So many people are told that the cause of their back pain is structural due to a positive finding on an MRI like a herniated disc, stenosis or pinched nerve. This leads to treatment such as epidural nerve blocks, pain medication and ultimately surgery. The worst part of this situation is that there is a simple test you can do to confirm or refute the diagnosis.
I have found that in the vast majority of cases of lower back pain, the cause is muscular, not structural. The typical reason for lower back pain is a muscle imbalance between the quads and the hamstrings. The quads are the front thigh muscles and work much more than the hamstrings, posterior thigh muscles, because most activity such as walking, climbing stairs or sitting up and down is performed in front of us. This means the quads are the primary muscle group to perform the activities. As a result of this situation, a muscle imbalance may ensue creating severe shortening of the quads.
Since the quads attach to the pelvis at the front, the shortening of the quads can cause the front of the pelvis to be pulled down while the back of the pelvis is forced to rise. Since the lower back muscles attach from the bottom of the rib cage to the top of the pelvis, this altered position of the pelvis due to the shortened quads will cause the lower back muscles to shorten. It will appear as if there is an increased arching in the lower back.
Since the lower back muscles lose their ability to create force and perform their functional responsibility of supporting the torso when shortened, they strain. In straining they emit pain at the lower back region.
To confirm this is the cause of your lower back pain, simply stretch the quads. Stand holding onto a firm object with one hand and then grab the ankle of one leg and start to pull it back toward the buttocks. In performing this movement try to first get the knee behind the hip joint when looking at the leg from the side before you start to pull the foot back toward the buttocks. Some people might feel a quad stretch simply by trying to grab the ankle with their hand. This would indicate that the quads are very tight. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds. Do it twice on both sides. Then stand, walk and bend forward and see if the lower back pain has decreased.
If so, you just proved that the cause of your pain is muscular and that by simply stretching the quads and strengthening the glutes and hamstrings, you can resolve your lower back pain. No medications, injections or surgeries are necessary.