The lower back or differently known as the lumbar section is below the rib cage. It (lumbar spine) is in fact a well-engineered structure of interconnecting bones, joints, nerves, ligaments, and muscles, all working together to offer support, strength, and suppleness. This complex structure leaves the low back vulnerable to injury and pain, resulting in Lower Back Pain.
As a matter of fact, nearly everyone has experienced intense back pain at some in their life. In fact, it is one of the biggest reasons why many people miss their jobs in many of the developed nations. Luckily, in the majority of cases, lower back pain gets better after some time automatically, with a massage or with some exercises. Yet again, if you are still experiencing pain after a long time and after trying a lot of methods, it’s time for you to meet a Chiropractor and osteopathic physician.
The Lumbar Spine- What Can Go Wrong?
The lower back supports the upper body’s weight and offers mobility for basic motions like bending and twisting. The low back muscles are responsible for rotating and flexing the hips while walking. As well they offer support to the spinal column. Other than that, the nerves in the low back section offer a sense of feel as well as the power to the muscles of the pelvis region, legs, and feet.
In the majority of cases, the reason for acute low back pain can be the injury of the muscles, ligaments, or joints, or discs. Your body responds against the injury by activating an inflammatory healing reaction. Even as the inflammation process seems to be minor, it can be severely painful.
Back Pain Cause No 1: Your Job
It can be a condition where your job profile demands you a lot of labor. Your tasks involve lifting heavy items, pulling or dragging heavy big-size equipment. Whatever your tasks are, you are compelled to do activities that make your spine twist a lot. These activities may add to give you back pain. Yet again, sitting in front of a computer or on a desk, for a very long time every day has its risks as well in particular when the chair is uncomfortable.
Back Pain Cause No 2: Your Bag
Even though you carry your purse, your backpack, or a briefcase over your shoulder, it’s your lower back section that offers support to your upper body and to the weight you carry. As a result, an overstuffed bag can damage the lower back, particularly when you have to carry it every day and for great distances. However, if you have no option and have to carry a heavy load per day, think about switching to something with wheels like a wheeled briefcase or bag.
Back Pain Cause No. 3: Your Workout
Overdoing workouts at home or the gym is one of the primary reasons for overextended muscles leading to low back pain. You’re particularly exposed to risks if you stay inactive throughout the working week and then you expend hours at the gym on the weekend. Your muscles cannot take the stress on a single day and if you prefer doing your exercises on days you are free, you are going to regret that.
Back Pain Cause No 4: Your Posture
Our elders always have told us to sit straight, walk straight. Particularly our Moms used to say “Sit straight, walk straight!” She is right! Your back supports your weight best when you are not slouching. Again, unsupported posture exerts needless loads on your spine and forces it to disperse inaccurately, making the tissues in your lower back weak. As an outcome, the complicated network of muscles, discs, and joints in your back gets to be pressed beyond their bearable limit, initiating the pain.
What Makes The Problem Analysis Trickier?
There is a considerably large overlapping of nerve supply to several of the discs, muscles, ligaments, and spinal structures. As a result, the brain finds it difficult to accurately identify the reason for the pain. For instance, a degenerated or torn lumbar disc has the same symptoms and response as a pulled muscle. In both cases, there is inflammation and throbbing muscle spasm in the same area. While muscles and ligaments heal quickly, a torn disc might or might not. The time duration of the pain helps find out the reason for the pain.
My Lower back hurts- What kind of Problem I am dealing with?
Unclear Low Back Pain:
This is often the most common in back pain as most of the cases are unclear. Roughly about 90% or even more cases of sudden-onset (acute) lower back pain display no clear symptoms. This is a type of back problem that the majority of people have suffered once or twice in their life. The reason for the pain is generally unclear. In short, you might find the diagnosis of the problem to be difficult. The severity of the pain can vary from calm to severe.
The vertebrae are cushioned by gel-like disks that mass to create your spine. These gel-like disks are liable to suffer from wear and tear because of aging or injuries. A Herniated Disk is a problem where one of these rubbery gel-like disks/cushions that sits in the middle of two independent vertebrae may rupture or bulge, exerting pressure on the spinal nerve roots. The problem can be responsible for intense pain in the affected region. In the majority of cases, the problem occurs in the lower back region, though in some cases the problem can also arise in the neck.
