Lumbar disc herniation and degenerative disc disease are just a few common causes of back pain, an ailment that affects approximately 80 percent of the population at some point, according to Los Angeles spine surgeons. Yet it’s not always easy to narrow down a source, especially since some causes of back pain often go overlooked.
Tight Hip Flexors
These muscles that help you move, or flex, extend from the upper thigh to the lower part of the spine along each side of the body. Spending too much time sitting in the same position can place stress on these muscles and cause back pain.
Weakened Hamstrings and Gluts
Hamstrings often become weak from a lack of use. Nearby gluteal muscles tend to become deactivated from compression while sitting. When these muscles are tightened or weakened, added strain can be placed on the sacroiliac, or SI, joints in the pelvis, which can affect muscles extending to the lower back.
Affected by a muscle that runs horizontally along the base of the spine, piriformis syndrome is caused when one set of muscles compensates for other muscles like the glutesthat have become weak. A tight or inflamed piriformis muscle can affect the adjacent sciatic nerve that runs through the lower back.
Spinal Infections and Tumors
Bacterial or fungal infections can affect the spine and nearby nerve roots. Both benign (not cancerous) and malignant (cancerous) spine tumors can also press on nerves and cause noticeable and often increasingly intense back pain.
Myofascial Trigger Points
Connective tissue surrounding muscles, referred to as myofascia, can be affected from chronic tension. When knots form in this tissue, trigger points form in deep muscles adjacent to the spine. Trigger points can be released with sustained pressure over the entire muscle.
Non-specific back pain is often related to soft-tissue damage that doesn’t show up on image tests, further making diagnosis difficult. Consequently, people with back pain may be limited to conservative back treatments until the actual source of discomfort is identified. This is one of the reasons why it makes sense for patients to seek more than one opinion while searching for a conclusive source of their back pain.
If back pain is disrupting your everyday life, it may be time to see a spine specialist. Call The Spine Institute at (310) 828-7757 and schedule an in-person consultation with a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who can diagnose the cause of your pain and identify all possible treatment options.