Lower back pain is quite common. It may be caused by a strain (injury) to the back muscles or tendons. Atherosclerosis, structural issues, and disc trauma are other factors. With rest, physical therapy, and medicine, pain often gets better. By maintaining a healthy weight and remaining active, you may lower your chance of developing low back discomfort.
What exactly is lower back pain?
Many various injuries, illnesses, or ailments may cause low back pain, but most often, a back injury to the muscles or tendons.
From little to severe pain is possible. Pain may sometimes make it difficult or impossible to move, sleep, work, or do other routine tasks.
Lower back discomfort often improves with rest, painkillers, and physical therapy (PT). Injections of cortisone and manual therapies (such as osteopathic or chiropractic manipulation) may help the body recover by reducing pain. Some back disorders and injuries need surgery to treat.
Prevalence of Lower Back Pain
Most individuals have lower back pain at some point in their lives—roughly four out of five people. It is among the top causes for individuals to seek medical attention.
Lower back discomfort is more common in certain persons than others. the following are risk factors for lower back pain:
Age: Back discomfort is more common in those over 30. Disks, the supple, rubbery tissue that supports the spine’s bones, deteriorate over time. Pain and stiffness may develop when the discs deteriorate and lose their strength.
Weight: Back discomfort is more common in those who are overweight, obese, or carry additional weight. Overweight people exert strain on their discs and joints.
Overall health: Back strains and sprains may result from weak abdominal muscles that are unable to support the spine. Back discomfort is more common in those who smoke, consume too much alcohol, or have sedentary lifestyles.
Work and lifestyle: Back injuries are more likely to occur in occupations and hobbies that involve heavy lifting or bending.
Structural issues: Conditions like scoliosis that alter the position of the spine may cause severe back pain.
Disease: Low back pain is more common in those with a family history of osteoarthritis, certain cancers, and other illnesses.
Back pain may be brought on by worry and sadness.
Lower back pain symptoms may start out gradually or unexpectedly. Pain might sometimes develop following a certain action, like bending to pick up something. Sometimes, the source of your discomfort may be a mystery.
Pain might extend to your bottom or down the back of your legs, and it can be either intense or dull and achy (sciatica). You can hear a “pop” if you strain your back while doing anything. Pain often becomes worse when you bend over and gets better when you lay down.
Other lower back pain signs and symptoms include:
- Stiffness: You could find it difficult to move or extend your back. It could take some time for you to get up from a sitting position, and you might need to stretch or go for a stroll to loosen yourself. You can have a reduced range of motion.
- Posture issues: It might be difficult for many back-pain sufferers to stand up straight. Instead of having your torso in line with your spine, you can stand “crooked” or bent, with your shoulders out to the side. Your lower back could seem flat rather than bent.
- Muscle spasms: Lower back muscles that have been strained may violently contract or spasm after the injury. Extreme discomfort and difficulty or impossibility in standing, walking, or moving may be brought on by muscle spasms.
Causes of lower back pain
Lower back pain may be brought on by a variety of accidents, illnesses, and disorders. They consist of:
Strains and sprains: The most frequent reason for back discomfort is a strain or sprain of the back. By lifting anything too heavy or improperly, you run the risk of injuring your muscles, tendons, or ligaments. Sneezing, coughing, twisting, or leaning over may all cause back pain in certain individuals.
Fractures: In an event, such as a vehicle collision or a tumble, the spine’s bones may shatter. Fractures are more likely to occur in people who have certain diseases, such as osteoporosis or spondylolysis.
Problems with discs: Disks protect the vertebrae (small spinal bones). Due to their location in the spine, discs may swell and push on a nerve. They may even rip (herniated disk). Disks may become flatter and less protective as they age (degenerative disc disease).
Structural issues: When the spinal column is too small for the spinal cord, a disease known as spinal stenosis results. Serious sciatic nerve pain and lower back pain might result from anything squeezing the spinal cord. Back curvature, or scoliosis, may cause discomfort, stiffness, and trouble moving.
Osteoarthritis is the form of arthritis that most often results in lower back discomfort. Lower back discomfort, inflammation, and stiffness are symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis.
