Lower Back Pain

More than 65 million Americans suffer from low back pain each year. It can manifest as shooting pains down the legs, persistent aches, or muscles so tight they prevent one from standing up straight, but the issue often originates in an irritated nerve root near the spine. If a nerve that travels from the spinal cord through the bones of the spine become pinched or irritated, muscles tense up and low back pain occurs.

The spinal column is an intricate network of nerves, discs, and bones, beginning in the brain and protected by the spinal column as it runs most of the way down the back. Motor nerves exit the spinal cord to control body movement while sensory nerves enter the spinal cord to communicate messages back to the brain. Together, the motor and sensory nerves form more than 50 nerve roots, running through holes in the bones of the spinal column. Each one of these nerve roots has the potential to become irritated and cause back pain.

Although low back pain can become quite severe, pain improves without surgery in 90 percent of cases.


Back pain can be caused by many different diseases and conditions. Common conditions that can cause back pain are fractures and dislocations; degenerative disc disease; disc herniation or bulging discs; osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease; facet syndrome or synovitis; stenosis; spondylolisthesis; fibromyalgia syndrome; and sprains or strains.