The section of the spine that relates to lower left back pain is the lumbar spine – five vertebrae just above the pelvis. A disc of cartilage separates each vertebrae, and allows movement of the spine such as bending and twisting. These so called “intervertebral discs” are fluid filled and can be thought of a bit like sponges.
The spinal column runs the entire length of the spine through each vertebrae. The vertebrae protects the spinal column as it sends signals from the brain to the entire body. The lumbar vertebrae are also connected to muscles and ligaments that provide support and allow various movements.
One of the most common reasons for lower left back pain is poor posture, which is also known as muscle imbalance. If poor posture is also coupled with obesity, then this puts even more pressure on the lumbar area and can exasperate problems in the lower back.
If muscle imbalances are not addressed, then over several years the intervertebral discs can become distorted. Thinning of the discs is one sign of excess wear and tear, which can lead to decreased and painful mobility. This pain is caused because the disc loses much of it’s cushioning properties when it thins and it’s elasticity is lost.
Another consequence of long term muscle imbalance is a herniated disc. When a disc is overloaded on one side, it will bulge out and this is called a herniated. In severe cases the disc may puncture – which is known as a ruptured disc. These problems are normally the result of many years of muscle imbalance and the associated poor posture.
One of the tell-tale signs of muscle imbalance is a strained muscle. This is a warning shot that something is wrong, and can lead to much worse problems if the root cause is not addressed. While ice-packs and stretches can help with the pain in the short term, in the long term it is important to assess your whether you have poor posture or excess muscle tension.
Treating and preventing lower left back pain involves some effort on behalf of the sufferer, but the benefits are so worthwhile compared to the misery of living with back pain.
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