Lower Back Pain

Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Remedies

Lower Back Pain Treatment Remedies


The contents of this app are provided for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. The information provided should not be considered as a substitute for the advice of a medical doctor or other healthcare professional.

What is Lower Back Pain?

Other than just accidents and sports injuries, the simplest movements such as rising up from a squatting position or picking up something from the floor may cause back pain.

Trigger factors for lower back pain include psychological stress, arthritis, obesity, and poor posture.

Lower back pain is sparked off by conditions that affect vertebral discs, lumbar spine, spinal cord and nerves, ligaments surrounding the spine or discs, skin around the lumbar area, lower back muscles, or the internal organs of the abdomen and the pelvis.

Lower back pain is also known as lumbar back pain.

Diseases that affect internal organs-for example, kidney infections, kidney stones, bone loss, or blood clots can directly result in back pain or complicate back pain.

Lower back pain is a prominent cause of disability cases the world over.

Persons with psychological issues (depression and anxiety) have a higher risk of lower back pain than those with no psychological issues.

Patients with lower back pain experience varying levels of pain severity, ranging from mild discomfort to severe pain.

Severity of the pain depends on the extent of your strain and the muscle spasms down the lower back.

Generally, lower back pain heals on its own with the aid of anti-inflammatory medications, heat application, or some lower back exercises.

Persons over the age of 60 years are more likely to experience this condition due to joint degeneration in the spine.

Lower Back Pain Symptoms

Sitting worsens lower back pains.

Activities such as walking and running may be less painful than sitting or standing.

Frequent changing of positions helps relieve pain.

Persons diagnosed with lower back pain also reported localized tenderness in the affected areas of the spine especially when pressed.

Extended activity aggravates the intermittent pain felt in the lower back.

Sometimes, persons with lower back pains experience loss of flexibility (stiffness in the back) which complicates bending at the waist.

In some cases, the steady pain associated with lower back pains interrupts the patient’s sleep.

A person diagnosed with lower back pains may also lose his or her height.

Height loss may be as a result of deformity or disability associated with lower back pains.

If symptoms occur after an accident or due to a sports injury, acute pain may be felt by the patient.

Pain that is persistent (lasting more than 3 months) is categorized as chronic pain.

If your pain stays on for more than 72 hours, you should immediately consult your doctor.

Some symptoms for lower back pain require urgent medical care.

After a fall or some injury, one should seek immediate check-up by a health professional.

Other signs of lower back pains include fever, leg weakness, pain during coughing or urination, and loss of bladder control.

Lower Back Pain Causes

Lumbar spinal stenosis refers to the constricting of the spinal canal, a condition which compresses nerves running through your lower back to the legs.

With increasing pressure on the nerves, the nerves are inflamed leading to pain that radiates into thighs or legs just like in the case of sciatica.

Osteoarthritise is a type of arthritis that affects people in their middle or old age.

Osteoarthritis affects the spine (a condition known as spondylosis) resulting in the loss of one’s normal spinal structure or its functionality altogether. This disorder can also affect the spine’s horacic, cervical, and lumbar regions.

Spondylosis therefore leads to bone spurs, disc degeneration, and pinched a nerve which consequently narrows nerve root canals resulting in lower back pains.

Apart from osteoarthritis, other common conditions linked to lower back pain include muscle or ligament strain, bulging or slipped discs, arthritis, and skeletal irregularities.

Muscle or ligament strain occurs when one engages in recurrent heavy lifting tasks which have a high potential of straining spinal ligaments and back muscles.

A good example of skeletal irregularity is an abnormal spine curve.

Scoliosis is a condition where the spine curves towards the sides. This abnormal curving may lead to lower back pains.

Lower Back Pain Diagnosis

Diagnostic tests for lower back pain are not very common because of the obvious severe back pain reported by patients.

If you see your doctor for lower back pain, he will carry out a physical exam to assess your comfort and ability to stand, sit, walk, or move your legs.

