About 80% of adults experience back pain in their lifetime. It is the most common cause of job-related disability and a leading contributor to missed workdays. Low back pain ranked 3rd as the most burdensome condition in the US.
A common cause of lower back and leg pain is lumbar spinal stenosis. As we age, our spine changes. These normal wear-and-tear effects of aging can lead to the narrowing of the spinal canal.
Degenerative changes of the spine are seen in up to 95% of people by the age of 50. Spinal stenosis most often occurs in adults over 60 years old. Pressure on the nerve roots is equally common in men and women.
Vertebral compression fractures occur when a vertebra in the spine has decreased in height due to fracture. Affecting roughly 7,090,000 people per year, the condition is commonly caused by osteoporosis, but it can also be caused by trauma and carries the risk of damage to the spinal cord.
While vertebral fractures can result from serious injuries, they are highly common in patients with osteoporosis, a disease in which bones lose their density and become weaker over time. Daily activities as simple as coughing or reaching for an object can cause a vertebral fracture in those with osteoporosis.
Dysfunction in the sacroiliac joint (also called the SI joint) can produce significant lower back pain, as well as pelvic, groin, and hip pain. Clinical publications have identified the SI joint as a pain generator in 15-30% of chronic low back pain patients. In addition, the SI joint is a pain generator in up to 43% of patients with continued or new-onset low back pain after a lumbar fusion.
Lumbar facet syndrome is a painful irritation of the posterior part of the lumbar spine. Swelling from the surrounding structures can cause pain due to an irritation of the nerve roots. It is reported to be a common source of mechanical low back pain in 15-45% of patients with chronic back pain.
The herniated disc or displaced disk can compress a nerve exiting the spine (branch of the spinal cord), the spinal cord itself, or both. It is one of the most common causes of neck and low back pain with pain shooting down the arms or legs. It occurs most often in men than women. People 35-55 years old have a higher chance of getting a herniated disk.