Why Does My Lower Back Hurt?

Nov 20, 2021

As we move through life, it’s inevitable that we experience aches and pains, especially in our back. The complexity and fragility of our spine means that it can easily cause soreness, but something like lower back pain is usually short-lived and easy to manage. But lower back pain that is intense, sharp, sudden, or lasts for a long period of time can be a sign of more serious conditions that will not improve without the proper back pain treatment. The majority of cases can be treated by the proper professionals, but it is important to understand the root cause of your pain in order to develop an appropriate care plan. Below are some of the most common reasons you could be experiencing lower back pain.

Muscle Strains

Any time you exert yourself, whether you are picking up heavy objects or participating in sports, the muscles in the back could stretch or tear. This leads to pain and stiffness in the back, as strained muscles increase pressure on your spine to compensate for the sudden lack of muscular support. In addition to causing discomfort, this can also lead to other more severe conditions over time if untreated.

Disc Problems

Between each vertebra in your spine is a gel-filled disc, filled with fluid that absorbs the shock of an impact and prevents the bones from rubbing against each other. Certain movements or forces can cause these discs to shift out of place or even cause the fluid to burst out of the shell in response to pressure. This is called a ruptured or herniated disc. If this happens, the disc or fluid can put pressure on the spinal cord and surrounding nerves, leading to pain and trouble with mobility.

It is also possible to have a degenerative disease in the discs, as aging causes a loss of hydration in these discs, allowing them to resist force and transfer it to the disc wall. This can cause tears, pain, and weakening that ultimately leads to herniation. In severe cases, a disc can collapse and lead to spinal stenosis.


The sciatic nerve is the longest in the body, running through the lower back into the buttocks and the legs. When pressure is placed on the lower back for a long period of time, it can cause inflammation in this nerve. This can happen when sitting for a long period of time, like at a desk, or in response to a direct impact. Pain from this is known as sciatica, and it can feel like burning or tingling pain in the back and through the legs.

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is a condition in which the spinal canal narrows. It is a condition that results from age and degeneration, potentially exacerbated by conditions like arthritis, though a sudden impact can also cause it to progress rapidly. When the spinal column narrows, more pressure is placed on the nerves, which causes lower back pain and can impact range of motion.


Rather than one condition, arthritis is a category of conditions that impact the joints, often causing the cartilage to break down. In common forms, the cartilage wears down over time in the many joints throughout your spine. If arthritis impacts these joints, it can become painful to bend over or twist your back.

Less Common Causes

While the above are responsible for most pain in the lower back, a range of other conditions and events can cause these symptoms. Certain spinal infections, spinal tumors, and autoimmune diseases are all potential causes of lower back pain that may be explored if other diagnoses don’t seem to be right.

Trauma can also lead to back pain for other reasons, like a dislocation of the spine or a compression fracture.

It’s important to have a doctor you trust to correctly identify the root cause of your back pain. Once you understand that, they can create a back treatment program specifically designed to treat the underlying problem you are experiencing and eliminate pain. They can also help you understand ways to strengthen your back and prevent injury in the future.

The team at AICA College Park is ready to help you understand the cause of your pain, giving you access to a range of specialists, from pain management specialists to orthopedic surgeons. If you are experiencing lower back pain that is cause for concern, contact AICA College Park today to schedule your first appointment and begin working towards a pain-free life.