What Causes Lower Back Pain
Many injuries, conditions and diseases can cause lower back pain. They include:
- Strains and sprains: Back strains and sprains are the most common cause of back pain. You can injure muscles, tendons or ligaments by lifting something too heavy or not lifting safely. Some people strain their back by sneezing, coughing, twisting or bending over.
- Fractures: The bones in the spine can break during an accident, like a car crash or a fall. Certain conditions increase the risk of fractures.
- Disk problems: Disks cushion the vertebrae . Disks can bulge from their position in the spine and press on a nerve. They can also tear . With age, disks can get flatter and offer less protection .
- Structural problems: A condition called spinal stenosis happens when the spinal column is too narrow for the spinal cord. Something pinching the spinal cord can cause severe sciatic nerve pain and lower back pain. Scoliosis can lead to pain, stiffness and difficulty moving.
- Arthritis: Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis to cause lower back pain. Ankylosing spondylitis causes lower back pain, inflammation and stiffness in the spine.
- Disease:Spine tumors, infections and several types of cancer can cause back pain. Other conditions can cause back pain, too. These include kidney stones and abdominal aortic aneurysm.
- Spondylolisthesis: This condition causes the vertebrae in the spine to slip out of place. Spondylolisthesis leads to low back pain and often leg pain as well.
Knee Pain May Be A Symptom Of Sciatica
Common knee symptoms that you may experience when you have sciatica include:
- A warm sensation, sharp pain, or dull ache in the front, side, and/or back of the knee
- Inability to bear weight on the knee
- Buckling/giving out of the knee
- Weakness while extending the knee
When knee pain is a part of your sciatica symptoms, you may also experience pain in your buttock, thigh, calf, and/or foot. The pain will almost always affect one leg at a time, so knee pain in sciatica typically does not affect both knees together.
Read more about Sciatica Symptoms
Sciatica is commonly caused by a medical condition that affects your lower back. These underlying conditions may affect your spinal discs, nerve roots, joints, or soft tissues, such as muscles.
Your Hips Or Quadriceps Feel Weak
Your quads are a group of muscles located at the front of your thigh. The three vastus muscles and rectus femoris make your thighs, one of the most powerful parts of the body, as they allow you to extend your knees and move your hips.
On the other hand, each hip is a ball-and-socket joint responsible for bearing most of your bodys weight. The hips have many ligament attachments for stability and muscular attachments to help control the motion of your leg and knee joints. The rectus femoris muscle crosses over from the quads and connects to the hip so if a problem occurs with the quad muscles, your hips will be affected.
Now, the parts of the human body are connected like a chain. Even if you didnt experience an injury or a major trauma to your hips and quadriceps, you may suddenly feel like youre unable to move them at full strength. This is a condition that may be caused by a spinal problem since the nerves that control the motor functions of the quads are located between the vertebrae of the lumbar spine.
If those nerves become irritated or get pinched by the vertebrae, the movement of your hips and quads will be affected. Weakness in these areas will cause the knee joints to work harder and wear out faster, which explains the knee pain you might be feeling.
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How Can You Prevent Lower Back Pain
While you cant stop aging or change your genetic makeup, lifestyle changes can help manage and prevent lower back pain. Having a healthy lifestyle may make you less likely to suffer an accidental injury, too.
Improve your physical fitness. People who are not physically fit are more likely to develop lower back pain because strong core muscles help support the lower back.
Stay active. People who lead sedentary lives may be more likely to injure themselves when they do exert themselves. As far as back health is concerned, its better to do a smaller amount of physical activity most days of the week than to sit all week and over-exert yourself on the weekends.
Lose weight if necessary. The more you weigh, the more pressure you have on your lumbar vertebrae. Being overweight or obese can put stress on the back and lead to lower back pain.
Lift heavy objects the right way. Be sure to squat while lifting so that your hips and knees do much of the work. Keep the load close to your chest while you lift.
Your legs, not your lower back, should be the main driver when you’re lifting something heavy.Make your workspace as ergonomic as possible. If you sit at a desk, make sure your chair has plenty of low-back support and your hips are at a right angle to the floor.
Dont use tobacco products. In addition to all the other health problems tobacco use causes, it can restrict blood flow and oxygen to the discs, causing them to degenerate faster.
