To help figure out why you're having back pain, it's useful to think of back pain as arising from any of three different types of origin – Mechanical, nerve root, or fracture or pathology.
Let's take a closer look at the first two types, since they're most commonly treated by chiropractors.
By making the right diagnosis your doctor can focus on treatments that could give you the best results.
Mechanical lower back pain seems to be the most common type. This type includes pain which arises from strains, sprains, facet syndrome and sacroiliac syndrome, and other causes, too.
The important difference between mechanical pain and nerve-root pain is the fact that with mechanical pain there isn't any pinched nerve.
For that reason, mechanical pain usually doesn't radiate. Or, if it does radiate it almost never extends below the knee, and it typically doesn't cause any weakness in that leg.
Mechanical-source lower back pain and nerve-related pain can both arise when you do “too much,” or if you stay cramped in an awkward position for a long time.
Or, this type of back pain can arise if you bend and twist too much, or over-lift weight.
Usually, if you think about it later, you'll remember an event or repetitious activity that triggered the pain.
Perhaps you felt something “pop” while overextending yourself, or maybe you were engaging in a repetitive motion over a long period of time.
Nerve root pain is somewhat less common, yet it's usually more severe. The pain arising from a pinched nerve is generally sharp and persistent, and it may radiate down the leg, even to the foot.
Low back pain caused by a nerve-root problem may cause tingling, numbness and also muscle weakness.
The site of the muscle weakness is dependent on which nerve is being pinched.
For example, since there are seven nerves serving the leg, it may be possible to determine which specific nerve is being pinched, by noting which muscles are affected.
Fracture or pathology can also cause low back pain. A fracture is something that you'll almost certainly recognize when it happens, but unseen pathology from internal disease processes can also cause lower back pain.
That's why you should seek professional help for any sort of low back pain. After a thorough assessment and diagnosis, you can receive the appropriate treatment to address the source of the pain.
In most cases, an experienced chiropractor can help you feel better.