Nerve Root Pain – Sciatica
Sciatica or Nerve root pain is a type of nerve problem that is diagnosed in nearly 1 to 2 cases of acute low back pain in people. The Nerve root pain indicates that a nerve emerging out from the spinal cord is irritated or is pressed on. In this situation, you may experience great pain along the complete course of the nerve. There is a sensation of pain down a leg, sometimes reaching up to the calf region or foot.
Most of the time, muscle strain or back pain is some kind of heavy lifting or wrong method of exercising. However, sometimes it’s because of the small jelly-filled disks designed to protect the space between the vertebrae. When one of these disks swell up or breaks, it can exert pressure on a nerve. In the case of the sciatic nerve, the pain dashes from the buttock area down to one leg.
Cauda-Equina Syndrome – Uncommon, Needs Immediate Assistance
It is a kind of nerve root problem that has severe outcomes and thus requires urgent medical assistance. This is a kind of rare disorder of nerve where the nerves at the bottom of the spinal cord get pressurized. The syndrome can be the cause of pain in the lower back region as well as problems with the smooth functioning of the bowel and bladder. On the whole, it turns to be the reason for the inability to urinate, numbness in the lumbar spine area (nearby to the anus area), and weakness in the hind limbs.
Low Back Pain- Less Common Causes
While considerably less common, low back pain may also be caused by:
Also termed osteomyelitis, a spinal infection is a rare problem however can be the reason for severe pain in the low back region. A Spinal Infection can be life-threatening if ignored and left untreated. An infection in the spine can be caused due to surgical procedures or injections.
It can also be caused due to a bacterial or a fungal infection in some part of the body that on the other hand gets carried to the spine through the bloodstream. Patients having a weak and compromised immune system are more vulnerable to developing an infection in the spine.
Most of the spinal tumors start in some other part of the body which then spreads to the spine. The most common type of tumors that spread to the spine arises from cancer in the breast, prostate, kidney, thyroid, or lung. The symptoms of lower back pain in a patient with an unknown diagnosis of cancer should be assessed for probable spinal metastasis.
Back pain is a possible symptom associated with autoimmune conditions, such as ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia, and others.
Ankylosing Spondylitis is a special form of arthritis that is generally found in young adults. It can be the reason for pain and rigidity in the lower back area. Rheumatoid arthritis may hurt the spine though other joints are affected as well.
At times, soreness in the joints of the spine (arthritis) can be the cause of pain in the low back area. Arthritis or in the general form Osteoarthritis is typically found in older people.
Lower Back Pain: Dull To Piercing Sensation
The sensation of the back pain might range from slight or dull to piercing or extreme. In some cases, the pain can be so excessive that it can even make it hard for an individual to even stand up straight or move.
You might get affected by the problem while playing sports or while doing some heavy lifting. The feeling of pain that stays on for more than 3 months is considered dangerous or “chronic.” You should consult your doctor just in case the pain keeps on for more than 72 hours. However, it’s normal you take some meds to treat the pain for some time.
Low Back Pain Symptoms Requiring Urgent Solution:
You need to immediately see your health care professional in case you have recently suffered a fall or injury, thus experiencing lower back pain. The answer remains similar if you have back pain because of bowel or bladder control problems, fever, pain when coughing or peeing, or weakness in your legs.
Are you at Risk?
A great number of people experience back pain, mostly when they’re in their 30s. The chances of sudden painful attacks increase with the increase in age. Other common reasons due to which you might experience low back pain are:
- Obesity or Overweight problem
- Being deskbound or physically inactive
- While doing Heavy lifting on the job for many hours per day
Home Care for Low Back Pain
Back pain caused due to muscle strain usually wears off & gets better soon, on its own. However, if you want to make yourself more at ease, you can take certain steps too. You can use a heating pad or take warm baths as these things may offer you temporary pain relief.
Also, you ought to rest your back. However, it doesn’t mean you have to take bed rest for weeks. Resting for weeks might appear to be a sensible option, however, it’s the worst thing you can do.
