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There are many causes of low back pain, but you can help minimize and treat this issue by understanding the anatomy and diagnosis of the lower back.

In the US, low back pain is one of the most common conditions and one of the leading causes of physician visits. In fact, at least four out of five adults will experience low back pain at some point in their lives.

Low back pain is typically classified as either acute or chronic:

•  Acute back pain is short term, generally lasting from a few days to a few weeks. Some acute pain syndromes can become more serious if left untreated.

•  Chronic back pain is generally defined as pain that persists for more than three months. The pain may be progressive, or may occasionally flare up and then return to a lower level of pain. With chronic low back pain, the exact cause of the pain can sometimes be difficult to determine.

The causes of low back pain can be very complex, and there are many structures in the low back that can cause pain. Any of the following parts of spinal anatomy are typical sources of low back pain.

•  The large nerve roots in the low back that go to the legs and arms may be irritated

•  The smaller nerves that innervate the spine in the low back may be irritated

•  The large paired lower back muscles (erector spinae) may be strained

•  The bones, ligaments or joints may be damaged

•  The intervertebral disc may be damaged

It is important to note that many types of low back pain actually have no known anatomical cause and the vast majority of lower back pain conditions will get better with time and can be addressed with conservative treatments. However, if you experience these symptoms you should seek medical attention immediately:

•  Sudden bowel and/or bladder dysfunction

•  Progressive weakness in the legs

•  Severe, continuous abdominal and low back pain

People with fever and chills, history of cancer with recent weight loss, or who have just suffered a severe trauma should also seek immediate medical attention.

Unfortunately, sometimes lower back pain can be caused by damage to the muscles or ligaments.   This can be avoided and sometimes remedied by working the muscles out properly with a certified trainer or physical therapist.  

To learn more about exercises to help with lower back pain, click on this link