Disease: Back discomfort may be brought on by infections, cancer, and spinal tumours. Back discomfort might also be caused by other disorders. These include abdominal aortic aneurysms and kidney stones.
Spondylolisthesis: This disorder results in the slippage of the vertebrae in the spine. Low back pain from spondylolisthesis often includes leg discomfort as well.
Tests and diagnosis
How is a lower backache identified?
Your doctor will examine you physically and inquire about your problems. Your healthcare practitioner could request imaging tests to look for fractured bones or other injuries. These investigations make your vertebrae, discs, muscles, ligaments, and tendons visible to your doctor in vivid photographs.
Your provider might direct:
- Spine X-ray, which creates pictures of the bones using radiation.
- MRI takes images of bones, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues using a magnet and radio waves.
- X-rays and a computer are used in a CT scan to produce 3D pictures of the bones and soft tissues.
- Use electromyography (EMG) to test your muscles and nerves and look for neuropathy (nerve damage), which may cause tingling or numbness in your legs.
- Your healthcare professional could also request blood tests or urine tests, depending on the source of your discomfort. Blood testing may find genetic markers for certain back pain-causing disorders (such as ankylosing spondylitis). Kidney stones, which cause flank discomfort, are detected in urine testing (the sides of the low back).
Control and Treatment
With rest, ice, and over-the-counter painkillers, lower back discomfort often gets better. You may gradually resume your regular activities after you’ve rested for a few days. Being active promotes healing by increasing blood flow to the injured region.
Depending on the reason, there are several lower back pain remedies. They consist of:
Prescription medicines or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be suggested by your doctor to treat your pain. Other drugs reduce muscular tension and stop back spasms.
Physical therapy (PT) may help you build stronger muscles that will better support your spine. Additionally, PT increases flexibility and aids in preventing further injuries.
Hands-on treatment: A number of “hands-on” procedures may loosen up tense muscles, lessen discomfort, and enhance posture and alignment. You could need a chiropractic adjustment or an osteopathic manipulation, depending on the source of your discomfort. Back pain alleviation and function may both be helped by massage therapy.
Injections: Your doctor administers medicine by injecting it with a needle into the painful spot. Injections of steroids lessen inflammation and ease pain.
Surgery: Some wounds and illnesses need surgical treatment. Low back pain surgery comes in a variety of forms, many of which use minimally invasive methods.
Can lower back pain be avoided?
Lower back discomfort brought on by illness or structural issues with the spine cannot be avoided. However, back injuries are preventable.
You should: to lessen your chance of suffering a back injury.
Maintain a healthy weight since being overweight causes strain on the discs and vertebrae.
Boost your abdominal strength with Pilates and other training regimens that target the core muscles that protect the spine.
Lift correctly: Use your legs to raise yourself up to prevent injury (not your back). Hold bulky objects snug against your body. When lifting, try to avoid twisting your body.
What is the prognosis for those who suffer from lower back pain?
The prognosis is based on the source of the pain. Most individuals who suffer from back sprains and strains recover without developing long-term health problems. However, a lot of patients have another episode within a year.
Some individuals have persistent back discomfort that doesn’t go away after a few weeks. Age-related degenerative diseases like osteoporosis and arthritis may cause symptoms to worsen over time in older persons. People with a variety of ailments and diseases may live pain-free lives with the aid of surgery and other therapies.
Coping with Lower Back Pain
Rest and painkillers are frequently effective treatments for lower back pain. A more severe issue may be the cause of persistent back discomfort.
You should see your doctor, In the event that you have:
- After about a week of care at home, the pain doesn’t get better.
- Legs or buttocks tingling, numbness, weakness, or discomfort.
- extreme discomfort or muscular spasms that prevent you from doing your routine tasks.
- Fever, loss of weight, bowel or bladder issues, or other idiopathic symptoms.
Millions of individuals have low back discomfort every day. A significant effect on quality of life may be caused by stiffness, discomfort, and restricted mobility. But by keeping a healthy weight and being active, you may be able to prevent lower back discomfort. If your back discomfort persists or prevents you from engaging in your favourite hobbies, see your healthcare professional. Several therapies may reduce discomfort, improve your mobility, and help you enjoy life more.