You should see a doctor as soon as possible if, as well as back pain, you have:
- pain down your legs and below your knees
- numbness or weakness in one or both legs or around your buttocks
- constant pain, particularly at night
- pain that is getting much worse and is spreading up your spine
What is lower back pain?
Low back pain can happen when you lift, reach, or twist your spine. In fact, almost everyone has low back pain at one time or another.
What causes lower back pain?
Causes of low back pain include:
- Overuse, strain, or injury – Back pain that cause by poor posture.
- Herniated disc – Also known as slipped disc.
- Compression fractures – Occur when a spinal bone collapse as a result of osteoporosis.
- Scoliosis – A spine problem you were born with.
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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