Low back pain refers to pain that you feel in your lower back. You may also have back stiffness, decreased movement of the lower back, and difficulty standing straight.
Low back pain that is long-term is called chronic low back pain.
Nonspecific back pain; Backache - chronic; Lumbar pain - chronic; Pain - back - chronic; Chronic back pain - low
Low back pain is common. Almost everyone has back pain at some time in their life. Often, the exact cause of the pain cannot be found.
A single event may not have caused your pain. You may have been doing many activities, such as lifting the wrong way, for a long time. Then suddenly, one simple movement, such as reaching for something or bending from your waist, leads to pain.
Many people with chronic back pain have arthritis. Or they may have extra wear and tear of the spine, which may be due to:
- Heavy use from work or sports
- Injuries or fractures
You may have had a herniated disk, in which part of the spinal disk pushed onto nearby nerves. Normally, the disks provide space and cushion in your spine. If these disks dry out and become thinner and more brittle, you can lose movement in the spine over time.
If the spaces between the spinal nerves and spinal cord become narrowed, this can lead to spinal stenosis. These problems are called degenerative joint or spine disease.
Other possible causes of chronic low back pain include:
- Curvature of the spine, such as scoliosis or kyphosis
- Medical problems, such as fibromyalgia or rheumatoid arthritis
- Piriformis syndrome, a pain disorder involving a muscle in the buttocks called the piriformis muscle
You are at greater risk for low back pain if you:
- Are over age 30
- Are overweight
- Are pregnant
- Do not exercise
- Feel stressed or depressed
- Have a job in which you have to do heavy lifting, bending and twisting, or that involves whole body vibration, such as truck driving or using a sandblaster