Common Causes of Lower Back Pain

Back pain is one of the most common health complaints among adults, but it can have a wide variety of causes, not all related to spinal health. Read more about some potential causes of your back pain, and then go see your doctor or an orthopedic specialist to help create a healing plan and solution for your back pain.

Injury of Overuse of Muscles

If you work out frequently, lift objects with your back, or have been in an automotive accident, the muscles in your low back may be unhappy with you. You may want to speak with a physical therapist about muscle strengthening exercises for your back if daily activities like work or exercise are causing the muscles in your low back to ache. If you've been in an accident, you may also find physical therapy helpful, but you definitely want to speak to your doctor first to eliminate any other possible causes of your pain.


Any kind of excessive force to your back can potentially cause fractures to occur in your vertebrae. Accidents, direct blows, and falls can all cause fractures. To diagnose for certain that a fracture is causing you pain, you'll need to see your family doctor or an orthopedic specialist.

Herniated Disc

Your spine consists of bone and cushioning discs that are filled with a jelly-like substance. A herniated disc happens when the jelly-like substance is forced out of its normal state and ends up pushing against a nerve root.

Age-Related Diseases

Osteoarthritis and Osteoporosis are two age related, degenerative diseases that can cause you back pain. Osteoarthritis affects the small joints in the spine, making them weak and able to cause you pain. Osteoporosis can lead to hairline fractures along your spine due to the weakening and demineralization of bone.

Spinal Deformities

You may not have ever realized it, but your spine may not be perfectly straight. If it's not, your body may compensate by putting more weight on certain areas than others. Two technical terms for spinal deformities are scoliosis, where the spine curves abnormally from side to side instead of being straight, and kyphosis, another curving of the spine which causes bowing or rounding of the back.

Referred Pain

Often, our backs will "feel" pain that is actually occurring in another part of our bodies. This is known as referred pain. Your lower back tends to sense the pain felt by organs in your abdomen. Intestinal pain, aneurysms, kidney disease, bladder infections, appendicitis, and uterine and ovarian disorders can all be felt as referred pain in your lower back. Your doctor or orthopedic specialist will keep the possibility in mind that your back pain could be symptomatic of pain actually occurring elsewhere in your body.