Common Causes of Low Back Pain

Low Back Pain

Low back pain is one of the most common reasons people miss work, and seek out chiropractic care.

Low back pain is caused by many different reasons, some are obvious like falling or that extra deadlift at the gym and others seem like they come out of nowhere – “I just woke up with it.”

Common Causes of Low Back Pain


Low back pain is the #1 cause of disability worldwide, and is often from a fall, car accident, a lifting injury, or while on the job. The most common way people injure their backs is with a poor lifting technique; for example, they bend forward, lift and twist rather than lifting with their legs (a squat). Are you a visual learner? Check out OSHA’s safe lifting training.

  • Car accident: Back pain is incredibly common after a car accident. About 63% of those with ongoing low back pain can blame this injury on a car crash.
  • Work injury: At many places of work, physical labor is a series of repeated movements. Lifting, carrying, and bending (again and again) all figure in to creating an environment that could injure your back while on the job.
  • Slip & Falls: If you don’t see the ice beforehand, and slip on it, you’ll need plenty of ice applied afterward. If you fall in your home or at the workplace, your back will likely be injured.

Muscle strain or spasm

When you’re overworked, you want to complain, right? Same with our muscles. Any time we overuse our muscles, there’s a chance that they could spasm or cause us pain. Sometimes a simple sneeze will bring on this tightening pain, or we’ve simply not paid good attention to how much we’re overdoing it with yard or house work, or with exercising.

Disc Disease or Disc Injury

Herniated Lumbar staff (2014). “Medical gallery of Blausen Medical 2014”. WikiJournal of Medicine 1 (2). DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 2002-4436., CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If the cushions between our vertebrae (the discs) are injured or start to wear out, they can begin to put pressure on the surrounding nerves and cause inflammation. If you’ve seen a pain medicine commercial, it can feel like that radiating red area they depict. Frequently, the pain also radiates down the leg.


Ah, everyone’s favorite part of growing one year older–but not really. As we age, our cartilage begins to wear out between our joints, which can lead to inflammation, causing pain and stiffness. That pain and stiffness can lead to multifarious conditions, such as arthritis, bone spurs or spinal stenosis.


Because the stress of added weight can change the body’s ability to keep its posture, the lower back joints will be strained when the pelvis is pushed forward by excess weight. This stress and strain can cause low back pain.


The joys of motherhood. All those hormones shifting in your body that work to loosen ligaments and the extra weight from the developing baby can lead to low back pain, pelvic pain and/or (everyone’s least favorite) sciatica-type symptoms. But after delivery, most low back pain subsides.


The curve in the spine (from left to right, not the normal front to back curvature) can lead to pain, posture issues and nerve irritation, depending on how bad the condition is.

Spondylolisthesis (Spondy)

It’s pronounced spawn-dee-lohl-is-THEE-sis in case you want to impress the provider next time you’re in the office. This condition, also called “Spondy”, is a slipped spine which commonly occurs in the lower lumbar spine. It’s not typically present at birth, but develops in early childhood or during teenage years. Some with spondy have zero symptoms or pain, but others may have frequent low back pain that worsens with arching the back.

Uncommon Causes of Low Back Pain

Other causes of low back pain that are unlikely include autoimmune disease, infections, cancer, or a fracture of the spine.

  • Autoimmune disease: Ankylosing Spondylitis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, psoriatic arthritis, or rheumatoid arthritis can all contribute to low back pain through inflammation, faulty pain signals, or swelling.
  • Infections: Pelvic inflammatory disease, kidney infections, or bladder infections may create aches and pains in the low back area and sometimes an infection can even occur in the spine itself.
  • Cancer: Spinal tumors, organ cancers, or blood and tissue cancers can all cause low back pain, but it is rare.
  • Spinal Fracture: Spinal fractures can be from trauma like a car accident or from age-related causes like compression fractures. The vertebrae may be cracked or compressed down, causing pain and inflammation at the site.

How to Help

The moment you have low back pain, you want to find a solution. No matter what the cause is, there are a lot of options to get you back to the things you love.

Chiropractic for Low Back Pain

Seeing the chiropractor is the best option for low back pain. Many of the causes of your pain are caused by misalignment. This means that you need to get back in line, with the help of Element Chiropractic. Gentle manual adjustments or instrument adjustments along with a specialized exercise regimen can help ease the tension caused by your condition and help reduce future episodes.


Massage is wonderful for muscle relaxation and pain relief. It can help relieve the pressure in your muscles, allowing your body to begin the healing process.


Acupuncture can help with low back pain relief and short-term relief. It won’t fix the problem, but it will certainly take the stress off for a time.


Whether it’s Advil, Alieve or Tylenol for inflammation and pain, or it’s a muscle relaxer or painkiller prescribed for you, medicine can help you on your journey to feeling more like yourself, while you work towards improving your low back function.

Cold Laser

Cold laser works by having specific light waves penetrate to your body’s cells, which stimulates your mitochondria. The mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cells and the cold laser gives them a boost, which in turn helps speed healing, reduce inflammation and reduce pain.

Back Braces

Often back braces are only used for brief periods of time to help reduce pain, decompress your spine and provide support. Some patients will benefit from custom-made braces that may be prescribed for advanced cases of back pain or scoliosis.


There are two main types of injections that can be used for low back pain: Anti-inflammatory/pain and regenerative injections. Anti-inflammatory/pain injections include corticosteroid injections, nerve blocks or trigger point injections. Regenerative injections include platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections and prolotherapy.


This solution is for advanced cases only. Some patients may be referred right away due to highly-advanced issues, or some patients may go through a series of solutions that may not work for them. Either way, surgery is more of a final effort to fix your lower back pain.

Low back pain affects so many people, impacting their quality of life and their enjoyment of hobbies and recreation. Element Chiropractic in Redmond, OR can help get you back to your daily activities faster and help prevent future episodes of injury. And if you already have a provider for your complex low back pain, we are more than willing to work together, providing a multi-faceted approach!

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