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Top 3 Causes of Back Pain and Sciatica

Lower Back February 12, 2021

Click here to watch my video where I discuss the Top 3 causes of Lower back pain 

Back pain is the worst, I know I experienced severe pain while on vacation 2 years ago with my wife and family celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary. 

We were in beautiful Hawaii when I woke on the third day of our 7 day vacation with intense, excruciating lower back pain. The type of pain that takes you breath away when you move wrong. The type of pain that makes you want to crawl into a hole, curl up and die. 

How can this happen? I am healthy, workout frequently, eat healthy, get plenty of rest!

In fact I was training for the Race Across the West (RAW). In 4 weeks myself and 3 other teammates were going to race our bicycles 900+ miles from Oceanside, CA to Durango, CO.  How was I going to race my bike when I was struggling to put on my pants and couldn’t sit for longer than 10 minutes? 

I was initially very mad and frustrated that I was having pain. Then I tried to think about all of the things I had recently done that could have caused this. Sitting for prolonged periods of time on the direct flight to Hawaii-check. Sitting on the  beach watching the sunset and feeling a slight twinge in my back when I stood up-check. Sleeping on a very soft mattress with poor support – check. 

Any one or all of these things could have caused or contributed to my back pain but I couldn’t turn back the clock. 

I tell you this story to let you know that back pain can strike at any time to anyone. Now depending on your age and activity level, back pain is usually caused by 1 of 3 issues and sometimes a combination. 

The first is some type of disc irritation or herniation. This is what I had and no it doesn’t mean surgery. It does come with some very intense pain to begin with but overtime it will improve. I was able to recover (with appropriate treatment) and race my bike 3 weeks later. 

This type of pain usually hits as early as our teens but frequently in the late 20’s up to the mid 40’s. I was 45. People with disc problems have pain with bending in any direction but usually forward. This may also cause some pain into the legs (sciatica) as well as a feeling of catching or weakness in the lower back. 

The good news is that it can heal but it may take up to 12+ weeks. 

I am often asked do I need an MRI? An MRI is usually not necessary or helpful as up to 80% of the population can have evidence of a disc herniation on an MRI, yet be completely pain-free. This can lead to unnecessary invasive treatments including surgery. 

The second cause of back pain and sciatica is called Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD). This usually occurs in people over 50. Symptoms can range from dull achiness in the lower back to pain running into one or both legs. This is another form of sciatica but because of the degeneration and the narrowing where the nerves exit the spine it is also called stenosis. 

Common reports are pain with standing and walking that are relieved with sitting, laying down or resting. Often patients will report leaning on the cart at the grocery store or walker to reduce their symptoms and allow them to walk further. 

The third main type of lower back pain and sciatica symptoms we see is a SacroIliac Joint (SIJ) or pelvic problem. This occurs frequently in women especially late in pregnancy or after childbirth. It can also be caused by landing hard on one leg after stepping off a curb or doing something that “jams” the leg. 

It results in a slight twist of the pelvic joint causing it to be offset. This can cause local lower back and pelvic pain but can also cause referral pain down the back or front of the thigh and groin. One leg may feel heavier than the other as patients will frequently note this when trying to get in the car or lift the legs to get into bed. 

If you are having back pain ask yourself which one sounds like you? Are you younger or older than 50?  Have you had any type of injury or did the problem suddenly come on? What positions make the pain better? Worse?

In the next blog post I will discuss what you can do to help with your pain.

Get Your Life Back So You Can Do What You Love.

Now what do you do if you’re experiencing some aches and pains? You can wait for the next blog post, search youtube for some exercises that may help or may make you worse or you can get expert advice. 

Do yourself a favor and get it looked at by one of our experts at MOSS Rehabilitation Center. We offer FREE Discover Visits to help. In a very short period of time we can help you determine what is wrong with your lower back and what you should do about it. 

NEXT ACTION: Start by calling 817-220-6677 today to schedule your FREE Discovery Visit. 

PS. Remember the 3 D’s -Don’t Ignore it, Don’t Mask It, Do Something About It. 

Get Your Life Back So You Can Do What You Love. Call Today!
817-220-MOSS (6677)