Experts suggest that you need to rest your back for approx. 48 hours after the injury or once you notice significant pain for the first time. Soon after, you need to increase your activity level slowly-slowly. Getting up and moving after intense pain drops, eases back pain and stiffness.
Then again, if you are experiencing intense-sharp back pain along with any of the following symptoms, you need to visit your doctor at once:
- Pain caused due to an injury
- So fierce that you experience trouble moving around throughout the daytime or during sleep at night-time.
- Goes down to your leg and travels below the knee
- Experience numbness in your leg, foot, groin area, or the rectal area
- Pin with vomiting, fever, abdominal pain, weakness, or excessive sweating
- In case, you have lost bladder or bowel control
- Sudden, unexplained loss in weight
- If you have a history of taking steroid meds, IV drugs or doing substance abuse
EASE YOUR BACK ON YOUR OWN
If you don’t have any of those symptoms or related history, you can opt for some of these options to ease your back pain on your own, without the help of a doctor.
- Keep Moving, doing simple activities.
- Stretch and Strengthen- To strengthen muscles, particularly in your abdominal core, that support your back.
- Maintain A Good Posture
- Maintain a Healthy Weight
- Quit the Habit of Smoking
- Try Ice and Heat on the affected area.
- Recognize Your OTC Medications.
- Add in some Supplements- Best to obtain the needed vitamins and minerals from foods.
Complete Bed Rest- The Debate
While your back hurts, you possibly will not be getting off the bed. However, in case of muscle strain, doctors advocate returning to your usual everyday activities in minimal time. Studies tell us that more than a day or two of bed rest can in fact make the pain worse by weakening the muscles surrounding the spine.
Methods of Treatment:
Spinal Manipulation Treatment:
Chiropractors and osteopathic doctors may well try to generate a movement in the joints of your spine to treat lower back pain. They insert pressure to the bones and bordering tissues, using their hands. Still, the treatment method is not suitable for every person. That’s why you need to inform your health care professional of any other symptoms you are experiencing or if you are dealing with some other health issues.
Healing Through Massage Therapy
A Good Massage may help you ease the unrelenting low back pain, mostly when pooled with exercising and stretching. Patients who go for all the three methods stated previously were able to move around effortlessly and in the least time.
In case, your back pain lasted for more than 3 months, you can go for Yoga. There’s a lot of evidence in Yoga for back pain as it can offer great relief, plus stop additional damage. It can help you ease your trouble or even offer you a complete solution.
It encourages regular movement and loosens any rigidity in the area resulting in the reduction in pain. A good number of the exercises focus on strengthening the abdominal and pelvic muscles that help in correcting the posture.
Besides, when you do yoga exercises regularly, you don’t have to depend on medications as these solutions for back pain might have side effects.
According to one study, people who took more than 10-12 weeks of yoga lessons experienced less back pain in comparison to those people who read about back pain. Although, you need to ensure expert instructions as you don’t want to hurt yourself.
Does the Acupuncture technique work fine in the treatment of Back Pain? The evidence is mixed-up for people with short-term back pain. Researches indicate that patients suffering from short-term back pain problem got benefited from Sham Acupuncture rather than from Real Acupuncture. Though, in other studies, people affected with chronic or long-lasting backpain did show improvement after getting acupuncture treatments.
If the back pain has made you inactive for a very long-time, you can enlist yourself for a rehabilitation program that can help you strengthen your muscles and return to your everyday activities. Here, a Physical Therapist guides you through methods like stretches, strength exercises, and low-impact cardio. These therapies can help you get fir and return to normal, without straining the back.
Preventing Waist or Low Back Pain
There’s no exact solution to avoid the back pain as it appears with the increase in age. However, you can include a number of steps in your habits to reduce the risks:
- Follow a healthy diet plan.
- keep up a Healthy Weight
- The habit of exercising on a regular basis.
- Lift the weight with your legs, not using your back.
Strengthening the Back Region:
Strength Training can help you strengthen your lower back. In Flexion Exercises, you bend or lean forward to stretch and make stronger the muscles of the back and hips. In Extension Exercises, you lean backward to grow the muscles that support the spine. If you are already suffering from back pain, have a talk with your doctor or the physical therapist and ask them about the exercises that are safe for you.