Why do so many people have low back pain?
What are the most common causes of low back pain?
Muscle strains and spasms—improper or excess lifting or twisting may cause strains or spasms of the muscles that support your back.
Osteoarthritis—as you age, the cushioning discs between the bones in your spine become dry and hard, and the spine stiffens, leading to pain and discomfort.
Sciatica—compression of a nerve (such as you might get from a disc that slips out of its spot between your backbones) and inflammation of a nerve cause pain to travel from your back down into a leg. The pictures below show a disc that has slipped out of the right place and presses on a nerve.
How is low back pain treated?
Over-the-counter pain relievers
The application of ice in the first 24 hours and heat on the following days
A gradual return to normal activities
What warning signs should I look for with low back pain?
Past use of steroids, like prednisone
Losing weight without trying to
Pain that gets worse or doesn't get better when you stop moving and rest
A history of injury to your back
Bladder or bowel problems
Weakness in your legs
A history of cancer