Your lumbar spine, or lower back, not only supports your upper body weight but also absorbs the force of every step you take. It’s, therefore, no surprise that 80% of Americans experience lower back pain at some point in their lives. The team of pain experts at International Spine Pain & Performance Center in Washington, D.C., and Arlington, Virginia, uses thorough physical exams and state-of-the-art diagnostics to identify the cause of your pain and provide customized treatments. Call ISPP Center or schedule an appointment online today.
Your lumbar spine is incredibly strong, but also houses many nerves and provides support to your whole body. As a result, lower back injuries and degenerative conditions are common and often interrelated. Some of the common causes of lumbar back pain include:
Poor posture, heavy lifting, and strenuous physical exercise can strain or irritate the muscles that support your lower back. Even if your hamstrings or other muscles in your posterior chain are tight, they can pull on the muscles in your lower back and cause pain.
You have spongy discs between your vertebrae that cushion, stabilize, and support your spine. Your discs can dry out with age or be injured by sudden twisting, stretching, or heavy lifting.
Disc herniation occurs when a tear develops in the rubbery shell of a spinal disc and its soft gel-like interior pushes out. The bulge can compress the nerves in your spine and cause localized and radiating pain.
Your sacroiliac joint connects your spine to your tailbone. Dysfunction of the joint occurs when it is either too mobile or not mobile enough and therefore allows too much movement or restricts flexibility in your spine.
Spondylolisthesis is a condition where one vertebra slides out of place and slips forward over the vertebra beneath it. This condition commonly affects the lower lumbar vertebra near your sacroiliac joint.
When osteoarthritis causes the cartilage that cushions your vertebrae to wear away, your bones rub together without protection, leading to inflammation and swelling. In addition to causing localized pain in your lower back, the swelling can compress the nerves in your spine, leading to more pain, numbness, and weakness.
Stenosis is a condition where your spine narrows and the space available for your nerves to pass through decreases, leading to nerve compression, pain, numbness, and tingling.
The pain experts at ISPP Center use physical exams, diagnostic imaging studies such as X-rays and MRIs, and electrodiagnostic testing to identify the condition causing your pain. They also ask questions about your lifestyle and overall wellness, which helps them form customized treatment plans.
Treatment for your lower back pain depends on the condition causing your discomfort. For example, your doctor may recommend physical therapy and dietary habits to help you lose weight and reduce pressure on your lumbar spine. Alternatively, if your condition warrants it, they may recommend regenerative treatments such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections or stem cell therapy.
If you’re living with back pain that’s interfering with your life, call International Spine Pain & Performance Center or schedule a consultation online today.