What is causing my chronic low back pain?
Written By: James Hayes
Almost everyone has experienced low back pain at some point, but if it has been persisting for months or even years…why is it happening? It is a common question we get asked at Dee Why Chiropractic Care.
Chronic pain is defined as pain that has persisted for more than three months. The source of the pain may differ from each individual as the low back is very complex and there are many reasons why you could be experiencing pain.
Common sources of your pain include:
- Lumbar discs
- Lumbar facet joints
- Sacroiliac joints
The ideal lumbar spine (low back) has a nice “C curve” or arch that allows the forces of gravity to distribute evenly through spine. However studies have shown that when this curve is flattened or even lost there is a strong incidence of low back pain in these individuals.
Loss of this curve is most commonly seen in people that slump at a desk all day or whose work requires a lot of bending. What losing this curve means is that there is increased load placed on the structures named above leading to the occurrence of pain. Pain may come and go or it may persist for years!
It is important to note that chronic low back pain is not only caused by a lack of lumbar curve. An acute injury or traumatic episode causing pain to the low back may resolve on its own however it may also manifest into chronic pain later down the track as the body has compensated for the initial injury. This increases the stress on the spine and surrounding tissues.
Excess load on the spine can lead to the following conditions that cause chronic low back pain:
- Lumbar herniated disc
- Degenerative disc disease
- Facet joint dysfunction
- Sacroiliac joint dysfunction
- Spinal Stenosis
- Compression fractures
To be exactly sure what is causing your low back pain it is important to be assessed by a professional. At Dee Why Chiropractic Care we believe the best treatment begins with an exact diagnosis. From there an appropriate treatment protocol will be implemented to get you better!
Red flag symptoms of chronic low back pain that need to be addressed immediately
The conditions we just discussed relate to biomechanical causes of chronic low back pain, however if you experience any of the following symptoms it is important that you seek immediate medical attention to rule out serious pathology!
If your chronic low back pain is accompanied by:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Loss of control of the bowel and bladder
- Significant leg weakness
- Severe pain that doesn’t decrease over time
- Severe pain that wakes you at night
- Night sweats
- Loss of sensation in the buttock region
- A pulsating mass in the abdomen