Lower back pain

The most common contributor to lower back pain is the SI joint (sacroiliac joint) which is made up of the sacrum and the ilium (top of your pelvis).

What is lower back pain?

Anyone can experience lower back pain for a variety of different reasons including; different injuries, conditions or diseases — most often, an injury to muscles or tendons in and around the back and its supporting structures. The most common contributor to lower back pain is the SI joint (sacroiliac joint) which is made up of the sacrum and the ilium (top of your pelvis).

Pain can range from mild to severe. In some cases, pain can make it difficult or impossible to walk, sleep, work or do everyday activities.

Usually, lower back pain gets better with rest, pain relievers and physical therapy. Cortisone injections and hands-on treatments (like osteopathic or chiropractic manipulation) can relieve pain and help the healing process. These are all short term relives, rehabilitation would be needed to get you stronger for longer and pain-free. 

What are the symptoms of lower back pain?

Symptoms of lower back pain can come on suddenly or appear gradually. Sometimes, pain occurs after a specific movement, such as bending to pick something up. Other times, you may not know what caused the pain.

Pain may be sharp, dull or achy, and it may radiate to your bottom or down the back of your legs (sciatica). If you strain your back during an activity, you may hear a “pop” when it happened. Pain is often worse in certain positions (like bending over) and may get better when you lie down.

Other symptoms of lower back pain include:

  • Stiffness: It may be tough to move or straighten your back. Getting up from a seated position may take a while, and you might feel like you need to walk or stretch to loosen up. You may notice a decreased range of motion.
  • Posture problems: Many people with back pain find it hard to stand up straight. You may stand “crooked” or bent, with your torso off to the side rather than aligned with your spine. Your lower back may look flat instead of curved.
  • Muscle spasms: After a strain, muscles in the lower back can spasm or contract uncontrollably. Muscle spasms can cause extreme pain and make it difficult or impossible to stand, walk or move.

What are the treatments for lower back pain?

Lower back pain usually gets better with rest, ice and pain relievers. After a few days of rest, you can start to slowly get back to your normal activities. Staying active increases blood flow to the area and helps you heal.

In the initial stage after the injury, you can start to ease the symptoms with rest, ice and pain relievers. However, this is a short term fix. Below will be a list of long term solutions dealing with lower back pain.

Other treatments for lower back pain depend on the cause. They include: 

  • Injury rehabilitation: Injury rehabilitation can strengthen muscles so they can support your spine. Injury rehabilitation also improves flexibility and can help you avoid another injury.
  • Hands-on manipulation: Several “hands-on” treatments can relax tight muscles, reduce pain and improve posture and alignment. Depending on the cause of pain, you may need osteopathic manipulation or chiropractic adjustments. (although this by many is considered as a temporary fix and physical therapy is still highly recommended)
  • Surgery: This is very rarely suitable for people with lower back pain. Your surgeon will usually only offer surgery if no other treatments have helped and there is a specific cause.

Study shows that between 60-70% will experience some form of back pain during their lifetime.