A majority of people in the U.S. suffers from lower back pain at one point or another. In 2010, the CDC found that within 3 months of their study, 28% of people over the age of 18 experienced lower back pain. As society becomes more technologically advanced, an increase in sitting, and a decrease in exercise have led to an increased prevalence of lower back pain. What you may not know is that the types of lower back pain each feel completely different and they often occur in different parts of the back.
The Types of Lower Back Pain
The Sacroiliac Joint (SIJ), the lumbar discs, and the quadratus lumborum muscle, are the primary culprits of lower back pain. In this series of blogs, I will first go over how each of these conditions feels, and where they often present in your lower back. The next three blogs will pertain to how to treat each of these conditions on your own. Keep in mind that medical testing is the ultimate way to diagnose your condition. Postural analysis, MRI’s, and X-rays will often tell the story.
Sacroiliac Joint Pain
There are numerous joints in the lower back, but the Sacroiliac joint is usually the one that gets “locked” up, causing you to experience a SHARP twinge or stabbing pain very low on either side of the lower back. The SIJ is located to the right and left of the sacrum (the top of your butt crack). The SIJ usually hurts when you move and change positions. I’ve had people recreate the pain by bending backward while bending over to touch your toes. In this instance, a few chiropractic adjustments can help relieve the pain (the next blog will cover the stretches and exercises necessary to help prevent it from coming back).
Lower Back Disc Injuries
Numerous injuries can occur to the lumbar vertebral discs and the surrounding vertebrae, but the pain you experience from these different types of disc pain is often similar. Disc pain often presents as a sharp, achy pain in the center of the back at the spine. I can personally describe it as “a knife being dug into a wound and left there, ” and many of my patients agree!
The major telltale sign that you are experiencing disc pain is if you have referred or traveling pain that shoots down into the buttocks, leg, and foot. This is called Sciatica and it usually only affects one side, but if the injury is severe enough, sciatica can occur down both legs. Touching your toes or curling into a ball makes the pain exponentially worse in the lower back and can cause sciatic pain to increase. In some severe back injuries, bending backward will increase pain and send it down the leg.
The Quadratus Lumborum Muscle
This type of lower back pain is dull, achy, and often hurts with prolonged sitting or standing. The QL muscle is often overlooked and we have a whole 3-part series written about it! We have detailed QL background information, QL stretching and mobility exercises, and QL strengthening exercises, all pertaining to the Quadratus Lumborum Muscle.
Are you suffering from lower back pain or have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.