Lower back pain can be a serious condition that causes you to lose work days and money and keep you from doing the activities you love to do. What is most likely causing it?

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Lower back pain is one of the most common reasons for doctor visits. It also affects your ability to work and live normally. If you have lower back pain, it’s important to find out the cause so that you can get proper treatment and prevent it from coming back. The following section will discuss some common causes of lower back pain as well as their symptoms:

Muscle strain

The most common cause of lower back pain is muscle strain. Muscle strain happens when you lift something heavy, or do repetitive movements that put strain on the muscles in your lower back. It can also be caused by a sudden movement, such as slipping on ice and falling backwards onto your tailbone (coccyx).

Muscle strains are often accompanied by swelling and tenderness in the injured area, but not always–especially if it’s an older injury or one that hasn’t fully healed yet. The pain may come on gradually over time or all at once during an accident; either way, it will likely get worse as you move around more during the day until finally settling down at night when you’re able to lie still.

Try anti-inflammatory medications and a period of rest. Try heat and ice. Consider seeing a physical therapist if you have muscle strain or sprain and it isn’t getting better.

See your doctor if these symptoms last longer than four weeks without improvement, or if you have numbness, tingling, weakness, or pain in one of your legs. These may be signs of a more serious problem like spinal stenosis or a herniated disc.

Herniated disc

Herniated discs are a common cause of lower back pain. A disc is a cushion between each vertebra in your spine, and it acts like a shock absorber for your spine. Discs are made up of cartilage and gel, so they can be damaged by injury or wear over time–and sometimes they’ll bulge out (herniate) and put pressure on the nerves coming out of your back and run down your leg. Herniated discs can cause pain and numbness in the back, legs, buttocks and groin region as well as weakness in one leg.

Degenerative disc disease

Degenerative disc disease is the breakdown of the discs in your spine. It’s a common cause of lower back pain, but there are many other factors that can contribute to it as well. Degenerative disc disease can occur at any age and may result from aging, genetics and lifestyle choices.

Treatment for degenerative disc disease could include physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, and injections into the spine.

Spinal stenosis

Spinal stenosis is a condition that causes your spinal canal to narrow. This can lead to compression of the nerves in your spine, which can cause severe pain in your lower back and legs.

Spinal stenosis is most often caused by osteoarthritis or wear and tear on the joints of the spine. It’s also common in people who have scoliosis or spondylolisthesis (when one vertebra slips out of place).

The symptoms vary from person to person but may include:

  • Pain or numbness down one leg that gets worse when you stand up–or walking across a room–for extended periods of time
  • Sharp pain while sitting down or turning over in bed at night


These are the most common causes of lower back pain. If you have lower back pain, it is important to see a doctor who can help determine what is causing your symptoms and treat them accordingly.

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This post is meant for educational and informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice.