Lower back pain is the most common reason given for consulting a chiropractor. The prevalence of lower back pain increases with age until approximately the age of 60 and it is equally common among males and females.
Lower back pain is extraordinarily common in Western civilisations and up to 80% of individuals will experience one or more episodes of pain during their lifetime. The percentage of the general population that will have experienced lower back pain during the previous 14 days is 15-20%.
Causes of Lower Back Pain
The vast majority of problems in the lower back are benign. The most common causes include strained muscles, stiffened joints and occasionally damaged discs. Less common causes include inflammatory arthritic conditions that such as rheumatoid arthritis, infections, congenital anomalies and rarely tumours. Lower back pain may also be referred from the internal organs.
It is common amongst patients to feel pain down towards the buttocks and laterally towards the flanks. If the nerves that exit the spine are irritated or compressed you may experience pain in the groin region or down the leg (sciatica).
A thorough examination is required to determine the cause of one’s symptoms and whether additional examinations such as x-rays, scans or blood tests are required prior to initiating treatment.
Acute and Chronic Lower Back Pain
One of the first questions that you will be asked at a doctor’s office is how long you have been experiencing your symptoms.
This is important for a variety of reasons including the likelihood of determining the extent of the injury, the tissues involved and whether diagnostic imaging is required.
The sudden onset of lower back pain is classified as acute lower back pain. Read more »
Long term pain of more than 3 months duration is classified as chronic lower back pain. Read more »