Three Causes Of Chronic Lower Back Pain

Posted on: 21 May 2021

Sometimes lower back pain is short-lived. In these cases, it tends to be caused by muscle soreness or sometimes a strained ligament. When lower back pain lasts more than a few weeks, though, it is said to be chronic. And most chronic lower back pain has a more serious underlying cause, such as one of the following.

Herniated Discs

Between each of your vertebrae, you have discs of cartilage called intervertebral discs. Over time, if your spine becomes too compressed, it puts pressure on these discs and can cause one or more of them to bulge out the side. Sometimes this happens suddenly, causing sharp back pain that then dulls into a chronic ache. Other times, it occurs slowly, and you can't really put your finger on when the issues began. In either case, this condition is called a herniated disc. Physical therapy, chiropractic care, and rest can often alleviate the pain and encourage the injury to heal within one to two years, but in more serious cases, you may need cortisone injections or back surgery to heal.

Sciatic Nerve Pain

The sciatic nerve passes through your buttocks and into your thigh. If it becomes compressed by the tissues around it, you can develop what's known as sciatic nerve pain. Usually, this causes pain in the buttocks and thighs, but that pain also radiates up into your lower back.

Sciatic nerve pain can be the result of sitting for long periods with poor posture or of working on your feet all day. Often, chiropractic adjustments can make the pain more manageable. Physical therapy to stretch your tight muscles and strengthen your lower back and buttocks can also be really helpful. Your doctor may also prescribe NSAID pain relievers to keep the pain and inflammation under control.


People often think of osteoarthritis as a condition that affects hips and knees, but you can develop arthritis in your lower back, too. It occurs when the cartilage between your vertebral facets begins wearing away. When lower back pain is due to arthritis, it's usually worst in the morning and after you've been still. The pain and stiffness tend to ease with movement.

Taking NSAID pain relievers can really help with osteoarthritis. Heat therapy, chiropractic care, massages, and cortisone injections can also help.

If you are dealing with chronic lower back pain, it's worth seeing a doctor or chiropractor to determine the cause. Once the cause is known, you can better deduce the best treatment.