Some causes of back pain are pretty obvious: You lifted too heavy of weight during deadlifts, you picked up a heavy box the wrong way, or you were cleaning all day and now your low back is sore.
But some causes of low back pain are not so clear. Within the past 3 months nearly 30 percent of American adults reported at least one bout of back pain lasting a day or more:
Here are 6 reasons why your back may be bothering you
- The position of your pelvis. A misaligned pelvis is one of the most misdiagnosed issues resulting in low back pain! The pelvic girdle consists of three bones that can shift depending on which muscles are weak or stiff. This can pull on muscles of the low back in turn causing pain and stiffness
- Weak Core. A stronger core can help support and stabilize the low back muscles. When the core is weak is can lead to your pelvis swaying back which can place added pressure on the lower back. Core muscles are different from superficial abdominal muscles (the 6 pack ab muscles)
- Sitting too long. A lumbar disc contains a ‘jelly-like’ center called the nucleus pulposus. When you are constantly moving around the vertebrae surrounding the disc opens and closes moving synovial fluid in and out keeping the spine warmed up and functional. When you are sitting at your desk or in a chair for hours the fluid get pushed out. This can cause pain and stiffness. It is important to stand up, stretch, and rotate every 30 minutes to keep the synovial fluid moving.
- Tight Hamstrings. If you are sitting at a desk your knees are in a bent position shortening the hamstring muscle. When you go to stand up you are pulling on tightened muscles which can also pull on your pelvis putting pressure on the lumbar spine.
- Sciatic Nerve Pain. Sciatica refers to pain, weakness, numbness or tingling into the leg that can go from the buttock down to the foot. It is caused by pressure placed on the sciatic nerve. A muscle, performis muscle, lays right on top of the sciatic nerve. When this muscle becomes inflamed it can push on the nerve causing shooting pain. The pain most often occurs on one side and can be explained as a mild tingling, dull ache, or burning sensation from the hip to the foot. The pain often starts slowly and it may get worse after standing or sitting, at night, when sneezing, coughing, or laughing, or when bending backward or walking more than a few yards
- Disc Related Issues. A herniated disc most often occurs in your lower back. A disc begins to herniate when its jelly-like nucleus pushes against its outer ring due to wear and tear or a sudden injury. This pressure against the outer ring pushes on the nerve causing lower back pain that can radiate down. In many cases a herniated disc is related to the natural aging of your spine but it can also occur due to improper lifting techniques, and being overweight which places added stress onto the discs.