Language: EN | 中文
Lower Back Pain

Lower Back Pain: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Lower back pain is one of the most common reasons why people seek medical attention, and is also a primary cause of work-related disability. It usually refers to pain or discomfort resulting from injury or illness affecting the muscles, ligaments, bones and joints of the lower back. Regardless of the cause or severity, lower back pain should always be assessed by a medical professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Common Symptoms of Lower Back Pain

  • Continuous lower back pain that doesn’t improve even while resting
  • Persistent pain that lasts for days or weeks
  • Constant nerve pain or numbness in the legs
  • Leg weakness leading to difficulty standing or walking
  • Muscle spasms and tightness

Main Causes of Lower Back Pain

  • Sciatica

  • This refers to pain that is caused by an inflammation or compression in the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back down to the hips, buttocks and legs. It occurs when a part of the sciatic nerve becomes pinched.
  • Slipped disc

  • Also known as a herniated or ruptured disc, this typically occurs along the spine and the lower back. It begins when the jelly-like nucleus of the tissue found between the bones of the spine bulges out or pushes through a weakness in the disc’s outer ring, resulting in pressure in the spinal cord and nerve roots.
  • Spinal stenosis

  • This occurs when the spinal canal or space becomes narrow, placing additional pressure on the spinal cord or nerves, and resulting in pain and numbness.

Other causes of lower back pain include osteoarthritis, resulting from wear and tear of the joints; a deformity that changes the shape and curve of the spinal column; as well as muscle and tendon strains caused by overstretching the back muscles.

What Can Cause Lower Back Pain in a Woman?

While both men and women experience lower back pain, women are found to be more susceptible to chronic back pain. This is especially true for those who are pregnant, post-menopausal or above 50 years old. The most common causes of lower back pain in women are:

  • Menopause, pregnancy and hormonal issues
    • Studies show that menopausal women have a higher chance of developing chronic pain such as lower back pain. Lower back pain in pregnancy also occurs due to hormonal changes that causes the ligaments to relax, resulting in less support for the back (leading to pain).
  • Dysmenorrhea
    • This refers to pain that is felt during menstruation that is caused by uterine contractions. It is typically felt during the first two days of a menstrual period.
  • Endometriosis
    • This occurs when uterine lining forms outside the uterus, usually in the ovaries, fallopian tubes or pelvic lining. Left untreated, it causes severe lower back pain, painful periods and fertility problems.
  • Sacroiliac (SI) joint dysfunction
    • This is pain from the SI joint, which connects the spine and pelvis. Women tend to have smaller SI joints, leading to higher stress in joints.

    Relieving Lower Back Pain at Home

  • Exercise and Stretching
    • When done right, these can help relieve pain and strengthen the muscles.
  • Posture
    • Avoid slouching as improper posture contributes to lower back pain. Good posture helps in the alignment of bones and even distribution of weight in the spine.
  • Diet
    • Having an anti-inflammatory diet (alongside a varied and nutritious diet) could help reduce lower back pain.

    Treatments for Lower Back Pain

    Treatment for lower back pain can range from at-home treatment, medications to surgery, depending on the patient’s diagnosis. Treatment for lower back pain in Singapore includes:


    Anti-inflammatory medications can help relieve inflamed nerves or muscles. If symptoms persist, the doctor may recommend alternative drugs like antiseizure, pain relievers, prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).


    Personalised physiotherapy exercises will help improve strength and mobility, as well as reduce pain.


    Serious cases may require lower back surgery, especially if other treatments are not enough to relieve the pain. Types of lower back pain surgery in Singapore include:

    • Discectomy, which removes the herniated areas of the lumbar disc that cause pressure in nerves.
    • Laminectomy, which removes the lamina to make space for the spinal canal to relieve pressure from the spinal cord and nerves.
    • Spinal fusion, which connects two or more vertebrae to form a single bone and remove painful spinal motion.
    • Foraminotomy, which enlarges the opening of the spine to remove pressure of the nerves from the spinal column.
    Non-surgical treatment

    This includes muscle relaxants, back braces and epidural steroid or nerve root injections.

    Dr Chua Soo Yong specialises in surgical and non-surgical lower back pain treatment in Singapore, and is dedicated to providing effective, compassionate and holistic care to all patients. Call 6262 0555 for more information.

    Dr Chua Soo Yong Consultant Orthopaedic & Spine Surgeon
    MBBS (S’pore), MRCS (Edinburgh), MMed (Ortho), FRCS (Ortho), FAMS (Ortho)

    Dr Chua is an Orthopaedic and Spine Surgeon with over 20 years of experience treating back and neck issues, which are commonly associated with the spine.

    He is particularly passionate about treating conditions of the spine not only because it relieves pain, but because it also has the potential to reverse paralysis to a certain extent, which means a great deal to patients.

    Why Choose Our Spine & Orthopaedic Clinic for Your Back & Neck Problems?
    Atlas Orthopaedic Clinic is committed to providing effective, compassionate and holistic care to all patients.
    We Treat All Causes of Back and Neck Pain We Treat All Causes of Back and Neck Pain
    We Value Your Safety, Trust and Comfort We Value Your Safety, Trust and Comfort
    We are Equipped with Advanced Diagnostic Capabilities We are Equipped with Advanced Diagnostic Capabilities
    We Value Conservative Treatments and Preventive Care We Value Conservative Treatments & Preventive Care
    At Atlas Orthopaedic Clinic, We Will Guide You Through Every Step of the Way
    From Diagnostic Tests to a Wide Range of Treatments & Long-Term Rehabilitation, We Have You Covered.
    Website maintained by Activa Media. All rights reserved.