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Causes of Chronic Low Back Pain: What You Need to Know

Chronic low back pain is a prevalent issue that affects millions of people worldwide. It can significantly impair daily activities, reduce quality of life, and lead to emotional distress.

At Aventura Wellness & Rehab, we understand the complexities of chronic low back pain and are committed to helping our patients find relief and regain their mobility.

Here’s the common causes of chronic low back pain and provide insights into how you can manage and treat this condition effectively.

Chronic Low Back Pain

Chronic low back pain is defined as pain that persists for 12 weeks or longer, even after the initial injury or underlying cause has been treated. It can stem from various sources, making diagnosis and treatment challenging.

Here are some of the most common causes of chronic low back pain:

Muscle and Ligament Strain

  • Overuse and Strain: One of the most frequent causes of chronic low back pain is muscle or ligament strain. This can occur from overuse, improper lifting techniques, or sudden movements that stress the muscles and ligaments in the lower back. People who engage in repetitive activities, whether at work or during exercise, are particularly susceptible to this type of injury.
  • Poor Posture: Maintaining poor posture for extended periods, such as sitting hunched over a desk or standing with an improper stance, can strain the muscles and ligaments in the lower back. Over time, this can lead to chronic pain and discomfort.

Herniated or Bulging Discs

  • Disc Degeneration: The intervertebral discs act as cushions between the vertebrae in the spine. With age, these discs can degenerate and lose their ability to absorb shock effectively. This degeneration can lead to a herniated or bulging disc, which can press on the spinal nerves and cause chronic low back pain.
  • Trauma or Injury: A sudden injury, such as a fall or car accident, can cause a disc to herniate or bulge. This type of injury often leads to immediate pain, which can become chronic if not properly treated.

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is a condition characterized by the narrowing of the spinal canal, which puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. This narrowing can be caused by age-related changes, such as the thickening of ligaments or the growth of bone spurs. Symptoms of spinal stenosis include chronic low back pain, numbness, and weakness in the legs.

Arthritis

  • Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that affects the cartilage between the joints. In the spine, it can lead to the breakdown of cartilage and the formation of bone spurs, which can cause chronic low back pain. This condition is more common in older adults.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation of the joints. When it affects the spine, it can lead to chronic pain and stiffness in the lower back.

Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

The sacroiliac (SI) joints connect the lower spine to the pelvis. Dysfunction in these joints can occur due to inflammation, injury, or abnormal movement, leading to chronic low back pain. SI joint dysfunction is often mistaken for other causes of back pain, making accurate diagnosis crucial.

Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis occurs when one vertebra slips forward over the vertebra below it. This condition can result from a congenital defect, trauma, or degenerative changes in the spine. The misalignment can cause chronic low back pain and may require medical intervention.

Chronic Conditions and Diseases

  • Fibromyalgia: Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by widespread pain and tenderness in the muscles and soft tissues. It can cause chronic low back pain along with other symptoms such as fatigue, sleep disturbances, and cognitive difficulties.
  • Ankylosing Spondylitis: Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of inflammatory arthritis that primarily affects the spine. It can lead to chronic pain and stiffness in the lower back and eventually cause the vertebrae to fuse together.
  • Diagnosis and Treatment: Diagnosing the exact cause of chronic low back pain often involves a comprehensive evaluation, including a physical examination, medical history, and imaging studies such as X-rays, MRI, or CT scans. Once the cause is identified, a personalized treatment plan can be developed.

Treatment Options

  • Physical Therapy: Physical therapy is a cornerstone of treatment for chronic low back pain. Therapists can design a tailored exercise program to strengthen the muscles supporting the spine, improve flexibility, and reduce pain.
  • Lifestyle Modifications: Maintaining a healthy weight, practicing good posture, and incorporating regular physical activity can help alleviate chronic low back pain and prevent its recurrence.
  • Alternative Therapies: Chiropractic care, acupuncture, and massage therapy can complement conventional treatments and provide additional relief for chronic low back pain.

Chronic low back pain is a multifaceted condition with various potential causes. Understanding the underlying factors and seeking appropriate treatment is essential for effective management and recovery.

At Aventura Wellness & Rehab, we are dedicated to helping our patients overcome chronic low back pain through personalized care and evidence-based treatments.

If you are struggling with persistent low back pain, contact us today at 305-705-0777 to schedule an appointment