Low Back Pain

Pain in the lower back is a rather common complaint. This area of the body, sometimes referred to as the lumbar region, is well suited to the range of motion human beings must use on a regular basis. But the complex structure of bones, nerves, ligaments and muscles can also be subject to pain from “normal” use, from overuse or from injury.

It’s important to understand the your lower back supports the weight of the upper body and allows you to bend and twist, usually without serious problems. It can be difficult to determine the exact cause of pain in your lower back, though a skilled medical professional can use modern techniques to understand and treat this condition.

Muscles and Nerves

Two of the most important parts of the lumbar region are the muscles and the nerves. The muscles allow you to rotate and flex the hips, in addition to supporting the spinal column. The nerves not only provide the power for the pelvis, legs and feet, they also deliver the sensation of touch (and feelings of pain). Most of this pain is the result of injury to muscles, ligaments, joints and discs.

When injury occurs, the body can automatically start a healing response which can lead to inflammation. You may experience strong pain due to this inflammation. As mentioned, it can be difficult for the brain (and you) to determine the specific cause of the pain. It may be a problem with a disc in the spine. It may be a pulled muscle. Both may lead to inflammation and even a spasm in the muscle.

If the problem is with a disc, the treatment methods will be different from those used for overworked muscles and ligaments. The recovery period will also be longer with disc problems. But, no matter what cause is eventually diagnosed, when you feel pain in your lower back you should seek the advice of an experienced professional who can start you on the road to recovery.


If you do experience pain in your lower back, it may be rather mild, slightly annoying but something you’ll try to live with. You shouldn’t take chances with even mild pain, however. When you experience more severe pain that keeps you from functioning as you should, you definitely should not hesitate. Whether the pain comes on gradually or occurs very quickly, it can get worse with time.

Pain in the lower back can have various “levels,” all of which should be an indication there is a problem you should seek help with. The pain may be:

  • A dull ache only in the lower back
  • Burning pain moving from the lower back to the back of your thighs, sometimes to the lower legs. Tingling and numbness may be part of this condition
  • You may experience tightness in the lower back and hips, with spasms
  • Pain may get worse when you stand or sit for a long period of time
  • You may experience difficulty standing up or when sitting down

When you visit your medical professional, be prepared to describe the type of pain and to let them know where the pain is located. Is it “mechanical” pain that hurts when you bend, stand or sit? Is it pain that radiates to your hips and thighs, and is present most of the time?

This is just the beginning of the discussion about back pain. Continue this conversation with your medical professional today.