In simple words, low back pain can be defined as pain experienced in the bottom region of the spine (between lower margins of ribs and the gluteal folds). It may remain localized to back or radiate to the legs.
Sciatica is a term used for pain radiating down from the lower spine to the legs. A most common cause of sciatica is irritation or compression of the nerves as they exit the spine on their way to the legs. It may be accompanied by numbness, tingling, and weakness in the distribution of the affected nerve.
Globally low back pain (LBP) is one of the leading causes of disability. LBP is an important cause of limitation of activities, absence from work with resultant economic implications. In industrialized countries lifetime prevalence of non-specific low back pain is estimated at 60–70%. Despite the high incidence and intensive research into this area, pain generators are not easy to identify and the diagnosis Nonspecific Low Back Pain is used commonly. This is different from situations where a specific cause such as fracture, infection, neoplasm, etc. responsible for pain generation can be identified.
Potential Sources & Causes
Back pain can originate from numerous sources and some of the common causes include
- Disc herniation, degenerative disc disease
- Facet and Sacroiliac Joints
- Muscle and ligament sprains/injuries
- Narrowing of the spinal canal- Spinal Stenosis
- Fractures, trauma
- Autoimmune diseases
Dr. Amod Manocha is a Senior Consultant and Head of Pain Management Services at Max Multispecialty Hospital, Saket. He is trained as a Pain Management Specialist and an Anaesthetist in the UK. He has over 13 years of work experience in the UK including working as a Chronic Pain Consultant in many UK hospitals.