What are Common Causes of Severe Lower Back Pain?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 20 October 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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Severe lower back pain can be caused by anything from a spinal deformity to poor posture or a muscle strain. Other types of severe lower back pain may be caused by pressure on nerves that trigger pain in the spine itself. Injuries are by far the leading cause of severe lower back pain, and a variety of injuries can lead to pain: muscle strains and tears, fractures in the vertebrae, herniated discs, and other undue stresses are common injuries associated with pain in the lower back. The treatment of such pain will vary significantly depending on the root cause of the pain or the type of injury sustained.

Anyone who spends a significant amount of time sitting at a desk during the day is susceptible to severe lower back pain due to muscle attrition and pinched nerves. The longer the body sits in one position, the weaker the muscles become from a lack of use, or from fatigue. If the spine is not adequately supported by these weakened muscles, the spine may compress, causing pain in the lower back. Such compression can lead to pinched nerves, which can send pain throughout the back and down into the legs. Spinal compression can also lead to stress fractures if the body is jostled just enough.


Defects in the vertebrae can also lead to severe lower back pain. If certain parts of a vertebra are deformed or missing, that entire vertebra may be allowed to move out of alignment, which can cause pressure on the spinal cord itself. Such defects can be due to an impact on the spine, a birth defect, or attrition due to severe illness. Such a condition can lead to pain, but it can also lead to numbness in the lower back and legs; some sufferers may also lose mobility in the legs and hips.

Arthritis is a common cause of severe lower back pain, particularly in adults 60 and older. Arthritis is essentially the wearing down of cartilage between bones; when the cartilage wears significantly or disappears altogether, bones are allowed to rub against each other. This causes the bone to degrade, which can cause severe joint issues. Arthritis can cause pain in the spine, and it can also lead to stiffness, tenderness of the joints, swelling, and a reduction in mobility of the joints. Such pain is often worse at the end of the day, after the bones in the joint have had sufficient time to rub against each other.



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