Lower Back Pain
What Is Lower Back Pain?
The back works like a complex machine which includes muscles, discs, nerves and bones. The interconnected structure of the back means pain may radiate from the source to another area, such as across the lower back. Lower back pain is common; however, the symptoms can vary from mild irritation to debilitating pain. The causes of lower back pain are just as varied as the symptoms, ranging from strains to ruptured discs. The only way to relieve lower back pain is to determine the cause and source.
Symptoms of Lower Back Pain
Symptoms vary depending on the cause and source of the pain. Muscle and tendon strains may cause painful back spasms, while pressure on nerves can cause numbness and tingling. In some cases, the pain may travel from the lower back to the legs, causing muscle weakness.
Causes Of Lower Back Pain
There is a wide variety of causes when it comes to lower back pain. Acute back pain may be caused by strains from lifting, twisting or overstretching back muscles and tendons. Deterioration of intervertebral discs, herniated and ruptured discs, and compression or pinching of the sciatic nerve may cause chronic lower back pain. Spinal irregularities, accidents and injuries, and kidney stones may also be the cause of lower back pain.
Who Is At Risk Of Lower Back Pain
Adults between the ages of 30 and 60
Back pain becomes more common with age, especially after age 30. Disc degeneration and muscle strain become more likely between the ages of 30 and 60. Osteoarthritis and compression fractures also increase in likelihood with age. In addition, normal wear and tear on your vertebrae and joints can cause pain.
Changes in weight and the pelvic can lead to lower back pain for pregnant women.Lower back pain may be caused by pressure on nerves as the abdominal muscles are stretched by the expanding uterus. Hormones may also cause joints and ligaments between pelvic bones and spines to loosen, causing pain when walking or sitting for extended periods of time.
People who do not exercise regularly may suffer from weak back muscles. Exercise is not only important in maintaining a strong, healthy back, but it’s also necessary to provide lower back pain relief. Certain workouts and movements stimulate the healing process for lower back pain, and prolonged inactivity may contribute to a stiff and weakened back.
Adults with physically demanding occupations
Jobs that require heavy lifting, pushing or twisting can lead to lower back pain. Strenuous jobs that require a lot of movement, or employees to stand on their feet for long periods of time can have significant impacts on back health. These jobs may cause strain on the lower back resulting in mild discomfort to debilitating pain. However, sedentary desk jobs may cause pain due to poor posture. Sitting for extended periods of time puts pressure on the lower back, causing stress for spinal discs.
Excess weight and rapid weight gain puts more stress on the back, which causes joint and muscle strain. Lack of exercise not only contributes to excess weight, but also plays a role in weak back muscles and pain.
Lower Back Pain Treatment Options
X-rays, Ultrasounds, and MRI and CT scans may be necessary to pinpoint the exact cause of pain in the lower back. Determining the cause and location will affect what treatment is necessary to relieve lower back pain.
Heating pads and cold compresses may be used to treat lower back pain. Depending on the severity of the lower back pain and patient preference, heating pads and cold compresses may be used to reduce inflammation.
Strengthening exercises and physical therapy may help relieve lower back and work out stiff muscles. Active exercises will help reduce pain and rehabilitate the spine.
Acupuncture and injections may be necessary depending on the type and severity of the lower back pain.