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Low Back Pain

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The vertebrae in your lower back are larger than in any other part of your spine.  Vertebrae are the series of bones that align to form your spine.  The spinal section in your lower back is called the lumbar spine.  The vertebrae are bigger in the lumber spine because they must support the weight of your upper body.  They also withstand powerful forces from the lower back muscles.  These strong muscles are attached to the lumbar vertebrae and are used during lifting, bending, and twisting activities.

Low back pain is very common.  Muscle, ligament, nerve, and spine injuries are frequent causes of low back pain.  Poor posture during movements and “wear and tear” can also cause low back pain.  Degenerative diseases, such as arthritis, can cause the spinal structures to break down and put pressure on the spinal cord or nerves.  Nerve pressure in the lumbar spine can cause symptoms to spread to the buttocks, legs, and feet.  This is because the nerves that exit the spinal cord at the lumbar spine travel to these areas. 

A medical examination is necessary to identify the cause of low back pain in order to determine the appropriate course of treatment.  The majority of people with low back pain find relief with non-surgical treatments.  However, for a small number of people with low back pain, symptoms progress or persist, and surgery can be an effective treatment.

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The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on April 13th, 2016. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit

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