Mechanical low back pain may be defined as pain secondary to overuse of a normal anatomic structure (muscle strain) or pain secondary to injury or deformity of an anatomic structure. Mechanical low back pain is usually aggravated by static loading of the spine (prolonged sitting or standing), long levered activities (e.g. cleaning with a broom) or levered postures (bending forward). It is eased when the spine is balanced by multidirectional forces (e.g., walking) or when the spine is unloaded (e.g. Lying down). Mechanical conditions of the spine including back strain, disc herniation, disc disease, osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis account for up to 98% of cases of back pain. The onset of acute low back pain most often is the result of mechanical damage due to excessive and prolonged poor posture and mechanics, a sedentary lifestyle and inadequate conditioning. Seemingly trivial stress such as bending over, sneezing or coughing can produce a herniated disk when superimposed on chronic wear and tear. People in a sedentary occupation have a high risk of herniating a disk.
At some point during our adult lives, most people experience bouts of back pain. Acute pain can develop into Chronic Pain for a number of reasons. Once these reasons have been determined through a medical evaluation, treatment can focus on reducing back pain and improving mood and function.
Mechanical low back pain refers to back pain that arises intrinsically from the spine, intervertebral disks, or surrounding soft tissues. This includes lumbosacral muscle strain, disk herniation, lumbar spondylosis, spondylolisthesis, spondylolysis, vertebral compression fractures, and acute or chronic traumatic injury.1 Repetitive trauma and overuse are common causes of chronic mechanical low back pain, which is often secondary to workplace injury. Most patients who experience activity-limiting low back pain go on to have recurrent episodes. The history and physical examination, with appropriate use of imaging, can point toward a specific etiology. However, the complexity and biomechanics of the spine make it difficult to identify a specific anatomic lesion. Most people experience pain primarily in the lower back. The pain may spread (radiate) to the buttocks, thighs or knees. Many people may also experience spasms with mechanical back pain. The symptoms of low/mechanical back pain are generally more noticeable with flexion of the back and when lifting heavy objects. Back pain is usually more severe than leg pain.