Almost every woman will experience lower back pain at some point in her life. It occurs most often between the ages of 30 and 50 and is the number one reason adults under age 45 miss work. If you experience pain of the lower back, you may think you have to live with it, but treatment can help get you back to normal.

Causes vary

Women's back pain is often caused by gynecological conditions such as endometriosis, menstrual cramps, fibroid tumors or pregnancy. The top sports-related activities that cause back pain for women are running, tennis and weight lifting. Women also attribute back pain to household tasks such as cleaning, gardening or childcare.

Most lower back pain stems from a strain or sprain. These injuries occur when the ligaments or muscles of the back, which become less flexible as we age or become more sedentary, are overworked. Other causes are due to normal wear and tear on the body or disk problems. Women are also at high risk for loss of bone strength due to osteoporosis.

While you cannot completely avoid the aging process, you can reduce its effect on your back by getting regular exercise, lifting and moving objects correctly, avoiding smoking, eating well and maintaining a proper weight.

Treatment and relief

Most cases of lower back pain are not serious and your doctor can usually diagnose and treat it in the office. He or she may first prescribe muscle relaxants and a brief period of rest, followed by light activity, which can aid recovery and healing.

If pain does not respond to treatment, you may need imaging tests such as an X-ray to determine if the cause of your pain is due to arthritis or another bone disease. Other diagnostic tests are used to determine if your pain is caused by a problem with soft tissue. Your doctor may also suggest physical rehabilitation to increase flexibility and muscle strength.

In most cases, surgery is not needed. Some cases that may require surgery include disk problems or severe arthritis. Many who are suffering from lower back pain assume that there is no cure and wait too long to see a doctor. If your back is aching, please don't wait.

To find a doctor, call Riverside Community Hospital at (951) 788-3463, and you'll be back on track before you know it.