The lower back, also known as the Lumbar region is made up of five vertebrae, the sacrum and coccyx and is found in the lower third of the spine.
The vertebrae are dense rings of cortical bone with a body shaped like an hourglass that protects the spinal cord. The lumbar vertebrae supports all the weight in the upper body so feels the most amount of stress out of all the vertebrae in the spine.
The sacrum and coccyx are found at the base of the spine and are a group of bones fused together, they are believed to be the bones that formed a tail in early evolution of man.
The causes of lower back pain
Because the lower back takes so much force and carries so much weight, it is the area in the back where most back pain is found.
Many different reasons, some out of our control and some we can control ourselves can cause back pain. The main causes are trauma (accidents that put an extensive amount of pressure on our back), bad posture, sports injuries, obesity and infections.
As people get older the bones start to lose their strength and muscles start to decrease in elasticity, this means that older people are in a more likely position to become affected by back problems. These problems are mainly caused by over stretching, lifting heavy objects or lifting incorrectly.
Conditions associated with pain in the Lumbar region
Sciatica is caused when a ruptured or herniated disc pushes on the sciatic nerve, when this happens it can cause shooting pains down one or both legs from the lumbar region.
General wear and tear to spinal discs can over time cause a narrowing of the spinal cord. Spinal degeneration can make a sufferer feel stiff in the morning and pain after long periods on their feet.
A bulging disc can be found in thoracic regions of the back but is nearly always found in the lumbar region.
A bulging disc, also know as herniation or ruptured disc is caused by the discs in between vertebrae being put under to much pressure causing the cartilage to be pushed into the nerve roots, or in extreme cases into the spinal canal, causing a lot of pain.
Spinal arthritis is usually found in the older members of society and like other areas with arthritis causes intermittent pain in the region. Arthritis in the lower back can also cause weakness or numbness in the legs and difficulty bending or walking.
Alleviating lower back pain
Acute lower back pain, those who have suffered with back pain for less than a month, can be treated with painkillers and rest. Those who have suffered with back pain for over a month are diagnosed with chronic back pain; these sufferers need to visit a medical consultant to find out the exact cause of their back pain. Once the exact cause is found then the correct treatment can be given so the back pain can be alleviated.