Low back pain
Low back pain is a common condition that affects up to 80% of the Australian population at one time or more. In the vast majority of cases of low back pain are not caused by something life-threatening. However, low back pain can become a constant and persistent source of restriction, pain and discomfort. A chiropractor or physiotherapist who specialises in the spine should look at low back that lasts for more than a few days.
Lumbar myelopathy is a rare condition that can cause low back pain and buttock pain, along with a collection of neurological signs and symptoms.
Cauda equina syndrome
Cauda equina syndrome is a medically emergency and occurs when a large collection of nerves in the lower back suddenly become compressed. This may cause low back pain. Cauda equina syndrome may be due to a large lumbar disc herniation, surgery, trauma, fracture, hematoma or a tumour.
Lumbar spinal stenosis
Lumbar spinal stenosis can be the source of persistent and chronic low back pain. Lumbar stenosis describes a reduction in the size of the passageway that houses the spine or the spinal nerves in the vertebral column. Compression of neural tissue in the low back leads to low back pain and discomfort.
Lumbar bone Spurs
Lumbar bone spurs can become a source of low back pain. The formation of bone spurs is typical with the normal aging process. Persistent stress placed on the spinal joints leads to bone spur development that can eventually protrude into delicate soft tissues or neural tissue and cause pain.
Lumbar degenerative disc disease
Lumbar degenerative disc disease describes the process of ageing and degeneration of the low back cartilage and joint structures. This can lead to low back pain and discomfort.
Lumbar pinched nerve
Lumbar (low back) pinched nerves are a source of low back pain and discomfort. Pinched nerves may cause low back pain, tingling and numbness into the legs and sometimes muscle weakness.
Lumbar radiculopathy implies that there is a conduction problem with a low back nerve. Radiculopathy is typically caused by compression of a nerve by an intervertebral disc (disc herniation). The compression limits the function of the nerve resulting in leg sensation changes, power loss and changes in the reflexes.
Lumbar facet joint pain
Lumbar facet joint pain is a common cause of low back pain and discomfort. The lumbar facet joints guide movement of the low back and are susceptible to injury during repeated movements and acute trauma.
Lumbar disc bulge
A lumbar disc bulge can cause low back pain and discomfort. Technically speaking it’s not the low back disc bulge that causes the pain. A low back disc bulge causes pain only when it places pressure on other structures such as nerves, and this causes low back pain and dysfunction. A large disc bulge may place tension on the spinal cord or spinal nerves or place pressure on the joints of the low back.
Lumbar herniated disc
Lumbar disc herniation is a common cause of low back pain and discomfort. A lumbar disc herniation is also called a low back disc herniation, slipped disc in the low back and a ruptured low back disc. Lumbar (low back) disc herniation is very common.
Lumbar disc protrusion
A disc protrusion is a type of herniation. It is the smallest type of herniation. Lumbar disc protrusion can cause significant pain and discomfort in the low back. When a disc protrusion compresses a nerve it may also cause leg pain and discomfort.
Lumbar discogenic pain
Discogenic low back pain implies that the intervertebral disc is the cause of low back pain. This is extremely common and accounts for up to 40% of low back pain (in some research). Discogenic pain can be a temperamental and persistent cause of low back pain.
Post laminectomy syndrome
Post laminectomy syndrome is also called failed back surgery syndrome. It is the condition that describes persistent low back pain following low back pain surgery. Low back surgery may include spinal fusion, laminectomy or discectomy.
Coccydynia or tailbone pain can be a source of persistent low back and pelvic pain that should be evaluated by a chiropractor or physiotherapist. This condition is not as common as other sources of low back pain. However, it can develop into a long-term problem.
Lumbar (low back) spondylolisthesis suggests forward slippage of one vertebra on another. The causes of spondylolisthesis include congenital spondylolisthesis, degenerative spondylolisthesis, isthmic spondylolisthesis, pathologic spondylolisthesis, iatrogenic spondylolisthesis and traumatic spondylolisthesis.
