Causes of Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is often the result of an injury or trauma to the back. However, in some cases, the pain may be the result of a degenerative condition, osteoporosis, or congenital abnormalities of the spine. In other cases, irritation to joints and discs causes the condition. Other causes of lower back pain include obesity, smoking, and weight gain during pregnancy.

Common Causes of Lower Back Pain: Injury or Trauma

As people age, bone strength, muscle elasticity, and tone tend to decrease. The discs in the back begin to lose fluid and flexibility, which decreases their ability to cushion the vertebrae. Lower back pain can occur when someone lifts something too heavy or overstretches, causing a sprain, strain, or spasm in one of the muscles or ligaments in the back. If the spine becomes overly strained or compressed, a disc may rupture or bulge outward. This rupture may put pressure on one of the more than 50 nerves rooted to the spinal cord that control body movements and transmit signals from the body to the brain. When these nerve roots become compressed or irritated, this results in lower back pain.

Degenerative Conditions

In most cases, lower back pain follows injury or trauma to the back, but other lower back pain causes include:
  • Degenerative conditions, such as arthritis or disc disease
  • Osteoporosis or other bone diseases
  • Viral infections
  • Irritation to joints and discs
  • Congenital abnormalities in the spine.


Lower back pain causes related to lifestyle choices include:
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Weight gain during pregnancy
  • Stress
  • Poor physical condition
  • Posture inappropriate for the activity being performed
  • Poor sleeping position.
In addition, scar tissue created when the injured back heals itself does not have the strength or flexibility of normal tissue. Buildup of scar tissue from repeated injuries eventually weakens the back and can lead to a more serious injury.
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Information on Lower Back Pain

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