Four out of five people experience lower back pain at some point in time. Given these statistics, you may feel as though it’s unavoidable, which may make you ask yourself why. Why is lower back pain more common than any other type?
At Orthopedic & Wellness, we treat all types of pain conditions. Our skilled pain management and spine surgeon team — Dr. Matthew Roh and Dr. Ojedapo Ojeyemi — understand the concerns you have about back pain. Knowing why lower back pain is so common can help you take steps to avoid it.
Lower back structure and function
Your spine is the central support system of your upper body. It’s made up of a series of bones that allow you to bend, twist, and turn. These vertebrae also protect your spinal cord and serve as an exit point for the spinal nerves that travel to the rest of your body.
Your spine has five segments that run from your neck to your buttocks. The lumbar spine is the segment in the lower back. Though large, the lumbar spine has fewer vertebral bones than the cervical (neck) and thoracic (mid-back) segments of your spine. This part of your spine has five vertebral bones.
These bones, along with the muscles and ligaments, support most of the weight of your upper body and allow you to move the trunk of your body in all directions. Your lumbar spine is also the main exit point for the spinal nerves that control leg movement.
Between the weight of your body and the mobility of your lumbar spine, the lower back endures a lot of stress on a daily basis, making it vulnerable to injuries and conditions that lead to pain. This is why it’s such a common source of discomfort.
Lower back pain risk factors
There are factors that put you at greater risk of developing lower back pain, some of which you can’t avoid:
- Being 30 or older (disc degeneration)
- Carrying extra body weight (more stress on the spine)
- Having a job that requires heavy lifting
- Living a sedentary lifestyle
- Having a family history of osteoarthritis
- Having structural spine problems like scoliosis
People who suffer from anxiety and depression are also more likely to develop lower back pain.
Protecting your back
You can’t prevent all causes of back pain, but there are things you can do to protect your back from injuries that lead to pain. Maintaining a healthy weight reduces stress on the lumbar spine and may help slow down the degenerative changes that occur with age. Strengthening your abdominal muscles also helps by improving spinal support to decrease stress.
Using proper lifting techniques helps prevent a back injury that results in lower back pain. This means lifting with your legs, holding heavy items close to your body, and not twisting your spine during the process.
Whether your lower back pain is from an injury or a degenerative condition, we can provide the care you need to ease your discomfort, support healing, and reduce risk of future problems.
Schedule a consultation with our pain and spine exerts today — we’re located in Frederick, Germantown, and Waldorf, Maryland — by calling the office nearest you or booking an appointment online.