What Could Be Causing My Lower Back Pain?

If your lower back is causing you pain, you may take some small comfort in knowing that you are not alone. In fact, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke:

“Back pain is the second most common neurological ailment in the United States — only headache is more common.”

While it may make you feel better to know that you’re not alone in your back pain, it likely won’t do much to take the pain away. Fortunately, for the majority of people, the lower back pain will simply go away on its own within a few days or weeks. Others may develop chronic back pain, indicated by the presence of symptoms for more than three months.

So what causes low back pain? Here’s a look at some of the likely reasons you’re experiencing back pain:

As we age, we lose bone strength, muscle tone, and muscle density. The spine is not exempt from the aging process, and the discs in our spines lose fluid as we get older, thus reducing flexibility. The discs are no longer able to cushion the vertebrae of the spine, which may lead to the onset of back pain.

Strains & Sprains
Dr. Virella sees countless patients who have injured a muscle or ligament in the back, and are now dealing with back pain. Strains and sprains of the back muscles and ligaments are common but need to be treated properly, as the risk of developing conditions such as a bulging disc increases if the spine becomes too stressed, or too compressed. Bulging discs will almost certainly cause moderate to severe low back pain.

Injury or Trauma
Back, neck and spine pain resulting from some form of trauma is also very common. A sports injury, a slip, a fall, or an automobile accident is often to blame for the low back pain. It is advisable to see a doctor immediately after any type of trauma or injury to prevent further back pain or injury to the spine.

Degenerative Diseases
Degenerative diseases are another common cause of back pain which Dr. Virella treats from his offices in Valencia, Simi Valley and Westlake Village, CA. Degenerative diseases or conditions that may result in back pain include arthritis, disc disease, irritation to joints and discs, osteoporosis and viral infections. Dr. Virella will explore all nonsurgical methods of treatment for degenerative diseases before even considering spine surgery.

Patients who are smokers, obese, have poor posture, poor sleeping positions, or experience rapid weight gain such as brought about by pregnancy may experience acute or chronic back pain. Many times back pain may be reduced or eliminated over time through appropriate courses of action such as losing weight, quitting smoking, becoming more physically active, or changes in sleeping habits. Dr. Virella will work with all patients to plan an appropriate treatment plan for back pain caused by lifestyle choices and occurrences.

Serious Medical Conditions
In some cases, lower back pain is indicative of a serious medical condition, ranging from a pinched nerve to cancer. Anytime you experience back or neck pain accompanied by a high fever, bowel or bladder dysfunction, radiating pain in the legs and arms, it is important to contact a spine specialist immediately to prevent long-term, serious damage and/or pain.

If you are experiencing back pain, schedule an appointment with your physician soon to begin a treatment plan which may or may not require an appointment with a spine specialist. If you are referred to Dr. Virella for low back pain, he will be happy to meet with you at one of our three convenient locations in Westlake Village, Valencia, or Simi Valley.

When necessary, Dr. Virella will perform minimally invasive spine surgeries at hospitals and surgery centers in Southern California including Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, CA; Thousand Oaks Surgical Hospital, Thousand Oaks, CA; Town Center Surgery in Valencia, CA; Temple Community Hospital in Los Angeles, CA; Simi Valley Hospital, in Simi Valley, CA, and Mission Community Hospital in Panorama City, CA.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Virella, a 2013 Patient’s Choice Award Winning, Board Certified Neurosurgeon serving Southern California, please call 805.449.0088.