What Causes a Sore Lower Back?

The spine is the body’s central support structure, which protects the spinal cord, nerve roots, and nearby internal organs. A sore lower back may be the symptom of a more serious condition. While some patients with sore lower back pain only experience mild pain, others report intense pain that disrupts day-to-day activities.

Once a spine surgeon determines the underlying conditions responsible for sore lower back pain, patients can begin advanced spinal care tailored to his or her individual needs. With a dedicated staff of nationally recognized spinal experts, the team at New Jersey Spine Specialists understands the main conditions that cause the manifestation of sore lower back pain and proven treatment approaches to eliminate painful symptoms.

Sore Lower Back Pain From Sciatica

Named after the sciatic nerve, sciatica generates pain from the lumbar spine or buttocks to your legs when the nerve becomes irritated or compressed. Degenerative disc disease, pinched nerves, or a herniated disc can cause sciatica to appear between the backbone levels of L4 and S1. When afflicted by sciatica, most patients report common symptoms like pain, numbness, tingling, weakness, slower reflexes and muscle spasms. Several other conditions can cause sciatica to appear such as the narrowing of the spinal cord in the lower back (lumbar spinal stenosis), a disc that slipped over the vertebra below it (spondylolisthesis), a tumor or infection in the spine, cauda equine syndrome, and injuries to the spine.

Your preferred spine specialist can provide a diagnosis after conducting various tests on NJ-based patients. These tests include checking muscle strength and reflexes and using diagnostic imaging technologies such as X-rays, MRIs, CT Scans, and Electromyography (EMG). After receiving an accurate diagnosis from a board-certified spine doctor at NJSS, patients living in Bloomfield, Summit, and the nearby towns can begin a personalized treatment regimen. Rather than opt for surgical intervention, our doctors can treat sciatica patients with sore lower back pain through a combination of conservative methods such as:

  • Physical activity modification
  • Oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
  • Epidural Injections
  • Low-impact exercises
  • Stretching techniques
  • Physical Therapy

Sore Lower Back Pain From Spinal Stenosis

Spinal Stenosis occurs when the sensitive spinal nerve roots become compressed. While the majority of affected patients are over the age of 50, degenerative changes can cause younger patients to develop this painful condition. These changes may include trauma, a congenital spinal deformity like scoliosis, or even a genetic disease affecting bone and muscle development. Spinal Stenosis symptoms tend to fluctuate between patients, ranging from mild and manageable pain, numbness or tingling in the extremities from pinched nerves, sore lower back pain, and a limited range of mobility. Since symptoms of spinal stenosis are so similar to symptoms of other spinal conditions, it can be difficult to properly diagnose this painful condition. But the NJSS team can deploy advanced imaging tests – like an MRI, CT, and X-rays – to identify the location of the narrowing spine. Spinal Stenosis can manifest as the result of other conditions such as wear and tear damage from osteoarthritis, complications from spinal injuries, and abnormal growths on the spinal cord and within vertebrae.

Board-certified spine experts classify spinal stenosis depending on its location within the spine. Cervical stenosis occurs in the upper regions near the neck while the more common Lumbar stenosis occurs in the lower regions of the spine. Treatment for spinal stenosis may include pain relievers such as ibuprofen, decompression surgery, laminectomy, and physical therapy. Most patients with spinal stenosis become less active to reduce the pain. Unfortunately, this can lead to muscle weakness, resulting in more pain. Luckily, a certified physical therapist can teach patients effective exercises to build strength and endurance, maintain the spine’s stability and flexibility, and improve balance.

Sore Lower Back Pain From Spondylolisthesis

When sore lower back pain appears after one vertebra slips forward over the vertebrae below, doctors will diagnose patients with Spondylolisthesis. Not to be confused with a “slipped disc,” this condition is prevalent in the lumbar spine. There are 3 different types of Spondylolisthesis:

  • Congenital spondylolisthesis: Meaning “present at birth,” congenital spondylolisthesis results from abnormal bone formation, which places discs at a greater risk for slipping.
  • Degenerative spondylolisthesis: This is the most common type of spondylolisthesis. This condition arises from normal age-related wear and tear on the body, which causes the cushion between the vertebral bones to diminish.
  • Isthmic spondylolisthesis: This type occurs as the result of spondylolysis, a condition that causes small stress factors in the vertebrae. These fractures may weaken bones so much that they eventually slip out of place.

Symptoms of lumbar spondylolisthesis may include a combination of soreness in the area of the slippage, tightness or stiffness of the muscles of the lower back, pain in the lower back, thighs, and buttocks, and sciatica. Spondylolisthesis typically appears in athletes – like weightlifters, football linemen, and gymnasts – placing immense stress on the lower region of the spine. As a result, athletes risk developing vertebral stress fractures on the right and left sides of the spine. The formation of vertebral stress fractures may cause instability and bones to shift out of place.

Advanced spine care is only a phone call away. Thanks to our telehealth services, NJSS can streamline an “in-office” experience through modern video and audio technology. The NJSS team can treat patients suffering from Spondylolisthesis with pain medications, heat and/or ice application, physical therapy, and epidural steroid injections to decrease inflammation. In most cases, non-surgical treatment can successfully minimize a patient’s sore lower back pain. But when a patient’s painful symptoms fail to improve, spine doctors may recommend surgical intervention.

Let NJSS Treat Your Sore Lower Back

New Jersey Spine Specialist’s doctors have an extensive history in treating many patients from all over northern New Jersey for sore lower back pain. With locations at Summit’s Overlook Hospital and Montclair’s Mountainside Hospital, New Jersey Spine Specialist’s leading team of spine surgeons provides patients living near Chatham, West Orange, and North Caldwell with advanced care tailored to each unique case. If you begin to experience sore lower back pain, don’t suffer in silence a moment longer. Schedule a consultation at our state-of-the-art office to learn about which minimally invasive treatment options can work for you. To find out more about how our minimally invasive treatments can lower your sore lower back pain, give us a call by dialing (908) 738-1679.

“I am pain free, walking and well on my way to recovery thanks to the help of New Jersey Spine Specialists” —Robert K

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    I am pain free, walking and well on my way to recovery thanks to the help of New Jersey Spine Specialists” –

    Robert K