Why Does My Lower Back Hurt So Much? What I Can Do Now?

I never appreciated the good health of my back until it started to hurt. Like eighty percent of people living in the United States, I was experiencing back pain big time. And 2 – 10 percent of us are experiencing lower back pain – chronically. (Chronic low back pain is defined as pain that disrupts day to day life for three months or longer.) After four months of suffering, I saw my doctor and begged the question “Why does my lower back hurt so much!?!?”

Why Does My Lower Back Hurt So Much?

I came to understand that the lower back is a huge target for aches and pains. This is because the weight of our upper bodies places stress on the lower back. Plus, our lower backs are just utilized and strained more often. I went to the doctor thinking all was lost – I’d have to seek long-term treatment or take some type of injection or pill. Boy, was I relieved to find out the cause of my back pain was lifestyle related and could, therefore, be fixed with lifestyle changes. Here are some medical reasons why you may be experiencing lower back pain:

Causes of Lower Back Pain to know "Why does my Lower Back Hurt so much"

Medical Issues

There are some issues that might be causing your lower back pain that is more medical related than lifestyle related. Here is a breakdown of the most common issues:

  • Muscle or ligament has been injured – The most common cause of lower back pain, these injuries occur when you overexert yourself, for example, assisting a friend who is moving by lugging around a couch that is too heavy.
  • Injured disc – these discs sit between the bones of the spine, adding cushioning and acting as shock absorbers. Sometimes injury or physical stress causes one to break open. These “ruptured discs” are painful because they place pressure on your nerves and cause inflammation.
  • Osteoporosis – When your bones are weaker, fractures become more likely, such as fractures in the spine.
  • Spondylolisthesis – Although the name of this issue is complicated, explaining it is not. This is when your joints or ligaments that are keeping your spinal bones lined up are too loose, causing your bones to slide against each other, leading to lower back pain.
  • Osteoarthritis – This is arthritis that affects your facet joints (joints in your spine). Arthritis causes your joints to rub against each other, making your back stiff.
lower back pain (1)

Lifestyle Causes of Back Pain

Sometimes the way we live our lives causes back pain. At times our lower back pain might be caused by poor health, but other times the cause of your pain is something seemingly innocuous – like the position we sleep in. Here are some lifestyle causes of pain.

  • Twisting from your lower back – The fact is, the lumbar spine is just not supposed to twist in an excessive manner. If you need to twist your back, use the upper back instead of the lower one.
  • Bending from your lower back – The concept here is the same. When you must bend over, use your hips while you keep your lower back steady. Use your legs and hips to help you bend over.
  • ​Lifting with your back – Keep your lower back straight when you must lift something. Again, use your hips to bend and your legs to lift.
  • Weakened core – Your core muscles include your abs, lower back, and glutes. When these muscles are weaker, they are more prone to problems and pain. When you strengthen your core, your lower spine becomes stabilized.
  • Sleeping in a bad position – Make sure you sleep on your side, or if not your side, your back. When you sleep on your stomach your back tends to hurt. We sleep about six to eight hours a day. If your back is in a poor position for this long, you are going to begin to experience pain.

When You Should Call the Doctor

Lower back pain can sometimes be an indication that you have a serious medical issue, like a pinched nerve or diabetes.

CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF

Be sure to check in with your doctor if:

  • Your lower back pain does not subside after ten days.
  • Your back pain has been caused by trauma.
  • You are seventy years old or older.
  • Your medical history includes cancer, immune system issues, or osteoporosis.
  • You are experiencing weight loss you can’t explain, bladder or bowel problems, tingling, or numbness.

Exercise and Proper Foot Wear

Common causes of lower back pain that we don’t think of often include lack of exercise and the wrong shoes on our feet.

yogaforbackpain

Credit: breakingmuscle.com

Exercises

Here are some simple exercises you can do to bolster your back muscles:

1. Lay down on your back, knees bent. Lift right knees slowly to the chest, hold for five seconds. Repeat ten times, then switch to your left leg.

2. Lie down your back, feet planted on the floor and both knees bent. As you slowly raise your hips, squeeze your glute muscles. Hold this posture for five seconds then lower your glute muscles back down to the floor.

3. Practicing yoga and Tai Chi are good ways to strengthen the back muscles and increase flexibility.

Yoga Stretches for Low Back Pain​:

4. Do exercises to strengthen your core so that your back will be less prone to injuries.

Of course, if you experience any pain while you are performing these exercises, stop the exercise and talk to your doctor about treatments for your lower back pain that will help you safely. Know more: How long does a herniated disk take to heal?

See this video for some helpful hints: 

10 Min Lower Back Stretches

Proper Foot Wear

This may be surprising, but wearing the right shoes on your feet could greatly reduce back pain. Think of your feet as a foundation of a building – if the foundation of a building is not supported properly, the whole building becomes misaligned. Likewise, if you are wearing improper shoes that are not supporting you the right way, your back can become misaligned. 

Conclusion

I took the time to figure out what the cause of my lower back pain was, and if you are experiencing similar aches and pains to mine, I recommend that you do too. This article is a great starting point, as it explains many of the causes of lower back pain, when to call the doctor, and some easy remedies you can use for back pain caused by injury or lifestyle.

TO RECAP THE MAIN BULLET POINTS OF THIS ARTICLE

  • Lower back pain is very common in the United States
  • There are some medical issues that cause back pain
  • Many of these medical issues have to do with temporary injuries
  • However, sometimes you should call the doctor if certain symptoms are surfacing
  • There are a number of lifestyle issues that cause lower back pain
  • Many of these issues can be remedied easily at home
  • Always get enough exercise and wear the right shoes to offer your back support and comfort, like these Oofos Original Unisex Black Thong Sandal.

I hope you found this article useful and actionable. Do you have any comments or questions? Feel free to leave one below.

Sources:

  • http://www.webmd.com/back-pain/living-with-low-back-pain-11/causes
  • http://backtoformfitness.com/5-reasons-your-low-back-hurts/
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