Understanding the Main Causes of Lower Back Pain

Lower Back Pain

Up to 90 percent of Americans will have back pain at some point in their lives. Many of those people will experience chronic lower back pain that will affect their ability to do routine daily tasks and diminish their quality of life. Understanding the main causes of lower back pain is the first step in finding treatment and Panther Physical Therapy is here to help explain.

Muscle strains

By far the most common cause of lower back pain is soft tissue damage from a pulled, strained or torn muscle or ligament. Improper lifting technique can cause muscle strain by placing too much weight on the muscles in the back as opposed to utilizing the muscles in the legs. As simple as the advice of lifting with your legs sounds, many people still incorrectly lift heavy objects with their back. To correctly lift with your legs:

  • Begin by bending your knees to the height of the object and keeping your back straight and level.
  • Place your hands underneath the object for support.
  • Raise back up by engaging your core, thrusting your hips forward and keeping your back level.


Pressure on the sciatic nerve causes lower back pain that radiates down through the hips, buttocks and leg. Though this pain often is dominant on one side over the other, people can experience sciatic nerve pain on both sides of the body. Pressure on the sciatic nerve can be caused by:

  • A herniated disc in your back
  • A bone spur that grows into the sciatic nerve
  • Spinal stenosis which is when the spine narrows and compresses the nerve
  • Pregnancy can also put pressure on the sciatic nerve

When lower back pain persists for a long period of time or progressively get worse, it may be time to seek medical attention. Physical therapy helps many people regain their quality of life by strengthening the muscles in the back and core and teaching you about proper lifting techniques, posture and exercises you can perform to relieve your lower back pain symptoms.

The physical therapists of Panther Physical Therapy are experts who will create an individualized plan to meet your wellness goals. If you suffer from chronic lower back pain, contact us today to set up your initial consultation and go over treatment options that can help you. 

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