Common conditions

Your Low Back Pain. What is it?

Looking At The Cause

80% of us experience low back pain at some point in our lives. This pain can often resolve itself if the cause is removed. For instance, when you change your job and no longer perform bending or twisting taskshe cause is removed and your body heals itself. Low back pain occurs where the body’s ability to heal itself is outweighed by the damage being caused. The complexity of low back pain lis in the variety of the sources of pain. People try to make sense of low back pain by using terms like Lumbago or Slipped Disc. Understanding low back pain requires the ability to pin-point where the pain is, where the pain travels to and what movements provoke the pain.

Sacroilliac Joint Pain:

Our body is drawn down by gravity and must resist this invisible force. To stand upright and walk requires a balance between stability and flexibility. The weight of our body presses down through the spine, into the sacrum, through the sacroilliac joints and down the legs. To maintain our upright posture while walking requires that the pain sensitive sacroilliac joints allow a small amount of movement. Restriction or excessive play in these important joints can give a deep local ache on the belt line either side of the spine, or opposite the joint over the hip.

Collagen bridging the tear

Intervertebral Disc Pain:

In the low back, each bone is cushioned by a cartilage gel-filled disc that absorbs and redirects forces that press down the spine. These discs help us move with a good degree of freedom. When the polysacharide based fluid inside the disc loses some of its ability to resist forces, then either the fibrous outer rings can sustain damage or the top and bottom of the end plates can sustain injury. Damage in the body produces an inflammatory response with swelling, heat and pain. The prolapsed disc (or slipped disc) is where the fluid gel inner bulges or comes out from the disc. Discs tend to bulge out posteriolaterally which can chemically interfere with the nerve roots of the spine and cause perceived pain in the legs: this is sometimes called Sciatica. Do you do activities that cause pain, like sitting, bending, coughing and sneezing, that are relieved when you lie down?

Facet Pain:

Bend backwards or twist around while standing upright and feel a local pain in your back which stops your movement. Excess movement in your back is limited by little synovial joints called Facets. These joints are highly endowed with nerves and report pain when the nerve endings are stimulated when the joint is compressed or the surrounding joint capsule is stretched. Held within these joints is a tiny fibrcartilage ball that can leave the joint when you bend forward and then, as you straighten up, the fibrocartilage ball becomes trapped between the upper and lower facet surfaces caucing severve pain.

Ligament Pain:

Ligaments can cause pain to travel.

Ligaments connect bones to other bones and have a role in limiting the mobility of joints. Research states that two ligaments in your back produce pain: the Interspinous and Iliolumbar ligaments. Each ligament then has certain movements which provoke pain. The Interspinous ligament stops the spinous processes from over-seperating, and will report pain when you bend forward, this pain will initiate as you progressively bend forward and then cease as you continue. Pain can be local to the spine and also perceived as referred pain down into the lower limbs. The Iliolumbar ligament connects the lowest Lumbar vertebra to the pelvis and resists spinal rotation, forward and side bending: this when pressed on directly, will report tenderness. Some research suggests that other structures may be responsible for tenderness over the area. These include: the LIA Lumbar Intermuscular Aponeurosis, the lumbrosacral joint or the muscles of the low back.

Nerve Root Pain:

Nerve root pain arises from where the nerve in the spine emerges from the foramina inbetween the upper and lower vertebrae. Nerves carry signals containing messages about sensations and the control of muscles and organs, and so disorders of nerves can cause pain, pins and needles, numbness, increased sensitivity or weakness of muscles. The pain is often felt in the area of the body supplied by that nerve. It is common for the nerves in the legs and arms to be affected. Nerve roots can be compressed or pinched, perhaps due to a trauma, normally this pain occurs from a combination of irritation and compression. Anything that can fill up the hole where the nerve root emerges can cause a physical or chemical irritation.