The lower back is an intricate structure of interconnected and overlapping elements:
- Tendons and muscles and other soft tissues
- Highly sensitive nerves and nerve roots that travel from the lower back down into the legs and feet
- Small and complex joints
- Spinal discs with their gelatinous inner cores
An irritation or problem with any of these structures can cause lower back pain and/or pain that radiates or is referred to other parts of the body. Pain from resultant lower back muscle spasms can be severe, and pain from a number of syndromes can become chronic.
These lower back pain symptoms include any combination of the following:
- Difficulty moving that can be severe enough to prevent walking or standing
- Pain that does not radiate down leg or pain that also moves around to the groin, buttock or upper thigh, but rarely travels below the knee;
- Pain that tends to be achy and dull
- Muscle spasms, which can be severe
- Local soreness upon touch
Possible causes: Back Muscle Strain
A back muscle strain or ligament strain is one of the most common causes of acute lower back pain. Lifting a heavy object, twisting, or a sudden movement can cause muscles or ligaments stretch or develop microscopic tears.
Symptoms: Low back pain that travels to the buttock, leg and foot (sciatica)
Sciatica includes any combination of the following symptoms:
- Pain typically is ongoing (as opposed to flaring up for a few days or weeks and then subsiding)
- Pain may be worse in the leg and foot than in the lower back
- Typically felt on one side the buttock or leg only
- Pain that is usually worse after long periods of standing still or sitting: relieved somewhat when walking
- More severe (burning, tingling) vs. dull, aching pain
- May be accompanied by weakness, numbness or difficulty moving the leg or foot
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