Lower back pain causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

Medically Reviewed By : Dr Sravya, MBBS, MS 


Who suffers from lower back pain the most? Most of us would have experienced lower back pain at one or other point in our lives. It is a common ailment seen in 1 out of 10 people worldwide. The nature of the pain can be a dull ache to a shooting or stabbing sensation. The causes of lower back pain can be as simple as over-straining of muscles to chronic bone diseases or conditions. Lower back pain can be due to specific or nonspecific causes. Here in this article let’s dive into the details of lower back pain causes and its symptoms, diagnosis as well as treatment.

Lower back pain

What does lower back pain mean?

Lower back pain or lumbago occurs due to injury to muscles or ligaments, improper lifting, poor posture, lack of exercise, fracture or ruptured disc or arthritis. The lower back region or lumbar spine supports much of the weight of the upper body. The 5 vertebrae, named L1 to L5 form the lumbar spine. The spaces found between the vertebrae have intervertebral discs which are the shock absorbers of the spine. The ligaments hold the vertebrae in place and the tendons attach the muscles to the vertebrae. Most often the pain can occur due to an injury to the tendon, muscle or ligaments. This type of pain goes away with rest, painkillers and physical therapy. In cases of severe injuries or disease, conditions may require surgeries for recovery.

Who gets lower back pain?

Certain people are more prone to get lower back pain than others. Let’s know who is at risk for lower back pain.

Lower back pain causes

Your lower back pain is one of the numerous reasons varying from a simple injury to symptoms of various chronic disease conditions affecting the bone. Let’s see some common lower back pain causes below.

Lower back pain symptoms

The lower back pain symptoms can occur gradually or suddenly after an activity such as bending over or after a strenuous activity. In some other cases, you cannot specifically identify the cause of the lower back pain. The pain can be dull, achy or sharp radiating to the legs, gets worse at certain positions and gets better on lying down. Let’s look at the most common lower back pain symptoms.

The lower back can be of 3 types according to the duration of the back pain. They are the following:

Lower back pain diagnosis

Your healthcare care provider will take a detailed medical history before arriving at a final diagnosis. The medical history will include all past medical conditions, medication, surgeries, trauma or accidents you underwent. This will help to find the lower back pain cause. Certain procedures or tests will also be advised by your physician to have a detailed look at the current condition. They may include:

Lower back pain treatment

The treatment will mainly focus on pain management. The pain usually subsides with rest, ice pain medications and physical therapy. If not, you might need more focused treatment or surgeries according to the condition.

How to prevent lower back pain?

You can avoid injuries or trauma causing lower back pain. You cannot prevent lower back pain caused by any other disease condition. An active lifestyle, with exercise and stretching, will help to keep your spine and muscles strong. Also, maintain a healthy body weight by intake of a balanced diet for bone health.