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Guide to Low Back Pain

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Updated June 03, 2014

3 of 10

Part 3 of 10 - What Causes Low Back Pain?

Aging Process

As people age, bone strength and muscle elasticity and tone tend to decrease. The discs begin to lose fluid and flexibility, which decreases their ability to cushion the vertebrae.

Injury & Trauma

Pain can occur when, for example, someone lifts something too heavy or overstretches, causing a sprain, strain, or spasm in one of the muscles or ligaments in the back.

If the spine becomes overly strained or compressed, a disc may rupture or bulge outward. This rupture may put pressure on one of the more than 50 nerves rooted to the spinal cord that control body movements and transmit signals from the body to the brain. When these nerve roots become compressed or irritated, back pain results.

Low back pain may also reflect:

Other Causes

Most low back pain follows injury or trauma to the back, but pain may also be caused by:

Other Factors

Other factors that contribute to low back pain include:

Serious Problems

Low back pain may also indicate a more serious medical problem. People with back pain along with fever, loss of bowel or bladder control, pain when coughing, progressive weakness or pain radiating into the legs should contact a doctor immediately to help prevent permanent damage.

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