Lower back pain is extremely common, especially in adults between the ages of 30 and 50, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Our backs provide our core support as we perform our daily activities. Because of this keystone role, any number of problems throughout the body can end up leading to back pain.
Causes of Back Pain
The more typical causes of back pain are:
- Poor posture. People who sit slumped for long periods of time, such as while working at a computer, can develop back pain
- Repetitive motion at work can strain the muscles and ligaments of the spine
- Injury from falls, sports, and auto accidents can cause back pain
- Age and degenerative changes
Imbalances elsewhere can also lead to back pain. Examples include abdominal muscle weakness, pelvic imbalances, one leg shorter than the other, one shoulder more restricted, and more. Of course, problems can also arise in the back itself, such as herniated discs, arthritis, degenerative changes, and inflammation. When a patient is experiencing these problems, they should seek back pain treatment immediately.
A diagnosis of a herniated disc or degenerative changes does not mean that this is the cause of your back pain. Recent studies have shown that most pain-free individuals have spinal disc problems on imaging. This suggests that disc disease may be an incidental finding on imaging that then is blamed for the patient’s back pain. This is why some studies have shown that nearly 1 in 4 patients still experience back pain after having a herniated disc removed. For more information, see You Don’t Have a ‘Bad Back’.
Back pain is one of the best-researched conditions improved with osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT). It has been shown to be as effective, and often more effective, as traditional treatment strategies such as long-term therapy, medications, and surgery. Consider an evaluation by an osteopathic musculoskeletal specialist to see if OMT is an appropriate place to start your back pain treatment.