Is Lower Back Pain Linked To Knee Pain
Your body has a unique set of functions, and each part relies on the others to perform at its best. When our body works well, we feel invincible, but when we stop exercising due to injury or illness, our ability to function wholly becomes difficult. This is why lower back problems can cause pain in the knees even if it is not caused by physical injury. The muscles of the knee are driven by nerves emanating from the lower spine, and this causes symptoms commonly known as sciatica, which can include knee pain. The same is true of many interacting body parts, and one of these is that back pain causes knee pain. While the back and knee are not directly connected, there is a very real connection that can explain why the knee hurts when you have back pain.
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When Should I See My Healthcare Provider About Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain usually gets better with rest and pain relievers. Back pain that doesnt go away may be a sign of a more serious condition.
See your provider if you have:
- Pain that doesnt get better after about a week of at-home care.
- Tingling, numbness, weakness or pain in your buttocks or legs.
- Severe pain or muscle spasms that interfere with your normal activities.
- Fever, weight loss, bowel or bladder problems or other unexplained symptoms.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Millions of people live with low back pain. Stiffness, pain and limited movement can have a major impact on quality of life. But you may be able to avoid lower back pain by maintaining a healthy weight and staying active. Talk to your provider if back pain doesnt go away or if youre unable to do the activities you enjoy. Several treatments can relieve pain, help you move better and get more out of life.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/18/2021.
Wear And Tear Of The Knees
The back and knees are true workhorses of our bodies, but its difficult to remain a thoroughbred forever. As time takes its toll, or as we lose core strength, our backs can become achy and sore.
To compensate for a sore back, you may find ways of adjusting your posture or gait to relieve pressure. The problem is, as you take the pressure off your back, you are applying it to the knees and other parts of your body.
An achy back, worn down from years of wear and tear, can throw your gait off-track forcing your knees to absorb the brunt of the work. If this is the case, you can expect knee pain. An orthopedist or musculoskeletal specialist is the best physician to see to help treat this type of pain.
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Does Sciatica Cause Pain Behind The Knee
Sciatica pain radiates along the sciatic nerve, usually from the low back, down the buttocks, into the thigh and leg. One hallmark of classic sciatica is the pain and symptoms are felt below the knee and sometimes into the foot and great toe. Usually, sciatica only affects one side of the lower body.
Tips For Quick Relief For Pain In Back Of Leg Behind Knee
The treatment of pain in the back of your knee is as varying as the diseases that can induce your pain. Although the following simple quickfix tips may help for easing pain with different forms of your back knee pain.
Pain at the back of your knee can often be a sign of a major problem. If you have to experience extreme symptoms or symptom that last for longer, should have your injury examined by a physician. After physician plan of treatment may give the best option to you recover properly & prevent any difficulty.
How Can A Chiropractor Help
A chiropractor is a musculoskeletal specialist who can help you treat both types of pain. They are experts who can help you with back and knee pain and help you with other conditions too, such as arthritis, osteoporosis, or joint inflammation. With tailor-made rehab techniques, a chiropractor can help relieve pain and restore good bodily functions in a short time.
A chiropractor recognizes how painful parts of the body correspond to the spine, and when these muscles are really tense, they pull forward, causing tension in the pelvis. When the meniscus starts to grind away, it takes up the pressure and causes knee pain. When your lower back is really tense, this muscle is pulled forward, creating pressure in your pelvis, which is now being pressed into your knee.
Treatments For Pain Below Knee Cap
During a physical examination, your doctor will discuss your general health and the symptoms you are experiencing. He will ask you when your kneecap pain started and about the severity and nature of the pain . Your doctor will also ask you what activities cause the pain to worsen. To determine the exact location of the pain, your doctor can gently press and pull in front of your knees and knees. He may also ask you to squat, jump, or study during a test to test your knee and your body strength.
Make sure you have support to hold if needed. If these exercises are very simple, be careful to slowly increase the amount of resistance or weight. Weight gain or set number or repetition too quickly can cause or increase your knee pain. There are exercises you can do to strengthen your knee and legs to help prevent or reduce knee pain.
- Knee extension
If you are experiencing pain or are unable to complete this exercise on your own, seek the help of a doctor or physiotherapist who will perform a thorough examination and develop a personalized treatment plan to address your pain and goals. Start by trying to do 1 set , then repeat the exercise with 2 more than 10 sets to achieve a total of 3 sets per exercise. Seek advice from PT on how best to develop these exercises to challenge yourself further.