During diagnosis, your reflexes may also be tested using a rubber reflex hammer.

With these assessments, your doctor can determine the source of your pain, the extent of the pain, and if you are also experiencing muscle spasms.

The sources of lower back pain include large nerve roots, degenerating intervertebral discs, damaged joints, ligaments, or ligaments.

The doctor may also rule out other serious conditions suspected to be the cause of your lower back pain during diagnosis.

If the doctor suspects any other condition as the cause of your lower back pain, he may order a number of tests.

The doctor may ask for X-ray tests, MRI, or CT scans.

X-ray images show your bone alignment and help the doctor to rule out cases of broken bones or arthritis.

It is however important to note that X-ray images will not directly reveal issues regarding your muscles, nerves, spinal cord, or disks.

Computerized tomography (CT) scans or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) help in revealing bone problems as well as herniated disks.

In some cases, your doctor may perform a bone scan to rule out cases of compression fractures or to look out for bone tumours.

Nerve studies may also be performed to take measurement of electric impulses registered by the nerves and your muscle responses.

Nerve studies make it possible to confirm cases of nerve compression triggered by herniated disks or spinal stenosis.

A diagnosis for lower back pain typically classifies the patient’s condition which considers the pain reported by the patient.

Lower Back Pain Treatment

Treatment for patients diagnosed with lower back pain relies on the patient's medical history, the type of pain and severity of pain.

Rest should not be prolonged. Extending the rest period recommended by your doctor may weaken your muscles rendering them inadequate to support the spine.

Two days of bed rest can worsen your pain and reduce your flexibility or muscle tone.

Doctors also warn that patients who fail to exercise on a regular basis stand a higher risk of experiencing recurrent lower back pain.

Regular exercises should be encouraged for patients diagnosed with lower back pain to help them build strength and flexibility.

Warm baths or heating pads can be used as short-term pain relievers.

In some cases, over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are also prescribed for patients diagnosed with lower back pain. A majority of these medications help deaden the effects of inflammation, the primary reason for pain.

It is however important to note that each medication has its own fair share of risks and side effects.

Studies have also shown that persons with lower back pain who took part in 12 good weeks of yoga reported fewer signs and symptoms of the condition.

Conventional stretching is believed to produce good results as well.

Osteopathic doctors and chiropractors employ the use of spinal manipulation as a treatment option for lower back pain.

Doctors use their hands to apply pressure to bones and the other surrounding tissues. This treatment may not be appropriate to all persons.

Massage therapies are also used to treat patients with lower back pains. This helps to relieve chronic lower back pain.

According to some study, patients who undertook weekly massages reported less pain and positive improvement after just 10 weeks.

Those who opted for traditional care did not register similar improvements.

Doctors may also recommend acupuncture as a treatment option for lower back pain.

If massage therapies and other medications fail to produce the required results, your doctor may also recommend injections to your back. One such procedure is the nerve root block which targets irritated nerves.

Lower Back Pain Prevention

A number of tips have been suggested to prevent lower back pain.

Maintaining your back as strong as possible and keeping it supple is the best way to prevent lower back pains.

Doctors suggest the need to maintain a good diet as well as healthy weight.

Remaining active is also considered as one of the ways of reducing the risk of lower back pain.

Prolonged inactivity or extended bed rest should be avoided.

Before engaging in physical activities such as gardening, doctors suggest the need to stretch or warm up.

High-heeled shows should also be avoided; instead, doctors recommend low-heeled or flat shows.

To protect your spine or minimize cases of curving, sleep on a medium-density mattress.

Studies have also shown that smoking deprives spinal tissues of oxygen and other essential nutrients given its ability to impair blood flow.

Inorder to reduce the risk of lower back pain, quit smoking and other substance abuse.

There is also need to make sure that your computer workstation favours a good sitting posture that minimizes injury to the spine.

Proper lifting should be practiced to avoid injuring your spine.

