Lower Back Pain: Symptoms and Treatment
Lower Back Pain :
Lower back pain is a common issue that is seen occurring in so many people around us. A lot of times, people ignore it after a while; it transforms into a significant setback. The reason why lower back pain becomes a severe problem is due to the ignore at an early stage. Any pain in your body that is not treated at the right time will cause a specific problem after a while. There are three types of back pain – acute pain, chronic pain, and neuropathic pain. Here are a few facts that you should know about lower back pain –
The functioning of the low back includes structural support, movement of the body, and protection of specific body tissues.
The pain in the lower back can be an outcome of the affected areas like – bony lumbar spine, intervertebral discs, ligaments around the spine, or so.
Treatment of back pain may differ as per the condition of the person. If the pain is not that acute, the use of home remedies will be enough to manage the situation.
Symptoms of Lower Back Pain :
Low back pain might be acute and may cause a lot of pain. These types of conditions may become chronic if not treated at the right time. Management of pain with the help of a medication or other methods will limit the symptoms, and the problem will not get severe. Identifying the signs of back pain and finding out the underlying cause of the pain will help in treating the root cause of the issue.
The common symptoms of lower back pain –
Aching and dull pain – The pain remains in the lower back and is often termed as axial pain. This kind of pain is slow and causes aches rather than the burning and stingy feeling. In addition to the lower back pain, it will be accompanied by muscle spasms.
Pain occurring through the buttocks, legs, and feet – These kinds of pain includes feeling that is sharp, stinging, and tingling. Its sensation can be numb and moves through the thighs, legs, and feet. This condition in medical terms is known as sciatica.
Pain that occurs due to sitting for long – When you sit for long in the same position, it creates pressure on the disc leading to lower back pain. It may be worse for people who keep on sitting in the same place for a prolonged period. Exercising and walking on a regular basis can alleviate the problem of back pain.
Pain that occurs when you change your position – People may also face an issue when they sit for long in the same place. Some people are comfortable in their position while others feel relaxed sitting in the same. At first, it may not be an issue, but later it will create problems that may require proper treatment.
Symptoms of lower back pain that need immediate attention –
When a person keeps on ignoring the pain occurring in the lower back, it will get severe with time. Sometimes, there can also be an underlying medical condition related to this type of pain.
For symptoms as such, a person needs to take medical help –
Uncontrolled bowel movements
Loss of bladder
Fever and chills
Pain in the abdomen
In addition to this, a person may also experience pain symptoms after a personal incident or trauma. Severe or acute pain in the lower back will inevitably interfere with your daily activities. Thus, you must take measures to avoid any such major problem.
Diagnosis of Lower Back Pain :
A professional health expert must examine any severe or acute pain in your body. A doctor will test a person’s ability to sit, walk, stand, or lift his/her legs. After this, you will be asked about the severity of pain, and it is bearable or not. This will be the necessary information that your doctor requires to study your system’s internal functioning.
You will be diagnosed for the condition after going through the following tests –
MRI or CT scans – These scans will generate images that will help in identifying if there is a problem in discs, bones, muscles, ligaments, tissue, blood vessels, or nerves.
X-ray – It will show the alignment of bone in your body and identify if there is anything broken in there or not. However, these images alone will not help in case of a problem with the spinal cord, nerves, or muscles.
Blood test – It will determine if there is an infection or any other condition that may be the reason to cause pain.
Nerve studies – It is done through the EMG (Electromyography), which measures the electrical impulses.
Treatment of Lower Back Pain :
In most of the cases, any condition of back pain can be treated with the help of home remedies. It is not necessary that every person feels the same complexity of pain that the other person may face. In some cases, the extremity of pain will go away within a few days, but it may return within a few days. For such periodical pain, you need to take guidance from a health advisor.
To overcome the issue of lower back pain, a doctor will prescribe for some exercises along with medications. The severity of pain will determine the amount of drug you’ll be taking in a day. A doctor may also provide you with over-the-counter medicines for pain relief.
While you on the regular intake of the drug, remember that you cannot take it for a prolonged period. Your health expert will provide with the right dosage of the drug and also limit the time for which you’ll be taking medicine. There are a variety of medications available for the treatment of pain. However, it is a must that you seek advice from your doctor before starting with any pain-relief medicines.
Facts about Lower Back Pain
- The low back or lumbar area has the functions of structural movement and support and protection of specific body tissues.
- Lumber pain or lower back pain can be a result of conditions that affect the bony lumbar spine, ligaments around spines and discs, intervertebral spines, internal organs of abdomen and pelvis, ligaments or spinal cords and nerves, skin covering lumbar area, and muscles of the low back.
- Doctors optimally direct the treatment of low back pain towards a diagnosed or suspected specific cause.
- Home remedies can be useful for the initial treatment of acute back pain from the lumbar strain.
