If you are suffering from lower back pain, you are not alone. In fact, lower back pain is the most common cause of work-related disability in the United States and is one of the most common reasons people miss work.

Chronic lower back pain, which lasts more than three months, can be especially troublesome and hard to treat. Until someone has lived with chronic lower back pain, it’s hard to understand how incredibly painful and disrupting it can be.

How does chronic lower back pain begin? Chronic lower back pain is often caused by damage to the disks that are located in between the vertebrae of the spine in the lumbar region. This damage is most frequently the result of poor body mechanics when walking, sitting, standing, sleeping, reaching, lifting and bending. All too often, people keep the back straight instead of arched during these activities, putting pressure on the lower lumbar discs and resulting in damage.

What are the treatment options for lower back pain? Treatment options depend on what is causing the pain. This can be difficult to determine as there are sometimes numerous sources of lower back pain that overlap. After the cause of the pain has been determined through a physical exam, discussions with the patient and possibly imaging techniques such as X-rays, it is most often for physical therapy to be prescribed. Surgery usually isn’t necessary unless there are other issues in addition to the pain.

What if I have to miss work due to lower back pain? When people can no longer work because of chronic lower back pain they may be able to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance, a benefits program for injured and disabled workers. Alternatively, workers’ compensation benefits may also be an option if the lower back injury was sustained while at work.  A lawyer with experience handling these two types of cases can provide valuable information to workers with chronic lower back pain.

Source: News Medical, “Poor body mechanics cause chronic lower back pain,” Oct. 7, 2014