Lumbar spondyloarthropathies are also called spondyloarthritis and include ankylosing spondylitis, Reiter’s syndrome (reactive arthritis), enteropathic arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. These conditions may lead to tissue irritation in the low back and cause ongoing low back pain and discomfort.
Ankylosing spondylitis is a spondyloarthropathy that causes joint inflammation. It commonly affects the low back joints leading to low back pain. Ankylosing spondylitis causes joint pain, inflammation and stiffness. The cause of ankylosing spondylitis is unknown.
Reiter’s syndrome is often called reactive arthritis, and this describes a condition that causes pain and inflammation around the body, especially in the spine and low back. Reiter’s syndrome may be caused or triggered by a bacterial infection in the digestive and urinary tract.
Psoriatic arthritis describes a condition that develops in people who have a skin condition called psoriasis. It causes joint swelling and inflammation. This usually occurs in the joints of the hands and fingers. 30% of people with psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis. It is most common in individuals between the ages of 30 and 50 but can affect someone at any time.
Enteropathic arthritis develops in approximately 9% to 20% of people with inflammatory bowel disease such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. People who have enteropathic arthritis have episodes of sacroiliac joint pain (pelvic joints), low back pain and other joint pain.
Sciatica is a symptom. It refers to pain down the leg as a result of a pinched nerve. Pain down the leg is technically called radicular pain.
The sacroiliac joints are the two joints at the back of the pelvis. There are many different names for problems with the sacroiliac joints and theses may include sacroiliac joint syndrome, sacroiliac joint dysfunction and sacroiliac joint inflammation.
Foot drop is a condition or term that is used to describe an inability to dorsiflex or extend the foot (bend the foot towards the shin) when walking. Hence the foot drops and slaps the ground when walking.
Neurofibromas are a benign and slow-growing tumour of the outer casing of a nerve. The outer casing of the nerve is called the nerve sheath. They can grow in any nerve (peripheral nerve) and are common in the spinal nerves. Spinal neurofibromas can be singular or multiple.
Acute low back pain
Acute low back pain implies that a bout of low back pain has been present for less than three months. There are many causes of acute low back pain.
Chronic low back pain
Chronic low back pain is low back pain that has lasted for more than three months. There is a range of causes for chronic low back pain.
Stiff low back
Low back stiffness is a symptom. The low back may become stiff due to arthritis, overuse, sedentary lifestyle, muscle tightness or a myriad of other causes.
Trigger Points in the low back
Trigger points are sometimes called muscle knots and are technically known as myofascial trigger points. Essentially they are small pockets of tightly contracted muscle within the low back muscle(s).
Red flags for low back pain
Red flags are certain signs or symptoms that may suggest something more serious may be going on in the low back. Red flags are more important when multiple red flags exist rather than just one.
Lumbar internal disc disruption
Internal disc disruption may be a cause of low back pain and discomfort and implies that the inner integrity of the intervertebral disc(s) in the low back have been compromised and are now producing pain. Internal disc disruption is also called discogenic pain syndrome or just discogenic pain.
Lumbar spondylosis is a common cause of low back pain. The term lumbar spondylosis is just a fancy way to say someone’s low back has aged and undergone some wear and tear. Lumbar spondylosis is typical, and we will all experience it to some degree. When it becomes advanced it can lead to ongoing low back stiffness and pain.
Lumbar facet syndrome
Lumbar facet joint syndrome is a common cause of low back pain and discomfort. The facet joints are like the steering wheels of our spine joints and are susceptible to injury in the low back.
Lumbar foraminal stenosis
Lumbar foraminal stenosis is the condition where the spinal nerve (s) have become compressed in the foraminal canal, as they exist the spinal cord. This condition is also known as lateral recess stenosis in the spine.
Lumbar osteoarthritis is another name for arthritis of the low back. Arthritis is a term that implies a degree of degeneration or wear and tear.
Lumbar osteophytes are bone growths from the spine and occur naturally with ageing. As a result, if osteophytes are the cause of low back pain, they are more likely to cause low back pain in the middle to later years of life.