Everything About Lower Back Pain That North York and Vaughan Patients Need to Know

We are all affected by lower back pain at some point in our lives. The pain can range in intensity from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp sensation that leaves you incapacitated. The pain can flare up abruptly as a result of an accident or by lifting something heavy, or it can develop over time due to age-related changes of the spine. Our oft-sedentary lifestyles can also set the stage for low back pain, especially when times of little exercise are punctuated by extreme weekend workouts.


Most lower back pain North York and Vaughan patients experience is acute, or short term, and lasts a few days to a few weeks. It may resolve on its own with self-care, and there is no residual loss of function. The majority of acute lower back pain is mechanical in nature, meaning that there is a disruption in the way the components of the back (spine, muscles, intervertebral discs, and nerves) fit together and move.

Facts About Lower Back Pain

  •  Roughly 80% of adults experience low back pain at some point in their life
  • It is the most common cause of job-related disability
  • It is a leading contributor to missed workdays

Chronic Back Pain

Chronic back pain is back pain that persists for 12 weeks or longer, even after an initial injury or underlying cause of acute low back pain has been treated. About 20% of people affected by acute low back pain develop chronic low back pain with persistent symptoms. In some cases, treatment successfully relieves chronic low back pain; in other cases, pain persists despite medical and surgical treatment.

What Causes Lower Back Pain?

 The vast majority of lower back pain is caused by soft tissue irritation previously (and generally) called “mechanical” low back pain.  In many cases, lower back pain is associated with spondylosis, a degeneration of the joints, discs, and bones of your spine, and is associated with the normal wear and tear of ageing. 

Some examples of lower back pain causes are:

  • Sprains and strains – are caused by overstretching or tearing our ligaments (sprains), and tendons or muscles (strains). Both are caused by twisting or lifting improperly, lifting something too heavy, or overstretching. Such movements may also trigger painful back spasms.
  • Intervertebral disc degeneration – occurs when the discs of the spine lose integrity as we age. Healthy intervertebral discs provide height and allow bending, flexion, and torsion of the lower back. As our discs deteriorate, they lose their cushioning ability.
  • Herniated or ruptured discs – can occur when your intervertebral discs become compressed and bulge outward (herniation) or rupture.
  • Radiculopathy – is caused by compressing a spinal nerve root through injury or inflammation. This pressure results in pain, numbness, or a tingling sensation that travels to the areas of your body served by that nerve.
  • Sciatica – is caused by compression of your sciatic nerve, which travels through the buttocks and extends down the back of the leg. Sciatica pain can be shock-like or burning, and often travels through the buttocks and down one leg, occasionally reaching the foot. In extreme cases, symptoms may include numbness and muscle weakness in the leg. If you want to learn more about sciatica, please click here.
  • Spondylolisthesis – is caused by a vertebra of the lower spine slipping out of place and pinching the nerves exiting your spinal column.
  • Traumatic injuries – can injure tendons, ligaments or muscles, causing lower back pain. Trauma may also over-compress your spine, causing an intervertebral disc to rupture or herniate, resulting in back pain or sciatica.
  • Spinal stenosis – is a narrowing of the spinal column that puts pressure on your spinal cord and nerves, causing pain or numbness when you walk. Over time, this can lead to weakness and sensory loss in your legs.
  • Skeletal irregularities –  like scoliosis, a curvature of the spine that does not usually cause pain until middle age; lordosis, an abnormally accentuated arch in the lower back; and other congenital anomalies of the spin

Lower back pain is rarely related to serious underlying conditions, but if it is, it requires immediate medical attention. Serious underlying conditions include:

  • Infections – are not a common cause of back pain; however, they can cause pain when they involve the vertebrae (osteomyelitis) or the intervertebral discs (discitis).
  • Tumours – are a relatively rare cause of back pain. Occasionally, tumours begin in the back, but more often they appear in the back as a result of cancer that has spread from elsewhere in the body.
  • Cauda equina syndrome – is a serious but rare complication of a ruptured disc. It occurs when disc material is pushed into the spinal canal and compresses the bundle of lumbar and sacral nerve roots, causing loss of bladder and bowel control. Permanent neurological damage may result if this syndrome is left untreated.
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysms occur when the large blood vessel that supplies blood to the abdomen, pelvis, and legs becomes abnormally enlarged. Back pain can be a sign that the aneurysm is becoming larger and that the risk of rupture should be assessed.
  • Kidney stones can cause sharp pain in the lower back, usually on one side.

Other underlying conditions that predispose people to low back pain include:

  • Inflammatory diseases of the joints such as arthritis, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis as well as spondylitis, an inflammation of the vertebrae, can also cause low back pain. Spondylitis is also called spondyloarthritis or spondyloarthropathy.
  • Osteoporosis is a metabolic bone disease marked by a progressive decrease in bone density and strength, which can lead to painful fractures of the vertebrae.
  • Endometriosis is the buildup of uterine tissue in places outside the uterus.
  • Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain syndrome involving widespread muscle pain and fatigue.


 Your Current Treatment Working?

Conservative treatment options, such as physiotherapy, chiropractic care, therapeutic massage treatments, or corrective exercise and postural retraining, are often our go-to first-line treatments (along with medications) for back pain. In many instances, they are also used as ongoing therapy strategies for chronic pain.

If your current treatment for chronic lower back pain does not adequately deal with your pain,  you should to make a new treatment plan.  

Your pain therapy to be re-evaluated or revised if: 

  • You miss work-related activities because of your pain
  • You need two or more pain medications to manage your pain
  • You miss social activities because of your pain
  • Your pain affects your mobility
  • You have trouble sleeping due to your pain
  • You feel hopeless, depressed, irritable, or anxious due to your pain

The Best Time To See Someone Is Now!

The Interventional Pain Specialists (TIPS) offers long-term non-invasive solutions for your chronic lower back pain. We can help you through lower back pain stretches and exercises to manage symptoms and regain mobility. And if your situation requires it, we have more aggressive therapies to resolve chronic pain as well.

At TIPS, we believe that the first step in treating lower back pain is listening. We want to know all about your pain, your needs, and your therapy goals so that we can give you the personalized treatment you need and deserve.

Contact us for further information, or request a referral from your primary care physician for a refer

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The Interventional Pain Specialists - TIPS

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8760 Jane Street, Unit B05B,

Concord, Ontario.  
Canada. L4K 0E8  

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