Lower Back Pain & Water Contamination

reverse osmosis banner vertical

In the United States, lower back pain is one of the most common conditions. It is also one of the most likely reasons for physician visits. One estimate suggests that four out of five adults will experience lower back pain at some point in their lifetime. Lower back pain is most often caused by muscle strain or a specific condition such as a lumbar herniated disc or degenerative disc disease. However, this condition may also be the consequence of certain contaminants found in drinking water that have a negative impact on bone health and density. In particular, some of these contaminants may end up in the spine and cause nerve issues. Long-term consumption of drinking water that is polluted with toxic chemicals like fluoride or arsenic may cause several illnesses, disorders, and diseases. Some of these conditions may include headaches, a weak immune system, and lower back pain.

Even low levels of pollutants, when consumed over a long period of time, can do damage to our bodies. Common contaminants in drinking water that may have a correlation to back pain or lower back pain include:

  • Bromate
  • Chlorite (may affect the nervous system and be related to back pain)
  • Haloacetic acids
  • Total Trihalomethanes
  • Chlorine dioxide
  • Cadmium (kidney damage that may be expressed as back pain)
  • Fluoride (bone damage, pain and tenderness of the bone that may result in back pain)
  • Mercury (kidney damage
  • Lead (kidney damage)
  • Alachlor (kidney damage)
  • 2,4-D (kidney damage)
  • Dalapon (kidney damage)
  • Acrylamide (possible damage to the nervous system that may be expressed as back pain)
  • Xylenes (total) (nervous system)
  • Toluene (nervous system)

If drinking water is suspected as a cause of lower back pain, potential sources of the contamination need to be tested to confirm the levels of contaminants. Local and state health departments are a good first source to tracking down possible sources. Lower back pain may be a result of a kidney infection caused by contaminated drinking water. If this is the suspected cause, testing should be done as soon as possible.

Low back pain is classified as acute or chronic. Acute lower back pain refers to short-term back pain lasting anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Acute lower back pain may become more serious if not treated. Chronic lower back pain generally refers to pain lasting for three months or more.

Reading next