Lower back pain- symptoms, causes, diagnosis & treatment

lower back pain

What Is Lower Back Pain?

The lower back, also called the lumbar region, is the area of the back that starts below the ribcage. Nearly everyone has lower back pain at some point in life. Fortunately, it frequently gets better on its own. When it doesn’t, your doctor may help with several effective treatments.

Symptoms of Lower Back Pain

Symptoms of lower back pain might range from a dull pang to a sharp shooting sensation. The pain can make it difficult to move or stand straight. Pain that comes on suddenly is “acute.” It might be during sports or heavy lifting. Pain that lasts more than three months is considered “chronic”. You should consult a doctor if your pain isn’t better within 72 hours.

See a healthcare professional for back pain after a fall or injury. The same goes for back pain, bladder control problems, leg problems, fever, or pain when coughing or peeing.

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Lower back pain has a lot of implicit causes and may affect a variety of symptoms.

Some of the most common symptoms include

  • Pain when resting or sitting for prolonged time
  • Pain when lifting heavy commodity  
  • Pain when bending down and picking up things
  • Pain radiating from the glutes and hips
  • Stiffness after a period of inactivity or when first waking up

There are other severe symptoms. They include

  • Pain in the legs, as well as in the back
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Fever
  • Lack of bowel control

Consult a doctor if you witness severe symptoms or your back pain lasts longer than 72 hours.  

Lower back pain causes

Several factors cause lower back pain, including certain chronic conditions.

Muscle sprains or strains

The muscles and ligaments in the back can stretch or tear due to exertion. Unexpected movements can also cause sprains and strains in the muscles.

Herniated disc

The discs in the back are prone to injury, and this threat rises while ageing.

There is a high chance that the discs can tear from the outside.

A herniated disc is also known as a slipped or ruptured disc. It occurs when the cartilage girding a portion push against the spinal cord.  

Spinal stenosis

Spinal stenosis causes the spaces in your chin to constrict, putting pressure on the spinal cord.

Spinal stenosis is generally associated with the degeneration of the discs between the chines. The result is a contraction of the nerves or spinal cord by spurs or soft tissues, similar to discs.

Pressure on the spine causes symptoms similar as

  • Numbness
  • Cramping and  
  • Weakness

One might feel these symptoms anywhere in the body. Numerous people with spinal stenosis notice their symptoms worsen when they stand or walk.

Unusual curvatures

Conditions that cause unusual crooks in the body include

  • Scoliosis
  • Lordosis
  • Kyphosis

These conditions are frequently present at birth and are generally first diagnosed during birth.

The unusual curve can cause pain and poor posture because it places pressure on the

  • Muscles
  • Tendons
  • Ligaments

Still, some people may not have any symptoms.

Other conditions

Several other conditions can bring about lower back pain. New symptoms generally accompany them.

They include the following conditions.

  • Arthritis– inflammation of the joints.
  • Fibromyalgia – long-term pain and tenderheartedness in the joints, muscles and tendons.
  • Spondylitis -an autoimmune complaint that causes inflammation. It’s a type of arthritis.
  • Spondylosis is also a type of arthritis. This degenerative complaint may cause the loss of standard spinal structure and function.  

Other health conditions that can cause lower back pain include

  • bladder problems, including other infections
  • gestation
  • endometriosis
  • ovarian excrescencies
  • uterine fibroids
  • spinal cord misalignment
  • spinal infections
  • cancer.

Diagnosing lower back pain

A doctor will begin by asking for a complete medical history and conducting a thorough physical test to determine where you’re feeling the pain. The physical examination can also reveal whether the pain affects your range of motion.

In addition, a doctor may check your rotation and responses to certain sensations. This helps them determine if your lower back pain is affecting your body.

Some of the diagnosis methods include,

Imaging tests

You may undergo imaging tests so a healthcare provider can check for

  • Bone problems
  • Disc problems
  • Problems with the tendons and ligaments in your back.

Imaging tests include

Other tests

A doctor may order a bone checkup or bone viscosity test if they suspect the bones in your back is weak.

Electromyography (EMG) or conduction tests can help a doctor identify any problems with your back.

