Understanding Low Back Pain

Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Overview of Low Back Pain

Low back pain ranks among the most prevalent musculoskeletal conditions affecting Canadians. It's estimated that up to 80% of the population will experience some form of low back pain at least once in their lives. This type of pain can stem from a variety of sources, affecting not just the lower back, but also the hips and causing sciatica-type symptoms.

Identifying the Causes of Low Back Pain

Low back pain can arise from multiple issues, primarily:

  • Lumbar Joint Irritation
  • Lumbar Sprain/Strains
  • Lumbar Disc Disorders
  • Lumbar Stenosis

At Westwood Total Health in Coquitlam, we specialize in diagnosing and treating low back pain. Our expert team conducts comprehensive assessments to pinpoint the root cause of your discomfort and provides effective strategies to alleviate pain and enhance body performance.

Deep Dive into Lumbar Disc Disorders

Approximately 50% of individuals suffering from low back pain have issues related to lumbar disc disorders. The human spine consists of 24 vertebrae, linked by intervertebral discs that act as shock absorbers, facilitating movement and flexibility.

These discs, much like jelly donuts, have a tough outer layer called the annulus fibrosis and a soft, gel-like center known as the nucleus pulposus. This structure allows the discs to absorb and distribute forces during daily activities and physical exertion.

How Do Intervertebral Disc Injuries Occur?

Intervertebral disc injuries can occur through simple accidents or as a result of more gradual degeneration. Whether referred to as a "slipped disc," bulging disc, or herniated disc, these injuries involve damage to the annulus fibrosis and/or the nucleus pulposus.

While some disc damages are minor and heal on their own, others may cause significant bulging or even lead to the nucleus pulposus leaking out. This can irritate nearby nerves and lead to pain or other complications.

Factors Increasing the Risk of Disc Herniation

The risk of disc herniation can be influenced by:

  • Weight: Excessive body weight puts additional stress on the discs, especially in the lower back.
  • Occupation: Jobs requiring repetitive and strenuous physical activities heighten the risk of back issues.
  • Genetics: Some individuals have a genetic predisposition to disc problems.
  • Smoking: Smoking reduces oxygen supply to the discs, accelerating their degeneration.

Lumbar Strains and Sprains

Injuries to the muscles or ligaments in the lower back, known as lumbar strains and sprains, are also common causes of low back pain. These injuries can destabilize the spine, leading to pain during physical activities or even while resting.

Relief from Low Back Pain

Experiencing back pain can significantly hinder your ability to perform daily tasks. The good news is that over 90% of individuals with low back pain see considerable improvement within a month of starting treatment. Proper diagnosis and targeted treatment are crucial, given the numerous potential causes of low back pain.

At Westwood Total Health, we're committed to helping you overcome low back pain with personalized care plans. If you're in Coquitlam and struggling with back issues, don't wait to seek help. Contact us today to schedule your consultation and start your journey to a pain-free life.