What is Musculoskeletal Lower Back Pain?

Musculoskeletal lower back pain

Musculoskeletal lower back pain is a common condition affecting the muscles and bones of the lower back. About 40 percent of the population will have this condition at some point in their life.

It can develop suddenly or progressively over many weeks or months. Accidents, fractures, surgery, heavy work, intensive sports, and medical conditions (such as arthritis and osteoarthritis) are common causes of lower back pain. Back pain, back stiffness, and back muscle spasms are typical symptoms. Treatment depends upon the cause of the pain.


The muscles of the back are almost constantly in use, and because of this, tend to get injured often. Common causes of back muscle injury are heavy lifting and moments of abnormal movements.

In most cases, pain is not related to a severe condition and is due to sprained ligaments or muscles. Persistent, ongoing pain may be due to a slipped disc or spinal joint problems.

Obesity, stress, and jobs that involve frequent bending and heavy lifting are all factors that increase the risk of developing lower back pain.

If you think you may be suffering from lower back pain find out with our free symptom checker

What are the symptoms of lower back pain?

The most typical symptom is:

  • pain over the lower back
  • occasionally the buttocks

The pain can be sharp, dull, aching, or with tingling or burning sensations. Pain can differ from person to person and also may involve radiating pain to the hip or even further down. Certain movements may make the pain better or worse. The muscles of the back may become stiff or hard.


The diagnosis is usually based on the symptoms and physical examination, which includes observing the movement of the back and legs. X-rays of the lower back are usually not needed unless the pain becomes long-standing or some symptoms could be caused by more serious conditions.

How do you treat musculoskeletal back pain?

The treatment of lower back pain involves pain relief and gentle movements of the back. Simple pain-relief, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen are often helpful in reducing back pain.

People with back pain should continue their daily activities and do gentle exercise, such as walking, as soon as possible. Resting the back for a long period may make symptoms worse and make the person susceptible to recurrent back pain.


Correct lifting techniques, regular exercise, stretching before sport, and maintaining a healthy weight can all help to prevent episodes of lower back pain.

Other names for musculoskeletal lower back pain

  • mechanical low back pain
  • soreness of the lumbosacral region

**Q: What is Musculoskeletal ⁢Lower Back Pain?**

**A:** Musculoskeletal‌ lower back pain (mLBP) refers to pain ⁣originating from structures ‍within the lower back. These ‌structures include muscles,⁤ ligaments, tendons, bones, and nerves. mLBP is a common problem, with‌ a high percentage of the ⁢population experiencing it⁤ at some point⁣ in their lives.

**Q: What are the Causes ⁤of Musculoskeletal Lower Back Pain?**

**A:**‌ Common causes of mLBP include:

* **Muscle strains:** Overexertion or improper lifting⁣ techniques can ‌cause muscle tears and ‍spasms.

* **Ligament⁤ sprains:** Trauma or repetitive motions can stretch or tear ligaments connecting vertebrae.

* **Facet joint dysfunction:** Joints between vertebrae can become inflamed ​or irritated, leading ‌to pain.

* **Sacroiliac⁣ joint pain:** The joint connecting the lower⁣ spine to the pelvis may become⁤ inflamed.

*⁢ **Degenerative disc disease:** Discs between vertebrae ⁣can become worn and lose their cushioning ​ability.

*⁤ **Nerve root compression:** Bulging or herniated discs can press ‍on ⁢nerves, causing pain, numbness, ⁢or⁣ weakness.

**Q: What are the Symptoms of Musculoskeletal Lower Back Pain?**

**A:** mLBP can vary in severity and presentation.​ Symptoms may ⁣include:

* ⁣Dull, ‌aching pain in the lower back

* Sharp, ⁢shooting‍ pain down one leg (sciatica)

* Stiffness and limited ⁤range of ⁣motion

* Pain that worsens with certain movements or positions

* Numbness or weakness in⁣ the legs or feet

* ‍Muscle spasms

**Q: How is Musculoskeletal Lower Back Pain Diagnosed?**

**A:** Diagnosis involves:

* **Medical history and‌ physical examination:**⁢ Your doctor ⁤will ‌ask about your symptoms, lifestyle, and medical history. They​ will also perform a physical exam ‍to identify areas of tenderness, muscle spasms, and ‌range of motion limitations.

* **X-rays or CT‌ scans:** These imaging ‍tests help visualize the bones and discs to detect any structural abnormalities.

* **MRI scans:** These tests use magnetic resonance imaging to create‌ detailed images⁢ of soft tissues, including discs ⁤and nerves.

*‍ **Nerve conduction studies:** Electrical tests that evaluate nerve ⁤function ⁤and identify potential nerve root compression.

**Q: What are the Treatment Options ‌for Musculoskeletal Lower Back Pain?**

**A:** Treatment focuses on reducing pain, improving‍ function, ⁤and⁢ preventing ⁣future episodes. Options‌ include:

* **Conservative therapies:**

*​ Rest and ‌activity modification

* Physical therapy

* Medications (e.g., nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants)

* Injections ‍(e.g., steroid injections, ‍epidural injections)

* **Surgery:** Surgery‌ may be necessary to address underlying structural‍ issues, such as a herniated disc or spinal⁣ stenosis.

**Q: How can I Prevent Musculoskeletal Lower Back Pain?**

**A:** ⁢Preventive ​measures include:

* Maintaining good posture

* Strengthening core‍ muscles through exercise

* Using⁢ proper lifting​ techniques

* Managing body weight to reduce⁢ strain on the lower back

* Practicing ‍regular stretching ⁣and⁢ flexibility exercises


  1. Musculoskeletal lower back pain refers to pain in the lower back that is caused by problems with the muscles, bones, ligaments, or nerves in the area.

  2. Musculoskeletal lower back pain refers to pain in the lower back that is caused by problems with the muscles, bones, ligaments, or nerves in the area.

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