Persons with recurrent lower back pain are encouraged to lose weight, to handle their stress, and to wear low-heeled (flat) shoes with soles that are cushioned.

Simple exercises that you may take part in to prevent lower back pain include wall slides, leg raises, and bottom lifts.

Lower Back Pain Statistics & Facts

In the UK alone, 49 percent of the adult population report lower back pain which lasts for at least 24 hours.

In the U.S. alone, 31 million people are expected to have lower back pain at any one given time.

Studies have also shown that 4 out of 5 adults experience lower back pain at some point in their life.

It is also estimated that up to 80 percent of the population in industrialised countries will be affected by lower back pain at some point in life.

Cases of lower back pain increases with increasing age.

Back pain is the most prominent cause of disability for adults aged 45 years and below.

Up to about 50 billion dollars are spent annually on cases of lower back pain.

About 30-40 percent of cases of absenteeism are as a result of lower back pain.

About 25 percent of the U.S. adults have complained of lower back pain which lasted for at least 24 hours.

About 50 percent of the working population in the U.S., report lower back pain symptoms every year.

An estimated 2 percent of the U.S. working population receive compensation for back injuries every year.

Lower Back Pain Treatment Remedies plus

The contents of this app are provided for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. The information provided should not be considered as a substitute for the advice of a medical doctor or other healthcare professional.

What is Lower Back Pain?

The back is a complex anatomical structure of bones, joints, ligaments and muscles. It is the posterior part of your body running from the neck to the end of the spine.

The lower back starts at the ribcage (the lumbar region).

The lumbar area or the lower back serves the body with a number of functions including movement, protection of body tissues, as well as offering structural support.

The fundamental structures in the lower back that may help identify signs and symptoms of the lower back pain are the lumbar area, bony lumbar spine, vertebral discs, internal organs of the abdomen and the pelvis, lower back muscles, spinal cord and nerves.

You can wrench or sprain your ligaments, strain your muscles, irritate your joints, or rupture disks, which may result in lower back pain.

Lower Back Pain Symptoms

The disease symptoms of the lower back pain include muscle aches, shooting pain, restricted flexibility, and difficulty standing up straight. These symptoms are characterized by episodes of muscle spasms (severe pain) that may last up to a few months.

It is important to note that lower back pain itself is a sign and symptom of some underlying problem or injury.

Persons diagnosed with lower back pain complain of chronic pain that ranges from nagging to severe levels.

One major symptom of lower back pain is pain that is felt in the patient’s lower back. The pain manifests as stiffness, soreness, or tension.

The pain may develop suddenly-for example, after picking up a heavy object, or gradually as a consequence of long years of bad posture.

Lower Back Pain Causes

The common causes of lower back pain are herniated discs, lumbar spinal stenosis, and osteoarthritis.

A herniated disk (also known as slipped, bulged or ruptured disc) refers to a disc nucleus fragment ejected out of the annulus, and into the spine via some tear (rupture) in the annulus.

This disc displacement often leads to lower back pain when pressed on the spinal nerves. The displacement could be as a result of injury or excessive strain.

As people age, disc material tend to degenerate naturally as the ligaments holding the discs slowly weaken.

Other known causes for lower back pains include old age, heredity factors, being overweight, joint injuries, nerve injuries, and minimal exercises.

Lower Back Pain Treatment

Most cases of lower back pain respond to treatment within 6 weeks of initiating the treatment plan.

The treatment plan must include exercises aimed at relieving lower back pains.

In most of the cases, clinicians also recommend the importance of resting. Staying away from activity for sometime allows the nerve roots and the injured tissue time to heal relieving the patient of lower back pain.

The doctor may also recommend surgical procedures to treat persons diagnosed with lower back pain in situations where the pain worsens or persists.

Doctors also suggest the use of both heat and ice to relieve lower back pain. The two may also be used alternately to reduce inflammation which triggers pain.

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