What Conditions Are Associated With Lower Back Pain

There are a wide variety of conditions that may influence or cause lower back pain.

Bulging disc: Also referred to as protruding, herniated, or ruptured disc. The discs in your back are under constant pressure. As we age our discs weaken and degenerate making it likely that cartilage can bulge or be pushed into nerve roots or the spinal cord, causing lower back pain.

A much more serious complication of a ruptured disc is cauda equina syndrome, which occurs when disc material is pushed into the spinal canal and compresses the bundle of lumbar and sacral nerve roots. Permanent neurological damage may result if this syndrome is left untreated.

Sciatica: The large nerve that extends down the spinal column, exiting the pelvis and carrying nerve fibers to the legs is called the sciatic nerve. When a herniated or ruptured disc presses and creates pressure on the sciatic nerve, this condition is referred to as Sciatica. The pressure put on the sciatic nerve causes a shock-like or burning low back pain combined with pain through the buttocks and down one leg to below the knee which occasionally reaches the foot. If the symptoms are extreme enough, where the nerve is pinched between a disc and the adjacent bone, numbness and come loss of motor control over the leg may occur. This condition may also be cause by a cyst, tumor, or degeneration of the sciatic nerve root.

Spinal degeneration: Caused when disc wear and tear leads to the narrowing of the spinal canal. Affected individuals may feel lower back pain after standing or walking for a long time and may also have stiffness in the back when awakening.

Spinal Stenosis: This condition is the narrowing of the spinal canal by a piece of bone or disc material. This narrowing results in pressure on the spinal cord and/or nerves which can cause weakness in your extremities. Spinal stenosis can occur in a variety of ways in the spine. Most cases of spinal stenosis occur in the lower back (lumbar spine) and will affect the sciatic nerve, which runs along the back of the leg.

Spondylitis: This chronic condition is caused by inflammation or a severe infection of the spinal joints. Some symptoms include lower back pain and stiffness.