What Are Some Common Lower Back Pain Causes
The causes of lower back pain are sometimes viewed as being mechanical, organic or idiopathic. Sometimes spinal conditions are congenital or acquired meaning the disorder develops later in life.
- Mechanical lower back pain is often triggered by spinal movement and involves spinal structures, such as the facet joints, intervertebral discs, vertebral bodies , ligaments, muscles or soft tissues.
- Organic lower back pain is attributed to disease, such as spinal cancer.
- Idiopathic refers to an unknown cause.
These are some of the things your doctor might look for or rule out when you schedule a visit for back pain.
The common symptoms of lower back pain.
Sprains and strains. Ligament sprains and muscle or tendon strains are the most common causes of lower back pain. Theyre often related to overuse.
Degenerative disc disease. While the name sounds worrisome, it just means you have a damaged disc causing pain. Over time, discs become thinner and flatter due to wear and tear. That leaves them less able to cushion the vertebrae and more likely to tear .
Herniated disc. The protective covering on intervertebral discs can tear over time. When this happens, the soft inner disc tissue may push through the outer layer. A disc that bulges or slips out of place is known as a herniated disc, bulging disc, or slipped disc. The herniation may press on nerve roots, leading to symptoms such as pain, tingling, numbness or weakness in the area that the nerve serves
What Is The Treatment For Lumbar Disc Herniation
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There are a few different options for treating a lumbar disc herniation. One is to do nothing and let the body heal itself, which can take several weeks. Another option is to see a doctor and get a cortisone shot, which can help reduce inflammation and pain. Finally, surgery can be an option for more severe cases.
One of the primary goals of each patientâs treatment is to alleviate pain and other symptoms caused by a herniation. If you are considering surgery, you should begin with conservative care . In addition to a few extremely rare conditions, an immediate surgical intervention is sometimes required. Conservative treatments for cervical and lumbar herniations typically last four to six weeks. It is not uncommon for the combination of treatments to be tested and evaluated. When patients experience severe pain and a significant loss of function, they may be candidates for surgery.
If surgery is required to treat a herniated disc, your neurologist will assess the severity of the condition and make a recommendation as to whether or not a discectomy or microdiscectomy is required. If surgery isnât an option for you, chiropractic care may be an option.
Avoiding Spinal Flexion Before Noon
Avoiding flexion before noon can help take the stress off the lower back at the time it is most vulnerable and help to decrease chronic lower back pain.
Researchers studied a group of people who were instructed to avoid spinal flexion for the first four hours of the day over the course of 6 months and they followed up with them again approximately 18 months later.
The results showed a significant reduction in pain intensity and number of days in pain and these results were still maintained by the subjects after 18 months.
All this was achieved by simply avoiding spinal flexion for the first 4 hours of the day.
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How To Get That Back Pain To Finally Go Away
So what does this mean for the treatment of low back pain? Our philosophy is that complex low back and pelvic floor patients need at least an hour of hands-on physical therapy with a pelvic PT who can address both the internal and external aspects of the issue.
However, it can be difficult to find this kind of hands-on treatment philosophy in todays medical world. Some patients do well when working with both a skilled orthopedic and pelvic floor physical therapist concurrently, treating both components of the problem at once. A massage therapist can also be a valuable tool in conjunction with a traditional, internal-only pelvic floor physical therapist. The massage can focus on the glutes, low back, and hamstrings while the pelvic PT resolves internal trigger points.
For sustained relief of lower back pain, often both the pelvic floor and lower back must be looked at together.Not finding a qualified professional in your area or need to create an action plan so you can improve? Schedule a remote consultation with the experts at PelvicSanity today!
Dr. Nicole Cozean is the founder of PelvicSanity Physical Therapy in Orange County, CA. PelvicSanity treats patients from all over the world with remote consultations and the Immersive Out of Town Program. She also runs Pelvic PT Rising, training other pelvic PTs to better serve patients.
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- 35 Surprising Causes of Pain Trying to understand pain when there is no obvious explanation.
- Dont Worry About Lifting Technique The importance of lift with your legs, not your back to prevent back pain has been exaggerated.
- Chronic Low Back Pain Is Not So Chronic The prognosis for chronic low back pain is better than most people realize especially for Australians in Australia!
- Spinal Subluxation Can your spine be out of alignment? Chiropractics big idea has been misleading patients for more than a century.
