What is Chronic LOW Back Pain?

Chronic low back pain affects tens of millions of people each year. Low back pain is most often caused by disc tears which usually progresses into many disc problems. Disc tears allow the discs to leak onto adjacent spinal nerves and tissues, causing inflammation of those nerves, which lead to leg pain and numbness, and sometimes the “pins and needles” sensation. Torn discs are most often the underlying cause of chronic low back pain.

Types of chronic low back pain

The most common causes of chronic low back pain include:

  • A herniated disc
  • Annular tear
  • Degenerative discs
  • Facet joint dysfunction – two joints behind each disc that become arthritic as torn discs collapse
  • Sacroiliac Joint Disfunction – the sacroiliac joint can become painful if it becomes inflamed (sacroiliitis)
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Deformity
  • Trauma
  • Compression Fracture(s)
  • Infection(s)
  • Tumor(s)
  • Autoimmune disease(s)
Of adults will experience low back pain at some point in their life

Risk Factors

Besides outright causes, certain things may put you at risk for chronic low back pain, such as:

  • Age – usually begins between the ages of 30-50
  • Fitness level – more common in those who are not active or fit
  • Pregnancy – besides weight gain, pelvic changes also affect this
  • Weight gain / BMI – heavier weight puts more stress on the back
  • Genetics – some genes play a role in back pain or certain hereditary conditions
  • Occupational – if one works a job with heavy lifting or other potential weight or safety issues
  • Mental Health – Anxiety and depression affect how we perceive pain
  • Overloading backpacks (in children and adults) – causes muscle fatigue


The range of symptoms for chronic lower back pain revolves around the definition of pain. The most common are as follows:

  • Pain (dull or achy) contained to the low back
  • Pain that worsens after prolonged sitting or standing
  • Stinging, burning pain that moves from the low back to the backs of the thighs, sometimes into the lower legs or feet
  • Numbness or tingling (sciatica)
  • Muscle spasms and tightness in the low back, pelvis and hips
  • Difficulty standing up straight, walking or going from standing to sitting

This list is not definitive. Chronic lower back pain has many more symptoms that are varied and intricate. You should consult your doctor should you think you have chronic lower back pain.


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