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Lower Back Pain

The lower back is made up of:

  • Five bones called lumbar vertebrae
  • Six shock absorbers called vertebrae disks
  • The spinal cord and nerves which connect the brains to muscles in the leg
  • Small joints that assist in movement
  • Muscles and ligaments

Causes of pain

  • Lumbar strain -This is a stretch injury where microscopic tears on ligaments, tendons and or muscles occur as a result of; overuse, improper use and trauma,
  • Nerve irritation- When nerves are irritated by bone and other tissue or from diseases along their path
  • Bony encroachment
  • Bone or joint conditions
  • Other causes unrelated to the lumbar spine include;
  • Kidney problems
  • Pregnancy
  • Ovary problems
  • Tumours

Non Invasive treatment

Following an examination by the orthopaedic surgeons, treatment can be as simple as;

  • Activity modification
  • Medication for pain and inflammation
  • Rest
  • Steroid injections
  • Back exercises to increase muscle strength of the lower back and abdomen
  • Weight loss, if overweight
  • Quitting smoking


Surgery is never the first treatment method. However, the most common surgery done on the lower back is to remove pressure from a 'slipped disk'. This is only done when pain has not responded to other treatments.


As we age, decreased bone mass, strength and elasticity of muscles and ligaments are unavoidable. The aging process can be delayed by;

  • Exercising so muscles that support the back remain strong and flexible.
  • Using correct lifting and moving techniques
  • Maintaining the correct body weight
  • Using correct posture while sitting and standing.