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5 Common and Painful Lower Back Conditions

If you're reading this, it’s likely that you're struggling with some sort of back issue and you want some answers. Well, you’re definitely not alone, as lower back pain affected an incredible 619 million people around the globe in 2020, making it the leading disability worldwide. And this number is on the rise.

While all of these people share the same result — back pain — what brought them (and you) to this point can vary quite a bit. To give you an idea, the team here at Neuropathy & Pain Centers of Texas presents five back issues that we see most often.

1. Muscle strains and sprains

Your spine is the foundational structure in your body, which means its workload isn’t small. To help, your back features strong muscle groups, including:

If you pull, stretch, or stress any of these muscles, you can be left with a painful lower back that should improve with time.

2. Sciatica

The lifetime prevalence of sciatica is up to 40%, which makes this lower back issue very common. Aside from being common, sciatica can also be very painful since it’s a nerve entrapment issue — something is pressing the large sciatic nerve in your lower back, which can lead to pain, numbness, and tingling that extend down into your buttocks and legs.

3. Herniated discs and degenerative disc disease

Also common causes of lower back pain are herniated discs, which are largely fueled by degenerative disc disease (DDD). Your spine features 33 vertebrae that are separated by 23 discs that act as spacers and shock absorbers between the bones. 

As you get older, these discs can lose moisture and become more brittle, the hallmarks of DDD. By the age of 60, about 90% of people display signs of DDD, which is the leading risk factor for herniated discs.

When you have a herniated disc, a piece of the disc escapes its space and irritates or compresses a nerve root, which can lead to considerable lower back pain.

4. Lumbar spinal stenosis

Your spine not only provides structural support, but it also houses your spinal canal, the main thoroughfare for your nerves. Over time, this space can narrow due to bone spurs and thickening ligaments, leading to a condition called spinal stenosis. This occurrence is very common and affects about 11% of older adults in the United States.

Lumbar spinal stenosis can become quite painful if the narrowing starts to press on sensitive nerve roots.

5. Sacroiliac joint dysfunction

Most people have heard of the back issues we describe above, but many are not aware of sacroiliac (SI) joint dysfunction, even though it’s estimated that the issue accounts for 15-30% of cases of lower back pain.

Your SI joints are located on either side of your sacrum, a triangular-shaped bone at the base of your spine that attaches your spine to your hips. With SI joint dysfunction, these joints are either too stiff or too loose. Either issue can lead to considerable lower back pain.

As you can see, there are many different possibilities when it comes to lower back pain. The good news is that we offer plenty of effective options that can restore pain-free movement in your back. The first step toward this relief is to schedule an appointment with us so we can diagnose your lower back pain to get you on the right treatment avenue.

To get started, please call or message one of our locations in Waco, Arlington, Wichita Falls, and Fort Worth, Texas.

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