Lower back pain is a common issue that affects millions of people around the world. It can be caused by a wide range of factors, including injury, age-related degeneration, and disease. In some cases, the pain can be so severe that it radiates down the legs and into the feet, a condition known as sciatica. Understanding the underlying causes of lower back pain and sciatica can help individuals seek appropriate treatment and improve their quality of life. In this article, we will explore some of the common causes of lower back pain and sciatica and what you need to know about them.
- Herniated Discs
One of the most common causes of lower back pain and sciatica is a herniated disc. The spinal discs act as cushions between the vertebrae, but when they become damaged, they can protrude or herniate, putting pressure on the nerves that run through the spinal cord. This pressure can cause pain, numbness, and tingling sensations in the lower back, legs, and feet. Herniated discs can be caused by injury, age-related wear and tear, and degenerative disc disease.
- Muscle Strain
Muscle strain is another major factor in lower back discomfort. This can happen when the muscles in the lower back are stretched or torn due to sudden movement or heavy lifting. Muscle strain can cause sharp or dull pain in the lower back, and the pain can be aggravated by movement. In some cases, muscle strain can lead to sciatica if the strain causes inflammation or irritation of the sciatic nerve.
- Spinal Stenosis
The condition known as spinal stenosis causes the spinal canal to narrow, placing pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. This narrowing can be caused by age-related wear and tear, herniated discs, or other conditions that affect the spine. Spinal stenosis can cause pain, numbness, and weakness in the lower back, legs, and feet. In severe cases, it can cause difficulty walking and standing.
- Degenerative Disc Disease
Degenerative disc disease is a condition in which the spinal discs begin to break down due to age-related wear and tear. As the discs lose their cushioning ability, they can put pressure on the nerves in the spinal cord, causing pain and discomfort in the lower back, legs, and feet. Degenerative disc disease is a common cause of lower back pain in older adults.
A condition known as spondylolisthesis occurs when one of the spine’s vertebrae falls out of position and onto the vertebra below it. This can cause pressure on the nerves in the spinal cord, leading to pain, numbness, and weakness in the lower back, legs, and feet. Spondylolisthesis can be caused by injury, age-related wear and tear, or genetic factors.
Pregnancy can also cause lower back pain due to the additional weight and strain placed on the back muscles and ligaments. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can also affect the ligaments and joints in the pelvis, causing pain and discomfort in the lower back and hips.
Sciatica is a condition in which the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back down through the legs and into the feet, becomes compressed or irritated. This compression or irritation can cause pain, numbness, and tingling sensations in the lower back, legs, and feet. Sciatica can be caused by herniated discs, muscle strains, spinal stenosis, and other conditions that affect the spine.
If you’re experiencing chronic lower back pain or sciatica, Specialty Care Clinics can help. Our healthcare professionals can help you identify the underlying cause of your symptoms and develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to your needs. Contact us today at 469-545-9983 to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards pain-free living.