4. Home care
How can you take care of yourself at home?
5. Improve muscle strength
The Link Between The Sciatic Nerve
The back and knees are the real workhorses of the body, and when time takes its toll, the back can become painful and sore. There are nerves in the back that drive the muscles of the knee, and patients do not usually perceive minor nerve irritation as back or leg pain. Therefore, problems with the nerves in the back can affect the function of these muscles and cause pain in the knees.
When the back hurts, the knee can also hurt, and the most common back pain that causes pain in the knee is associated with the sciatic nerve. It is a long, large nerve that runs through the body, and when it is damaged, it can cause paralyzing pain.
Sciatica is often caused by a condition affecting the lower back, but the underlying disease can also affect other parts of the body, such as the hips, knees, ankles, feet, and legs. In sciatica, knee pain typically does not affect both the knees together, and the pain almost always affects one leg at a time.
While knee pain is a sciatic symptom, pain in the buttocks, thighs, calves, and feet can behave similarly. If you have back pain and feel a shooting sensation coming from your lower back and running down your leg to your knees, then it may be your sciatic nerve that is to blame. A damaged sciatic nerve can cause a tingling sensation that spreads to the back, hip, buttocks, knees, and feet.
Back Pain Caused By Arthritis In The Knee
According to the book “Joint Structure and Function: A Comprehensive Analysis,” arthritis can lead to several symptoms that affect the rest of the body, mostly compensatory in nature 1. Back pain is likely the result of a domino effect from the individual favoring the non-affected knee.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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What Are Other Causes Of Lower Back Pain
Other causes of low back pain include kidney problems, pregnancy, ovary problems, and tumors.
Kidney infections, stones, and traumatic bleeding of the kidney are frequently associated with low back pain. Diagnosis can involve urine analysis, sound-wave tests , or other imaging studies of the abdomen.
Pregnancy commonly leads to low back pain by mechanically stressing the lumbar spine and by the positioning of the baby inside of the abdomen. Additionally, the effects of the female hormone estrogen and the ligament-loosening hormone relaxin may contribute to loosening of the ligaments and structures of the back. Pelvic-tilt exercises and stretches are often recommended for relieving this pain. Women are also recommended to maintain physical conditioning during pregnancy according to their doctors’ advice. Natural labor can also cause low back pain.
When To See Your Doctor
Don’t wait if your knee pain is sudden and intense. Pick up the phone if it won’t go away or gets worse.
To make a diagnosis, your doctor might take X-rays or other images of your knee. Blood or knee fluid samples can help confirm or rule out certain conditions. Treatment may include medication, special exercises, braces, or in some cases surgery. Losing weight could help lessen pressure and strain on your knees.
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How Common Is Lower Back Pain
Around four out of five people have lower back pain at some point in their lives. Its one of the most common reasons people visit healthcare providers.
Some people are more likely to have lower back pain than others. Risk factors for lower back pain include:
- Age: People over 30 have more back pain. Disks wear away with age. As the disks weaken and wear down, pain and stiffness can result.
- Weight: People who are obese or carry extra weight are more likely to have back pain. Excess weight puts pressure on joints and disks.
- Overall health: Weakened abdominal muscles cant support the spine, which can lead to back strains and sprains. People who smoke, drink alcohol excessively or live a sedentary lifestyle have a higher risk of back pain.
- Occupation and lifestyle: Jobs and activities that require heavy lifting or bending can increase the risk of a back injury.
- Structural problems: Severe back pain can result from conditions, such as scoliosis, that change spine alignment.
- Disease: People who have a family history of osteoarthritis, certain types of cancer and other disease have a higher risk of low back pain.
- Mental health: Back pain can result from depression and anxiety.
Why Is Lower Back Pain Such A Common Problem
The bottom part of your back typically has just five vertebrae fewer than your neck and mid-back. And these vertebrae do a lot of heavy lifting! Your lower back is where your spine connects to your pelvis, bearing the weight of your upper body. This area experiences a lot of movement and stress, which may lead to wear, tear and injuries.
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Quick Answer: What Causes Pain Behind Knee And Calf
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Sudden activity and overuse are two leading causes of pain behind the knee due to a calf or hamstring strain or cramp, according to Dr. Tanaka. Movements that require pushing off or severe knee bending cause this calf and hamstring pain, respectively.