One of my patients asked me the other day, “Why does my lower back pain come back?” The causes of recurrent low back pain are note easy to explain. There are many factors that determine how your back is going to function, whether or not the pain will subside, and whether or not the pain will return.
Why does my lower back pain come back?
Your TRAUMA history is a big factor. During my initial discussion with a new patient, I will ask, “Have you had any car accidents… ever? Falls off of a bike? Out of a tree? Off of a horse? Football injuries? Tumbling injuries? Dropped from a pyramid in cheer-leading?” Even as far back as childhood, traumatic injury to your lower back joints and discs can create a “weak link” in the system. That injury often comes back to haunt you time and again in later years. Recurrent
Your GENES, of course, are another factor. If your mom or dad had/has a problem with lower back pain, chances are good that your lower back is going to be more susceptible to pain and weakness. Your bones, joint, muscles, discs and ligaments form similar to your parents’ – sometimes more, sometimes less. Disc bulging, scoliosis, spondylolisthesis (vertebra separation), swayback, and other anomalies can all play a role in how your back works.
Your HABITS are huge. How you sit, stand, bend and lift are ingrained patterns that are part of the road to how you got this way. If you bend at the waist and lower back instead of using your legs, it will eventually hurt you. If you slump in the couch or easy chair while you watch TV or use the computer, you are in trouble. If you stand with your shoulders slumped forward and your upper back slouched, it will cause lower back problems. Even breathing wrong plays a major role in how your lower back works.
Managing the causes of recurrent low back pain.
My job as a conservative spine specialist is to correct the dysfunction in your spinal joints and relieve your pain as quickly as I can. But in the long term, we need to correct your muscles, your habits, your movement patterns, your sleep, and even your diet. These are causes of recurrent low back pain that can be changed. Obviously I cannot change your genetics, and the issues you inherited from your parents will be with you all of your life, but there are things that we can do to minimize those causes of recurrent low back pain that can be changed.
I can teach and coach you on specific spine stabilizing exercises, and I can keep your spinal joints functioning at the best they can perform. You can follow the treatment regimen and do your exercises daily, and your pain episodes can be fewer and less severe. We can work to change your habits and movement patterns to reduce the mechanical stress that causes recurrent low back pain. So while you cannot change your health history or genetics, there are things that you can do to minimize the causes of recurrent low back pain that can be changed. Yet, merely continuing to do the same things will likely result in the same outcome.