Common Causes of Lower Back Pain

There are many reasons for lower back pain. Those who suffer from it sometimes know the reason. But often you are not sure why your lower back causes you so much pain. Discovering why you are suffering from lower back pain is necessary to identify your best treatment options.

Pelvic Tilt

Pelvic tilt is one of the major causes of lower back pain. There has been an increase in those suffering from lower back pain due to pelvic tilt. That’s because one of the main reasons is sitting for too long a period of time. The hours most of us spend on the computer and driving in our cars make us likely to have this postural disorder.

Not only does anterior pelvic tilt cause lower back pain, but it can lead to disc degeneration. In fact, the final diagnosis made by your medical professional may be a bulging disc, also referred to as a herniated, protruding, or ruptured disc. This disc degeneration is actually a result of pelvic tilt


Osteoporosis is a condition that causes weak, porous bones. Those who have osteoporosis have a progressive decrease in the strength and density of their bones. When the bones weaken, lower back pain and even fractures may be the result.


Osteoarthritis affects the small joints in the spin. Not only is lower back pain a result, but to compensate, a person with osteoarthritis may change the way they walk. This causes additional lower back pain.

Spondylitis and Other Back Inflammations

Severe inflammation or infection of the spinal joints, called spondylitis, causes chronic lower back pain. Two other inflammations of the lower back are sacroiliac – inflammation of the sacroiliac – and osteomyelitis – an infection in the bones of the spine.  Both can cause severe lower back pain.

Injuries and Accidents

Ligament sprains and tears from lifting improperly or twisting the spine can cause lower back pain because they affect the ability of the spine to support the body. Falling or an accident can cause severe injuries resulting in lower back pain.  Additionally, overuse of the ligaments and muscles can cause chronic lower back pain unless the contributing factor is eliminated.

The spine can be compressed if an individual falls on their buttocks.  If bones are weakened by osteoporosis or osteoarthritis, even a small amount of force put on the spine can cause a compression fracture and the resulting lower back pain.

Emotional Factors

Most of the reasons for lower back pain are physical, but it is important to know what emotional factors can contribute. When we are stressed, back muscles become tense and as a result we can have lower back pain. Additionally, untreated anxiety and depression can cause lower back pain to feel worse.

Other Causes

  • Obesity:

When an individual is overweight, pressure is put on the spine, as it needs to support that extra weight. The result is lower back pain.

  • Smoking:

Smoking contributes to atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaque and other materials inside the blood vessels. The buildup causes the blood supply to the blood the vessels to decrease. Some of the very small blood vessels in the body feed the discs and bones of the spine. Therefore, when the blood supply decreases, the spine is not as able to heal itself. Eventually, the spine degenerates and lower back pain is the result.

  • Pregnancy:

Weight gain during pregnancy is one reason for lower back pain. Also, during pregnancy a woman’s center of gravity shifts and changes her posture with resultant strain and pain. Additional weight also puts pressure on the nerves and blood vessels in the back and pelvis, resulting in lower back pain.

  • Sleep Problems:

A poor sleeping position can cause lower back pain. Also, any disturbance of your sleep or lack of sleep can causes lower back pain, often first noticed as lower back stiffness in the early morning.

Some of the reasons for lower back pain can be corrected by addressing the problem that causes the pain.  For example, one can stop smoking, lose weight, or work to improve sleeping habits. However, there are other reasons for chronic lower back pain that need long-term treatment. In future articles, we will address the treatment options available if you suffer from chronic lower back pain.

 photo credit: CJS*64

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