Lower back pain is one of the most common health concerns seen in many people, irrespective of age and gender. Lower back pain refers to the pain or discomfort felt in the bottom region of the spine. As this region supports most of the upper body’s weight, people may experience back pain whenever the body is strained.
In time, almost all of us will have to deal with back pain. An intense workout or lifting something heavy is the main source of back pain which we usually notice. However, it is temporary and can be relieved by using pain relief ointments or sprays. But some people may suffer from lower back pain consistently for a longer time, which may disturb their daily activities. Persistent lower back pain can indicate a serious health issue and it should be diagnosed as early as possible to get the right treatment.
Apart from strained muscles, there can be other reasons or health conditions which cause lower back pain. It can be treated effectively only after diagnosing the proper cause. People who suffer from lower back pain frequently should maintain a pain journal. They should note down the activities or situations that trigger the pain and the steps they take to get relief as well. This helps the doctor for better evaluation of the condition and therefore to provide the right treatment.
The most frequent factors which contribute to lower back pain are:
Strained Muscle Tissues or Ligaments: Whenever we improperly lift heavy objects, twist our back, or overstretch, we may harm our ligaments and muscle tissues. While these may seem like minor injuries, they can lead to serious and long-lasting health issues if ignored or not taken proper care.
Spinal Stenosis: Spinal Stenosis is a condition normally seen in adults of age 50 years and older. It refers to an abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal that may occur in any of the regions of the spine. This may cause pain, tingling, or numbness in the legs and arms.
Skeletal Irregularities: The spinal deformities identified at birth can affect the proper distribution of weight and strain the tissues, ligaments, and nerves. Scoliosis and lordosis are the two examples of skeletal irregularities which may cause discomfort in the lower back.
Ruptured Discs: Ruptured disc or herniated disc refers to a condition that occurs when one of the spinal discs develops a crack in its hard outer wall and inner disc material is pushed out into the spinal canal. A ruptured disc cannot properly cushion and stabilize the spine this causes pain and makes it difficult to accomplish even the simpler tasks.
Disc Degeneration: Degenerative disc disease is one of the most common causes of lower back pain. Usually, some discs in the spine deteriorate with age, but this process can happen abnormally quickly in some patients. This leads to experience discomfort in the lower back and increases the risk of spinal problems.
Spinal Infection: Spinal infections are infections that involve inter-vertebral disc space, vertebral bones, the spinal canal, or soft tissues. These infections may occur because of the spread of bacteria, fungi, or other germs to the bone, from infected skin, muscles, and tendons. Sometimes, bacteria or fungal organisms can cause the infection after a spinal procedure or surgery.
Traumatic Injuries: Traumatic injuries to the spine from vehicle accidents or falls may cause severe damage to the vertebrae, ligaments, or discs. In such cases, even if the injuries have healed, the lower back pain may persist.
Radiculopathy: It is a condition that results due to a compressed nerve in the spine. Radiculopathy can occur in any part of the spine, but it is most common in the lower back and can cause numbness, pain, tingling, or weakness.
Sciatica: Sciatica is radiculopathy, in which consistent sharp and burning pain, tingling, or numbness runs down through one or both legs from the lower back. This is caused due to the compressed sciatic nerve, which interrupts the nerve signaling.
Tumours: Tumours and other health conditions which can affect the spine and surrounding tissues, ligaments, and nerves. This affects the ideal functioning of the lower back and causes pain.
Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis causes bones to become weak and brittle that causes fractures in cases of even mild stress or falls. The fractures due to osteoporosis are most common in the hip, wrist, or spine.
Arthritis: It is a disorder that affects joints. People having arthritis may feel irritation in the vertebrae, which can cause pain in the lower back.
Fibromyalgia: It is a syndrome that affects the muscles and soft tissue. Fibromyalgia involves general muscle pain and fatigue, which can cause discomfort in the lower back.
Kidney Stones: People with kidney stones may experience sharp pain in the lower back, particularly on one side.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm: Aorta is the large blood vessel in our body that supplies blood to the abdomen, pelvis, and legs. An abdominal aortic aneurysm is a condition that refers to an enlarged area in the lower part of the aorta. This condition can cause pain in the lower back.
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Frequently Asked Questions:
Consult your doctor if your lower back pain continues after 1 to 2 weeks. Although your pain is unlikely to be a sign of a medical emergency, a doctor can make an accurate diagnosis and recommend a treatment option.
One of the best things we can do for chronic lower back pain is to go for a walk. Lower back pain can be relieved by walking for 10 - 15 minutes twice a day. If you prefer, replace this activity with many types of exercise.
To quicken the healing process, you should:
Make sure your back is in good condition. Regular exercise and stretch your back muscles.
Apply heat or ice pack to your back.
Take pain relievers or other medications, if your doctor recommends.
Physical therapy can help you gain strength.
If you are overweight, you should lose weight.
The exercises and stretches that are best for lower back pain: