Low back pain causes – The single most common reason

Low back pain causes - The single most common reason

Almost all low back pain causes can be reduced down to a single common reason. Most people think that the cause of their low back pain is due to a muscular or skeletal problem. In fact it’s neither, it’s actually chemical.

Low back pain is an extremely common condition that affects about 1 in 3 people around the world. Often symptoms come and go, so one day you can be completely fine, the next thing you can be in debilitating agony.

Some people argue that this is down to their condition. For example they might have a herniated disc, arthritic degeneration of the lower spine or they may have some kind of structural deformity. There are a number of reasons why low back pain might present originally.

The causes of low back pain

So what’s causing low back pain if it’s not a structural problem? Well in every musculoskeletal condition that becomes painful there is an inflammatory element to it. Now that means the structural element may not be symptomatic but as soon as it becomes irritated, then the inflammation begins and starts causing pain.

So regardless of what condition or deformity we might have, we can manage these quite effectively by keeping on top of the inflammatory elements. So for example things like degenerative discs can rub on the sciatic nerve, facet joints which are degenerative become irritated with excessive movement. But the consequence is that it’s usually the inflammation that causes the pain not the structural element itself.

If there’s no inflammation then there will be no pain. So the secret to managing conditions which tend to manifest in low back pain is to firstly start managing the inflammation and make sure that the condition doesn’t become irritated with excessive movement or exercise. If it does become inflamed then take steps to calm that inflammation down and decompress the area.

Very often in clinic, people with low back pain have experienced some kind of flare-up. Low back pain causes can often be associated with everyday activities like walking up and down stairs or being on your feet for too long or maybe sitting in the car for long periods.

The structural element somehow becomes irritated which causes a guarding contracture in the tissues and muscles which then become tight and shortened. It’s at this point that everything becomes compressed and painful.

Decompression therapy

An Osteopaths job is to really provide relief for these symptoms through some form of inflammatory management. These means taking steps to bring down the inflammation, calm the area, reduce the pain and then begin some decompression therapy.

Decompression therapy for the causes of low back pain involve stretching the muscles out and manipulating the joints to create some stress reduction in the area. By relieving what’s rubbing and getting irritated you can start to move freely again without causing inflammation.

This decompression therapy can easily be done very simply at home with stretches and massage, gentle mobilisation techniques, strengthening exercises and simple management of the inflammation.

This programme of treatment will enable you to firstly get back on top of the pain and secondly prevent it from coming back in the future.

Treatment for low back pain

If you want more information on low back pain then get your symptoms assessed first with our pain assessment tool.

Once you’ve identified the likely cause you’ll be able to download a treatment guide. It will tell you everything you need to know about your condition and how to treat the pain effectively.

Start your Pain Assessment

Watch the video on the Most common cause of low back pain

Other resources

Low Back Pain Fact Sheet
Low back pain
A Visual Guide to Low Back Pain