Meet Lower Back Pain

Most of the problems experienced by folks who suffer from lower back pain arise from a slow degradation of the main supporting joint of the spine, the disc. In our spine, discs work as spacers for nerves and the supporting joints behind the disc that provide for “planar” movement of the lower back, the facet joints. 

When we are younger, as the spine is developing, the disc has a natural healthy hydrostatic integrity. Because it has a good supply of oxygenated blood from the nutrient blood vessels, the disc tissue is able to maintain its strength and flexibility for normal movement, as well as repair itself after stress or injury.

As we move through our 30’s though, the nutrient vessels that supply blood to the disc wither and shrink, and that’s when things start to change for most of us. Now, after any injury or weight bearing stress to the disc – such as prolonged sitting, standing, or repetitive motion – the disc is no longer capable of efficient recovery, and as a consequence, begins to lose its hydrostatic integrity. Think of it this way – when you are younger, the disc has more of a “jelly-like” consistency.  As we lose the hydrostatic integrity, it becomes more like “dried toothpaste.”

This provokes a “thinning” of the disk, in turn causing a loss of the normal disc space. This is what creates a bulging or herniating effect of the disc into the space where the nerve root sits, resulting in sciatic pain or leg pain, since that’s where the nerves travel.

The disc thinning also results in pressure of the facet joints behind the disc, so here you have two likely sources of pain that can arise either from traumatic injury or a slower progressive degenerative evolution arising from bad postural habits and the normal “wear and tear” of everyday life.