If you have experienced lower back pain, you are definitely not alone. As many as 80 percent of all adults will have lower back pain at one point or another in their life. It ranks as the most common reason for people to have a job-related disability, and it leads to the top reason for missed days of work. A survey was done including a large variety of people. The results indicated that more than ¼ of adults had had some degree of back pain within the last 3 months.

Both men and women experience low back pain. The pain can range in severity from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp sensation leaving you unable to do anything until it goes away. The pain may come on swiftly after lifting something heavy or as a result of an accident. Others experience pain that comes on over time due to age and changes that occur within the spine. Leading a sedentary lifestyle can be another reason for low back pain. This can be especially true when you are inactive during the week but do a strenuous workout on the weekend.

For the majority of people, low back pain is short-term or acute. This suggests it lasts for a few weeks and then begins to resolve on its own with self-care. This type of back pain is usually mechanical in nature, meaning the components of the back (the spine, muscles, intervertebral discs, and nerves) have some type of disruption in the way they fit together and move.

Chronic back pain is pain that lasts for more than 12 weeks and continues even after the initial cause has been cared for. Around 20 percent of people with acute low back pain develop chronic low back pain at about the one-year point.

Low back pain is something that is consistently increasing in the general population. In 1990, back pain ranked in 6th place on the list of most burdensome conditions in the US. As of 2010, low back pain has risen to 3rd  place on this list with only heart disease and pulmonary disease ranking above it.

Low Back Pain Due to Sciatica

Sciatica is one of the main reasons that you might experience low back pain. Sciatica is pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve, the largest nerve in the body. This nerve comes from the lower back, through your hips and buttocks, and then down the back of each leg. Usually, it is only felt on one side of the body.

Sciatica comes about when a herniated disc, a bone spur on the spine, or narrowing of the spinal column takes place. This leads to compression of part of the nerve and causes inflammation, pain, and numbness in the affected leg. Severe cases of sciatica can affect your bowel and bladder function. This is something you should consult your doctor about.

To learn more about the connection between head and neck injuries and back pain download our complimentary e-book by clicking the image below.

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Symptoms of Low Back Pain Due to Sciatica

The hallmark symptom of sciatica is pain that comes from your lower back, into your buttock, and down the back of your leg. You may feel pain anywhere along the nerve pathway. Other symptoms may include:

  • Pain that worsens when you sneeze or cough
  • Pain described as a mild ache, a sharp, burning sensation, or excruciating
  • Pain that feels like an electric shock or a jolt
  • Prolonged sitting intensifies symptoms
  • Numbness, tingling, or muscle weakness in the affected leg or foot
  • Some experience pain in one part of the leg and numbness in another part

It is important to seek medical care immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • Pain lasting longer than a week
  • Pain is severe or becomes progressively worse
  • Sudden or severe pain in your low back or leg and numbness or muscle weakness in your leg
  • Problems controlling your bowels or bladder
  • Pain following a violent injury, such as a vehicle accident

Risk Factors for Back Pain Due to Sciatica

  • Age — due to changes in the spine
  • Obesity — because of increased stress on the spine
  • Diabetes — affecting the way your body uses sugar, the risk of nerve damage is possible
  • Prolonged sitting — sedentary lifestyles put you at higher risk for sciatica
  • Occupation — jobs requiring you to twist, push, pull, lift heavy loads, or drive a vehicle for long periods of time can lead to sciatica

How the Neck Is Linked to Back Pain

The brain and nervous system control every function and movement in your body. The nervous system has the important job of coordinating the function of muscles. It is vital then, for the body to work at its optimum so that the nerves are not interfered with. If the brainstem has any kind of irritation or the nerves near the brainstem are inflamed, the muscles on one side of the body will pull tighter together and cause a change in the low back, causing pain in that area.

The spine is made up of 24 moveable vertebrae that balance the head at the very top. The skull can weigh up to 14 pounds. Having the head balanced is critical to our center of gravity. When the head is off kilter, just by a tiny bit, the body compensates for it by causing the spine to shift. This can irritate the sciatic nerve and lead to low back pain.

A upper cervical chiropractors, such as those here at 1st Place Chiropractic in St. Charles, Illinois, we use a gentle method to realign the bones of the neck that may have moved out place and put the brainstem under stress. This is usually the C1 or C2 vertebra. By encouraging them to move back into place more naturally, the body can begin to heal, and the spine can shift back into normal position, relieving the stress put on the brainstem. When this is completed, many report seeing an improvement in their low back pain and sciatica.

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