Anatomy of the low back
To understand the causes of lower back pain, it is essential to know the traditional design of the tissues of this area. Important structures of the low back can be relatable to the symptoms in this region, including the bony lumbar spine, ligaments around discs and spine, nerves, and spinal cord, discs between the vertebra, low back muscles, internal organs of the abdomen and pelvis, and the skin covering that area.
The bony lumbar spine has such a design that vertebra stacked together can provide a movable support structure and protect the spinal cord from injury. The spinal cord composes of nervous tissues that extend from the brain to the spinal column. Each vertebra has a different spinous process, a bony behind the spinal cord, which provides a shield for the cord’s nervous tissues from impact trauma. Vertebra also has a robust vertebral body in the front section of the spinal cord to provide a suitable platform for the weight-bearing of all tissues above the buttocks. The lumbar vertebra stack is immediately at the top of the sacrum bone situated between the buttocks. On each side of it, the iliac bone of the pelvis meets the sacrum to form sacroiliac joints of the buttocks.
The present discs pads are acting as cushions between the individual bodies of the vertebral column. They help in minimizing the impact of stress forces on the spinal column. Each disc has a design of a jelly donut having a softer central component called nucleus pulposus and a firm outer surrounding ring called annulus fibrosus. The central disc portion is capable of rupturing through the outer ring that irritates adjacent nervous tissues and sciatica. Ligaments are the soft, strong fibrous tissues firmly attaching bones to bones. Ligaments attach every vertebra to each other and surround each disc.
The nerves are providing sensation and stimulation to the muscles of the low back as well as legs, thighs, feet, and toes, all exit the lumbar spinal column through the foramen, bony portals.
Many muscle groups responsible for extending, flexing, and rotating the waist and moving lower extremities such as thighs, feet, and toes, attach to the lumbar spine by tendon insertions.
The blood vessels and aorta that transports blood to and from the lower body extremities pass in front of the lumbar spine in the pelvis and abdomen. Lymph nodes surrounding these blood vessels and involuntary nervous system tissues are important in maintaining bowel and bladder control.
The ovaries and uterus are important pelvic structures in front pelvic areas of women. The prostate gland is essential for men. The kidneys are in the front of the lumbar spine, on the wither side of the back of the lower abdomen.
The nerves that come from nerve roots serve the skin over the lumbar spine area.
The function of Low Back
The lumbar area serves several important functions for the body. These include structural support and movement, and protection of certain body tissues.
When we stand, the lumbar is functioning to support the weight of our upper body. When we extend, bend, or rotate our waist, the lower back gets involved in the movement. Therefore, injury in the structures necessary for weight-bearing such as muscle, the bony spine, ligaments, and tendons are detectable when the body is standing erect or is in various movements.
A critical function of the lumbar spine and its adjacent muscle of the low back is to protect the soft tissues of the nervous system and spinal cord and the nearby organs of the abdomen and pelvis.
Common causes of Lower Back Pain
Common causes of lumbar backache or low back pain include strain, lumbar radiculopathy, nerve irritation, bony encroachments, and other conditions of joints and bones.
- Acute or chronic lumbar strain
Lumbar strain is a stretch injury to tendons, ligaments, or muscle of the low back. The incident that leads to stretching results in microscopic tears in these tissues. Lumbar strain is one of the most common causes of low back pain. The strain can occur because of improper use, overuse, or trauma. Injury of the soft tissues is an acute lumbar strain that lasts for several days or weeks. If a lumbar strain lasts for more than three months, it is a chronic one.
A lumbar strain occurs to people in their 40s, but it can happen at any age. The condition causes discomfort in the low back area after an event that mechanically stressed lumbar tissues.
- Nerve irritation
The lumbar spine nerves can get irritated by mechanical pressure by bone or other tissues, or from diseases. They can get irritated anywhere from their roots at the spinal cord to the surface of the skin. These conditions include bony encroachment, radiculopathy, and inflammation of nerves by a viral infection.
- Lumbar radiculopathy
Lumbar radiculopathy is the nerve irritation caused by damage to the discs between the vertebrae. Damage to the discs takes place because of the degeneration of the outer discs ring, traumatic injury, or sometimes both. As a result, the softer central portion of the disc ruptures through the outer ring. This rupture is sciatica pain that shoots from low back to buttock and down the leg.
The pain increases with waist movements and sneezing or coughing. It typically affects only one side of the body, either the left side or right side, and not both. Treatment of lumbar radiculopathy includes medical management such as patient education, medications for pain relief, cortisone injections, physical therapy, rest, and surgery.
- Bony encroachment
Any condition resulting in movement or growth of the lumbar spine vertebrae limits the encroachment for the adjacent spinal cord and nerves. Bony encroachment causes include narrowing of the foraminal, spondylolisthesis, and spinal stenosis. Treatment of bony encroachment varies depending upon its severity. It ranges from exercise and rests to epidural cortisone injections and surgical decompression through the removal of bone that is compressing the nervous tissues.
- Bone and joint conditions
Joint or bone conditions leading to low back pain include those due to congenital disabilities, those resulting from degeneration or injury, and those due to inflammation of joints.