Lower back pain is a common problem that affects many people, especially men.
Moreover, the World Health Organisation reports that about 60–70% of adults experience low back pain at some point.
Lower back pain can range from mild to severe, interfering with daily activities, work, and quality of life.
But what are the reasons for lower back pain in men? Here are some of the possible causes and risk factors:
Muscle Strain or Spasm
One of the most common reasons for lower back pain in men is muscle strain or spasms.
This can happen when overstretching, tearing, or injuring the lower back muscles due to:
Lifting heavy objects
Making sudden movements
A muscle strain or spasm can cause inflammation, swelling, and pain in the affected area.
The pain can be sharp, dull, or throbbing and may radiate to the buttocks or legs.
A muscle strain or spasm usually heals within a few weeks with rest, ice, heat, anti-inflammatory medications, and gentle stretching exercises.
Another possible reason for lower back pain in men is a herniated disc.
This is a condition where the soft, gel-like material inside the spinal disc bulges out or ruptures through a tear in the disc's outer layer.
The disc is a cushion between the vertebrae, the bones that make up the spine.
The disc herniates can compress or irritate the nearby nerves, causing pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness in the lower back, buttocks, or legs.
Age, normal wear and tear, trauma, or genetic factors can all result in a herniated disc.
Conservative measures such as rest, medication, physical therapy, or injections can treat herniated discs.
In some cases, surgery may be needed to remove the herniated disc material and relieve the pressure on the nerves.
Degenerative Disc Disease
Degenerative disc disease is another reason for lower back pain in men.
This is a condition in which their height, flexibility, and hydration are lost over time by the spinal discs due to ageing, injury, or disease.
As the discs degenerate, they can cause instability, inflammation, and pain in the spine.
Degenerative disc disease can also lead to other spinal problems, such as spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, or osteoarthritis.
Medication, exercise, lifestyle changes, or surgery can manage degenerative disc disease.
Spinal stenosis is when the spinal canal, which contains the spinal cord and nerves, narrows due to bone spurs, thickened ligaments, or disc herniation.
This can cause compression or pinching of the spinal cord or nerves, resulting in pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness in the lower back, buttocks, or legs.
Aging, arthritis, injuries, or congenital factors can all contribute to spinal stenosis.
Doctors can treat spinal stenosis with medication, physical therapy, injections, or surgery.
Spondylolisthesis is a condition where one vertebra slips forward or backwards over the one below it, causing misalignment and instability of the spine.
This can cause pain, stiffness, or nerve compression in the lower back, buttocks, or legs.
Spondylolisthesis can be caused by trauma, degeneration, infection, tumours, or congenital factors.
Medication, braces, physical therapy, or surgery can treat spondylolisthesis.
Osteoarthritis is arthritis that affects the joints, especially the spine.
The breakdown of the cartilage, the smooth tissue that covers the ends of the bones and allows them to glide smoothly, characterises it.
As the cartilage wears away, the bones rub against each other, causing pain, inflammation, and stiffness in the lower back.
Osteoarthritis can also cause bone spurs, narrowing the spinal canal and compressing the nerves.
Age, injury, obesity, or genetic factors can all contribute to osteoarthritis.
osteoarthritis can be treated with medication, exercise, weight loss, or surgery
Other Causes For Lower Back Pain in Men
There are some other causes of lower back pain in less common men, but they are still important to consider. These include:
Kidney stones or infection: These can cause pain in the lower back, flank, or groin, along with fever, chills, nausea, or blood in the urine.
Prostate problems: These can cause pain in the lower back, pelvis, or genitals, along with urinary symptoms such as difficulty, frequency, urgency, or burning.
Ankylosing spondylitis: This is a type of inflammatory arthritis that affects the spine and sacroiliac joints, causing pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility in the lower back.
Spinal infection: This is a rare but serious condition where the spine is infected by bacteria, fungi, or viruses, causing pain, fever, chills, weight loss, or neurological problems.
Spinal tumour: This is a rare but serious condition where a benign or malignant growth develops in or near the spine, causing pain, weakness, numbness, or paralysis.
Lower back pain in men can have various causes, ranging from muscle strain to a spinal tumour.
It is important to consult a doctor if the pain is severe, persistent, or accompanied by other symptoms, such as fever, weight loss, or neurological problems.
The treatment of lower back pain in men depends on the cause, severity, and impact of the pain. It may include medication, physical therapy, injections, or surgery.
Preventing lower back pain in men may include maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, avoiding smoking, lifting properly, and using ergonomic furniture.
Written by: Khushi Bhatia
Edited by: Aniket Joshi