Approximately 60 to 80 percent of adults in the U.S. experience low back pain at some point in their lives. Most cases of low back pain are considered acute, or temporary, but some people suffer from chronic, or ongoing, back pain. The good news is that many cases of back pain can be prevented.
Anatomy of the spine
The lower spine, or backbone, includes five bones called the lumbar vertebrae. Between each of these vertebrae is a shock-absorbing disk filled with a jelly-like material. There are also several nerves along the spine that, when injured, can cause pain to the lower back.
Low back pain commonly occurs when you use your back muscles to perform activities your body isn’t used to. These activities might include lifting heavy items, playing a new sport, or doing yard work. Even normal, routine activities such as bending over can sometimes cause low back pain.
There are also some medical conditions that can cause low back pain, including muscle sprains, strains or spasms, or joint problems such as arthritis. In addition, a slipped disk often results in low back pain. This is when a disk between the vertebrae is enlarged and presses on the nearby nerves.