Did you know that at some point in our lives, 80% of us will experience low back pain of some kind? In fact, a quarter of people will report that they have a symptom of low back pain in the prior three months. Low back pain is a significant problem in the United States because it not only affects the health of so many Americans, but it can have a detrimental effect on the economy as well. Low back pain has been attributed to a significant amount of lost work days and labor hours, and it is a leading cause for work-related disability.
Low back pain is one of the most common reasons why Dr. J. Kevin Kaufman sees patients. Any injury to the lower back could produce anything from mild pain to debilitating spasms that affect a patient’s ability to complete normal tasks at work and at home. In fact, according to the National Institute of Health, low back pain actually ranks third behind cardiovascular disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) for conditions that increase the likelihood of mortality or poor health, making it a major problem (and a very costly problem) for the United States.
There are various causes for why low back pain will occur in patients. Unfortunately, one of the most common causes for low back pain is age-related disc degeneration. Over the years, mechanical stress and strain can affect the ability of the discs in your back to cushion the various movements and bends your do every day. Without these discs, the vertebrae would grind against one another, so any lost in integrity of these discs will produce significant pain. In addition to disc degeneration, spinal stenosis, a herniated disk, scoliosis, traumatic injury, and radiculopathy are all common causes of acute and chronic back pain.
In many cases, though, low back pain will be caused by some sort of a muscle strain or ligament strain that produces acute pain or reduces flexibility of movement. These strains can cause pain that lasts a few days to even a few weeks or more without proper medical care. You can strain your back at any age from lifting something improperly or making a sudden awkward movement, and an untreated strain can result in worsened and chronic pain down the road.
Therefore, it’s important if you begin to experience low back pain of any kind, numbness in the low back or buttock area, or general restriction of movement to speak with a healthcare professional in your area as soon as possible.