Lower back pain treatment

Lower back pain can be treated with therapy, medications and home remedies.

Home remedies

Home remedies to consider include

  • Heat treatment
  • Cold therapy
  • The RICE protocol (rest, ice, contraction and elevation)
  • Pain killers, similar as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) or acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • A warm bath can usually relax stiff and interlaced back muscles.
  • Occasionally lying on your back causes further discomfort. However, try lying on your side with your knees and place a pillow between your legs, if this is the case.

Even if you can lie comfortably on your back, place a pillow or rolled-up kerchief beneath your shanks to reduce the pressure on the lower back.

Medical treatment

Possible medical treatments include

  • Medical appliances
  • Physical remedy
  • Muscle relaxers
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs)
  • Corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation
  • Anaesthetics, which are prescribed for severe pain and are also used to help treat chronic pain related to cancer.

Physical remedies may include the following.

  • Massages
  • Stretchings
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Back or spinal treatment.

Surgery

For severe cases, surgery may be necessary.

Surgery is generally only an option when all other treatments fail. Still, you may suffer exigency surgery if you witness a loss of bowel control, bladder control or progressive neurological loss.

Types of surgery for lower reverse pain include

  • Discectomy  
  • Foraminotomy  
  • Nucleoplasty
  • Radiofrequency lesioning or ablation
  • Spinal laminectomy.

Stretches and exercises for lower back pain

When you’re trying to treat back pain, these four stretches are a great addition to your daily routine.  

Consulting a doctor before adding new stretches or exercises to your daily routine is advised.

Knee- to- casket stretch

The knee-to-casket stretch relaxes the lower back, hips, glutes and shanks.

Procedure

  • Begin by lying upside down with both legs flat on the ground.
  • Bend your right leg and pull your knee into your body. Keep your left leg extended.
  • Outstretch your chin as you hold your knee in. Avoid lifting your hips.
  • Hold for a few seconds or as long as it feels comfortable.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Child’s pose

Known as one of the most stimulating acts in yoga, the Child’s pose stretches the paraspinal muscles, glutes and shanks.

Procedure

  • With your knees on the ground, rest your hips on your heels gently.
  • Extend your arms in front as far as possible as you depend on the hips, sinking your hips deeper into your heels.
  • Extend your arms alongside your body, as far as possible.
  • Hold for one second or as long as it feels comfortable.

Thread the Needle

Add a twist to your stretching routine with Thread the Needle, a yoga pose that targets the chin, pelvis and hips.

Procedure

  • Begin with the knees and hands on the ground in a tabletop position. Your back should be completely flat.
  • Lift your right arm toward the sky.
  • Bring your right arm down and fit it between the opening between the left shoulder and the body.
  • Extend the right arm out as far as possible to the other side. Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Superman pose

Try superman pose if you’re looking for a more rigorous move.

Procedure

  • Lay down with your tummy and your arms extended out in front.
  • Lift your arms and legs at the same time.
  • Hold your arms and legs in the air for 30 seconds before dropping. However, hold the pose for a shorter period, if 30 seconds feels uncomfortable.
  • When performing these moves, go slowly when possible and move with care. However, stop and take a rest day if you feel any pain.

To sum up

The lower back, also called the lumbar region, is the area of the back that starts below the ribcage. The pain might range from a dull pang to a sharp shooting sensation. The pain can make it difficult to move or stand straight.  

A doctor will begin by asking for a complete medical history and conducting a thorough physical test to determine where you’re feeling the pain. The physical examination can also reveal whether the pain affects your range of motion.

After diagnosis, they may prescribe medications, surgeries or stretching exercises depending on the severity of the back pain.

FAQs

What are the three causes of lower back pain?  

Muscle strain, ruptured or bulging disc and an underlying health condition is the three most common causes of lower back pain.

How can I relieve my back pain naturally?  

OTC medications, home remedies, stretches, exercises and pain relief creams can help relieve lower back pain.

What causes lower back pain in females?  

Lower back pain among women is common and can result from a strain on muscles in the back. Other possible causes include health conditions like arthritis, structural problems and disc injuries.


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The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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