Low back injuries are the most common orthopedic injury secondary to the lifestyle of the typical American and the anatomy of the low back. Americans are prone to low back injuries because they typically do not exercise enough, are largely sedentary, have poor postural habits and use poor body mechanics when lifting. The anatomy of the low back is also part of the reason it is so vulnerable to injury. The lumbar spine has significantly less structural stability than the thoracic spine and sacrum while at the same time having support far more weight than the cervical spine.
Sciatica is a common injury that is caused by impingement of the sciatic nerve or nerve roots in the spine (L4-S3). People with sciatica often experience intense pain down the back of the affected lower extremity as well as numbness and weakness. Risk factors for sciatic injury are obesity, disc herniation, pregnancy, prolonged sitting or a recent increase in activity.