What Is Lower Back Pain?

Most of us have had lower back pain at one time or another. It can be anything from a sharp pain that appears quickly and inhibits movement to a dull pain that develops slowly and gets worse over time. Acute lower back pain is quite common. It’s often caused by an injury, and it tends to clear up in a few weeks with or without treatment. Chronic lower back pain is less common. The cause may not be known, and the pain can last for months or even years.

What Causes Lower Back Pain?

Lower back pain can be caused by anything from chronic stress to poor posture. Other reasons for back pain include:

Aging. The older you get, the more likely you are to have back pain.

Other conditions. Arthritis, scoliosis, cancer, kidney stones and infections can all cause back pain.

Weight gain. Being overweight can cause back pain when the extra pounds are excessively straining the back.

Work. If your job involves lifting, pushing, pulling and twisting, it can cause back pain or back injury.

Lack of fitness. Those who are out of shape are more likely to experience lower back pain.

Genes. In some cases, back pain may be hereditary.

Injuries. Sprains, falls, accidents and fractures can all cause back pain.

Osteoporosis. Thinning and weakening bones can cause stress fractures and back pain, especially for women.

Spinal degeneration, muscle knots, spasms, inflamed nerves and deterioration of the back joints and disks can also cause lower back pain.

How Is Lower Back Pain Treated?

Acute lower back pain can be treated with hot and cold packs, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin and topical analgesics. Chronic back pain may be treated with massage, manipulation, physical therapy, stretching exercises, acupuncture and acupressure. Spinal injections of steroids, anti-inflammatory medications and painkillers can relieve lower back pain for up to 12 months. During this time, the condition causing the back pain may be able to heal itself.

I Have Lower Back Pain. Will I Need Back Surgery?

Most of the time, people with lower back pain do not require surgery. Back surgery is considered only after less invasive treatments have failed to provide relief. When back surgery is indicated, it is usually associated with conditions like:

Spinal stenosis

Degenerative disk disease

Herniated disk

Spondylolisthesis

Fractured vertebrae

If you live in the Hackettstown, NJ, area, and you’re suffering from lower back pain, it’s time to get relief. Dr. Carl Spivak, President of Executive Spine Surgery and a board certified neurosurgeon, specializes in minimally invasive treatments and cutting edge endoscopic spinal techniques to provide effective and lasting relief from chronic lower back pain.