This blog post is to identify the most common causes of low back pain.
1. Injury or Sprain/Strain of the lumbar spine: this is a common cause of LBP, especially in the workplace and following a motor vehicle accident. If treated within a short amount of time, this type of condition generally resolves in 8-12 weeks. However, other variables such as obesity, diabetes, pre-existing LBP, degenerative arthritis, deconditioning etc...may cause the lumbar sprain injury to take longer to resolve.
3. Disc herniation: there are several categories of intervertebral disc herniations. The most common is a circumferential bulge. Studies demonstrate that about 80% of the population have minor disc bulges and are generally asymptomatic. Another type of disc herniation is a protrusion. This is when the outer annular fibrocartilage weakens or tears and the inner "jelly-like" nucleus protrudes out from the spine. This will commonly compress or irritate a spinal nerve root. The other type of herniation is the disc extrusion. This is when the outer annulus fibers tear completely and the inner nucleus pulposus herniates out from the spine. This may compress a spinal nerve above or below the vertebra and usually requires surgery.
4. Facet syndrome: This is a very common cause of LBP and a condition that I treat frequently in my office. The facets, also called the posterior joints, are interlocking joints of the spine that are highly innervated with nerves and receptors and are covered by a joint capsule. This is why they are common pain producing structures of the spine. The facet joint capsules are often sprained during flexion and torsional movements. The facet joints frequently become "impinged" or "locked up" and is commonly referred to as facet imbrication or facet impingement. Chiropractic manipulation is effective for this type of problem.
5. Scoliosis: This is a condition in which right or left (lateral) curves of the spine are present and are generally more than 10 degrees. Any curve below 10 degrees is considered a minor "curvature" and is generally a functional curve. Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is the most common type of scoliosis and starts between ages 10-16. Scoliosis management ranges from conservative chiropractic care, postural exercises, to bracing and in more severe cases surgery.