Causes of Lower Back Pain | Nimbus Clinics

Causes of Lower Back Pain; When Should I See a Chiropractor

Lower back pain has many causes and can range from being very simple to very complicated. It’s one of the most common reasons patients come to see a chiropractor. Instead of just treating the pain, it is better to find out the problem that is causing the lower back pain in the first place; this helps to better establish the correct timeframe and prognosis for getting someone back to their normal lifestyle. Here are some of the common causes for back pain and the tissues that can be involved.

Facet Joint Problems

Some of the most common pains in the lower back can come from facet joint disorders. The facet joints are towards the back of your spine behind the vertebral bodies. They are responsible for giving you the flexibility to bend and twist and they also share the weight of your body with your vertebral bodies and discs.

It can be hard to diagnose facet joint problems without experience because it is an unpredictable type of pain which can be localised to one spot in the low back, they can refer across the low back like a thick band or in some cases pain can radiate towards the buttocks. There might be some persistent tenderness and decreased flexibility in the spine associated with this.

When to see a chiropractor:

Make an appointment with your chiropractor for an assessment and treatment when this pain is frequent or interrupting your life.


The sciatic nerve branches out of the spine at the lower back and travels down through the pelvis, buttocks, and down each leg to the knee. Sciatica refers to pain that shoots down or radiates out of the sciatic nerve pathway, which can on occasion radiate further down to the calf. It usually only affects one side of the nerve.

The problem usually stems from the nerve being compressed, commonly from a herniated or bulging disc, a tight or tense muscle, a narrowed spinal canal, or a bone spur on the spine. Sufferers often complain of sharp pain, numbness, and limited use of the affected leg.

When to see a chiropractor:

Sciatica is an umbrella term for different tissues or structures affecting the transmission of nerve signals down your sciatic nerve. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to get it checked out as soon as possible to ensure that nothing serious is going on.

Most of the time it can be dealt with quite easily by a chiropractor but in some circumstances like if you experience any numbness or tingling over your saddle area or loss of bowel or bladder function, you should go to hospital immediately.

Herniated Disc

Discs are jelly-like pads in between each vertebra to help cushion the bones from impact and to work like a pivot point to bend and twist from. They help with flexibility and keep your spine healthy. Discs can bulge or herniate from an abrupt injury or strain, or, more commonly from repetitive microtrauma (i.e sitting in a slouched position for long periods at work or repetitive bending).

It creates a weakness within the walls of the disc and the softer material inside (nucleus pulposus) starts to either seep out through a tear or presses against the side of the wall. The most common symptoms are lower back pain, leg pain with or without pins and needles, numbness or tingling and weakness in the muscles. The extent of these symptoms is governed by the amount the disc is pressing against the nerve as it exits the spine.


When to see a chiropractor:

Mild to moderate bulging or herniated discs can benefit from chiropractic care and the correct prevention and self-management strategies. If you experience any of these symptoms, speak to a chiropractor and get an assessment and they should be able to establish if it’s the kind of issue they may be able to help with.

In a handful of cases, chiropractic may not be able to help and surgery may or may not be necessary. Our chiropractors can guide you down that route if it’s necessary.

Muscle Pain and Stiff Joints

Lower back pain can come from deep muscles in the back such as the quadratus lumborum. This pain can be an achy feeling that is very deep in the back but also may manifest as sharp pain too, depending on the cause. It can be experienced when resting, but can also be aggravated when walking, standing, or just rolling over in bed.

Lower back pain can also come from a muscle called the multifidus. It attaches to the spinal column and aids in your spacial awareness and finely controls the movement of each segment in the spine. When this muscle is injured or strained, it can result in lower back pain.

Both muscles can contribute to lower back pain after holding an awkward position for an extended time, if they are deconditioned and the muscles have a slight delay in their ability to contract, or if there’s a strong muscular contraction from lifting a heavy object in the wrong way.

When to see a chiropractor:

Sometimes it’s difficult to establish the exact reason why this may have started in the first place. If you experience pain like this and you think it may be muscular, it’s always worth checking to see if our tests can highlight an area of weakness, poor function or whether any activities you may be engaging in could be contributing to it.

Applying ice to the area can help to offer some relief and deep tissue massage therapy combined with stretches can also help by relieving some of the tension in the affected muscles. If you want to get back to your usual routine quickly, you can always pop in for an assessment so we can offer our best advice.

Getting the Right Help

Many people suffer through lower back pain for years, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Visit a chiropractor to find the cause of your back pain and start getting some relief. Stop letting lower back pain hold you back.

Posted in: Back Pain

Add a comment