About 2% to 10% of people who experience lower back pain develop chronic low back pain, which affects daily living for at least 3 months. The causes are many since the spine and muscles in the lower back are involved in most of the movement we do on a daily basis. Here are a few of the most common ones:
1. The way you sit. Poor sitting posture can result in lower back injuries and contribute to the poor positioning of other parts of the body, such as the arms, wrists, and legs. You can make some small changes that can have a big impact on your posture and in turn reduce chronic pain in your arms, fingers, lower back and legs.
2. The way you sleep. Many shoulder, upper and lower back issues are caused, or exacerbated, by incorrect sleep posture. Whether it’s your pillow, the position of your arms or the firmness or softness of your mattress, changes in sleep posture are easy to do and can have a huge impact both on the quality of sleep you get, and how you feel when you wake up.
3. The way you bend and lift. Back muscles can strain if you improperly lift a heavy object, twist or even move suddenly. Each of this actions can cause muscles or ligaments to over-stretch and/or develop microscopic tears. Irritation of the sciatic nerve (sciatica) is also common in these cases. Because these types of injuries can come on quickly, and may signal more serious issues, like a herniated disc, you should see a professional for an evaluation.
4. Old muscle memory. Muscle memory can form as a result violent injuries, surgeries, repetitive movements, and long-term stress. Basically, your muscles enter an altered state due to the trauma and “remember” that state despite the fact that it’s not the normal resting or moving position. Muscle memory issues can contribute to everything from postural irregularities to chronic pain. Your muscles learn to return to the non-natural state and treat it as a natural state. Muscle/movement memory can be a cause of back pain, even long after the actual injury has subsided. Massage and stretching have been shown to be able to change muscle/movement memory, but it may take time.
You don’t have to put up with back pain. You have options. Here are some links with information about getting to the root causes of the problem, rather than masking symptoms with prescription or over-the-counter drugs.