains and sprains. In some cases of osteoarthritis, a joint replacement may be necessary. Herniated discs may need to be surgically removed for the person to experience significant long-term pain relief.