Low Back Pain

Lower back is one of the most common health problems experienced by most people, at some point of their lives. People with low back pain may experience difficulty in performing daily routine activities. There are various causes of low back pain.

The most common causes of low back pain include:

  • Injury or overuse of muscles, ligaments and joints
  • Spinal conditions such as a herniated disc or spinal stenosis causing pressure over the nerve roots, in the spinal canal
    • Herniated disc: Also known as slipped disc is a condition in which the central gelatinous part of the disc protrudes through a tear in the outer fibrous layer of the disc, causing a bulge and pressure over the surrounding nerves. The compression of the spinal nerves may cause back pain.
    • Spinal stenosis: It is an abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal, most commonly caused by age related degenerative changes of the spine.
  • Osteoarthritis: Also called degenerative joint disease is the most common type of arthritis, and is more common in older people. Osteoarthritis of the spine can cause back pain. Osteoarthritis of the hips can cause limping and may also lead to back pain.
  • Compression fractures of spinal vertebrae

Other rare causes of back pain include ankylosing spondylitis (a form of arthritis of the spine), bacterial infection, and tumours of the spine.

Surgery is usually suggested by your doctor once conservative measures have failed to relieve pain. In rare cases, such as cauda equina syndrome, where there is a high risk of developing permanent paralysis, or bowel and bladder difficulties, surgery may need to be performed on an emergency basis.

Some lower back surgeries include:

  • Discectomy: The herniated soft interior of an intervertebral disc (spongy discs of tissue that cushion the bones in the spinal cord) is removed to release pressure on a compressed nerve.
  • Laminectomy: Bone and/or thickened tissue narrowing the spinal canal is removed to release pressure on a compressed nerve.
  • Spinal fusion: Spine movement is reduced by fusion of the vertebral segments.
  • Removal of spinal tumours
  • Debridement of the spine: Infected, abnormal or dead tissue is removed.

Many lower back surgeries are performed through minimal invasive techniques to reduce pain and the hospital stay. Recovery after lower back surgery may take 3-12 months. Physical therapy is recommended following surgery to improve flexibility, strengthen the back and stomach muscles, and help you return to your regular activities.

  • Ashford and St Peter’s Hospital


    Ashford and St Peter’s
    NHS Foundation Trust
    Guildford Road, Cherstey,
    Surrey, KY16 0PZ.
    Ph: 01932 722 730
  • The BMI Runnymede Hospital


    The BMI
    Runnymede Hospital
    Guildford Road,
    Ottershaw, CHERTSEY,
    KT16 0RQ.
    Ph: 01932 877800
  • Spire St Anthony’s Hospital


    Spire St Anthony’s
    801 London Road,
    SM3 9DW.
    Ph: 020 8337 6691
  • Nuffield Health Woking Hospital


    Nuffield Health
    Woking Hospital
    Shores Road,
    GU21 4BY.
    Ph: 01483 331257
  • Ramsay Health Ashtead Hospital


    Ramsay Health
    Ashtead Hospital
    The Warren,
    Ashtead, Surrey.
    KT21 2SB.
    Ph: 01372 221400