- Back Pain & Trigger Points A quick introduction to the role of trigger points in back pain
And the big one
- The Complete Guide to Low Back Pain Everything on one mighty page: an extremely detailed guide to the myths, controversies, the nature of the beast and the highlight dozens of detailed, evidence-based reviews of treatment and therapy options. This huge tutorial also focusses on a topic I think is neglected: the role of muscle in back pain.
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What Are The Treatments For Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain usually gets better with rest, ice and over-the-counter pain relievers. After a few days of rest, you can start to get back to your normal activities. Staying active increases blood flow to the area and helps you heal.
Other treatments for lower back pain depend on the cause. They include:
- Medications: Your provider may recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or prescription drugs to relieve pain. Other medications relax muscles and prevent back spasms.
- Physical therapy : PT can strengthen muscles so they can support your spine. PT also improves flexibility and helps you avoid another injury.
- Hands-on manipulation: Several hands-on treatments can relax tight muscles, reduce pain and improve posture and alignment. Depending on the cause of pain, you may need osteopathic manipulation or chiropractic adjustments. Massage therapy can also help with back pain relief and restore function.
- Injections: Your provider uses a needle to inject medication into the area thats causing pain. Steroid injections relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
- Surgery: Some injuries and conditions need surgical repair. There are several types of surgery for low back pain, including many minimally invasive techniques.
What Causes Disc Herniation Lumbar
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There are many causes of disc herniation, but the most common is degenerative disc disease. This is when the discs in the spine begin to break down and collapse, which can put pressure on the nerves in the spine and cause pain. Other causes of disc herniation include injury to the spine, such as a car accident, and lifting heavy objects.
Lifestyles may cause pain and discomfort, in addition to causing herniation of the discs in the lower back. Lifting heavy weights without bending the knees puts the spine under significant strain. When you drive, especially for long periods of time, you put strain on your spine. Furthermore, poor form can lead to a lack of impact during exercise. Jogging, aerobics, and martial arts can cause a sensation of shock to the spine. Swimming, walking, and cycling are some of the simplest low-impact exercises that reduce pressure on the spinal discs. To reduce the risk of pain and herniation, avoid sleeping on your stomach.
Gardening, as well as other household activities, can have a negative impact on spine health. Healthy habits can help you protect your spine while also preventing a herniation of the lower back. Dr. Mark Gillespy is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with more than 30 years of experience. He has mastered minimally invasive techniques in spinal disc treatment.
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Why Does My Back Hurt
There are various causes of back pain, including muscle pain with or without muscles spasms, disc pain, joint pain, or nerve pain. In most cases, these are not harmful or dangerous.
Muscle pain is the most common acute back pain. The period of acute pain is usually limited and may be treated at home or by primary care doctors. Sometimes, these patients may be referred to doctors who specialize in back pain. Some back pain can be a symptom of a more serious problem, like a fracture, infection, or cancer in the spine, said H. Michael Guo, MD, a Duke physiatrist who specializes in spine care. These patients should be seen by spine doctors. Fortunately, spine infections and cancer are very rare and usually only affect people with special risk factors. Spine fractures are also rare and may be associated with thinned spine bones or injuries.
In Most Cases A Primary Care Doctor Or Chiropractor Can Help You Resolve The Problem
Low back pain is one of the most common complaints on the planet. And you may wonder where to turn when you start experiencing some of those aches or twinges in the lower part of your back. Take heart. “In most cases, you won’t need a specialist,” says Dr. Robert Shmerling, a rheumatologist at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
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What If I Dont Want Surgery For My Back Pain
Fortunately, most people with back pain dont need surgery. We usually take a conservative approach first, using a wide variety of nonsurgical spine treatments, said Dr. Guo. For example, I might send you to physical therapy or chiropractic therapy. I might recommend medications such as anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, or some nerve-pain medications. We offer injection therapy, including epidural injections, joint injections, and nerve blocks and ablation if your back pain fails to improve with the conservative treatments. Chances are, one of these approaches will help reduce your back pain and improve your function and quality of life.
What Is Serious Back Pain
In this blog, when I say serious back pain, I mean back pain that requires a visit to a doctor.
The severity of your symptoms is not the only indicator as to whether your lower back pain is serious. For example, pain from a pulled lower back muscle can be intense, but it will typically subside after a few days of basic at-home care.
See Pulled Back Muscle and Lower Back Strain
In contrast, lumbar degenerative disc disease can cause a moderate, dull ache in the lower backthis kind of pain is not necessarily intense, but it may get worse over time without treatment. In these cases, a physician can recommend a long-term treatment plan.
See Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease Treatment
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What Causes A Herniated Disc
A herniated disc can occur when there is a tear in the outer layer of the disc, allowing the inner layer to bulge out. The most common cause of a herniated disc is due to wear and tear on the disc, which can occur with age. Other causes include injury to the spine or a sudden change in pressure on the spine, such as from lifting a heavy object.
herniation is caused by the tearing or rupturing of the disc nucleus, which pushes it into the spinal canal. Herniated discs are most commonly found in the lower back , but they can also be found in the neck . The type of herniation and the position on the spine can all have an impact on how painful it is. An acute sciatica condition is one that causes numbness, pain, burning, and tingling sensations in the buttocks, leg, and sometimes foot. A cervical radiculopathy is a condition characterized by nerve compression of the neck. A herniated disc is usually treated conservatively with nonsurgical methods at first. It is possible for a doctor to recommend surgery if conservative treatment options, such as physical therapy and medications, do not help reduce or end the pain.
Resolving Chronic Low Back Pain And Sciatica
This is why its so important to address both the internal and external causes. A traditional orthopedic physical therapist will address the common causes of low back pain and prescribe some stretching and strengthening exercises for the low back. However, many patients will find that the treatment doesnt stick – they feel better for a few days, but lasting relief is elusive. In these cases, the pelvic floor dysfunction isnt being addressed, so the low back regresses and gets pulled back into dysfunction.
The same issues arise when only the internal pelvic floor muscles are treated. Even if the trigger points in the pelvic floor are cleared out and a strengthening program put in place to resolve weakness, if the lower back isnt addressed the pelvic floor dysfunction will simply reoccur. For true healing to occur, both the pelvic floor and low back must be addressed together.
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Causes Of Lower Back Pain That Wont Go Away
Many adults in the United States and around the world experience some form of back pain at one time or another. The incidence rate is so high that back pain is one of the leading causes of absenteeism from work.
Lower back pain that is the result of an underlying health problem or injury rarely goes away completely without taking active steps to address the issue. Working with a physical therapist and engaging in regular modest exercise helps most people gain control of their back pain.
However, the cause of the pain needs to be identified in order for a therapist to offer a beneficial approach. Back pain may arise suddenly, and although it often originates in the lower back, the discomfort may gradually spread to other parts of the body.
Read on to learn about the different ways lower back pain may develop and possible reasons why , in some cases, it doesnt go away.
How Is Back Pain Treated
Acute back pain usually gets better on its own. Acute back pain is usually treated with:
- Medications designed to relieve pain and/or inflammation
- analgesics such as acetaminophen and aspirin
- non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen may be sold over the counter some NSAIDS are prescribed by a physician
- muscle relaxants are prescription drugs that are used on a short-term basis to relax tight muscles
- topical pain relief such as creams, gels, patches, or sprays applied to the skin stimulate the nerves in the skin to provide feelings of warmth or cold in order to dull the sensation of pain. Common topical medications include capsaicin and lidocaine.
Exercising, bed rest, and surgery are typically not recommended for acute back pain.Chronic back pain is most often treated with a stepped care approach, moving from simple low-cost treatments to more aggressive approaches. Specific treatments may depend on the identified cause of the back pain.
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Answers To Common Back Pain Questions
More than eight in 10 people will experience upper, mid, or low back pain at some point in their lives. Low back pain is the most common back pain. In most cases, the pain goes away over time. If your back pain is severe or does not improve, you may need medical care. Here are answers to some common questions about back pain and tips on when to seek help.
When Lower Back Pain Is Serious
As a general rule, if your lower back pain does not subside within 1 to 2 weeks, you should visit your doctor. Odds are that your pain is not a sign of a medical emergency, but a doctor can provide you with an accurate diagnosis and recommend a treatment plan.
A good treatment plan will address your symptoms as well as the underlying condition causing them. Conversely, a wrong diagnosis and treatments can sometimes make your back pain worse.
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When You Should Go To The Er For Back Pain
If your back pain is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, head to your closest emergency room because you could be dealing with a more serious condition or injury:
- Sudden spike in pain, discomfort, weakness or numbness
- Loss of bladder function
- Unexplainable weight loss
- The pain results from a fall or severe blow to your back
If you experience any of these symptoms, its a good idea to talk to your doctor so you can determine next steps for managing pain.
What Is Lower Back Pain
Low back pain can result from many different injuries, conditions or diseases most often, an injury to muscles or tendons in the back.
Pain can range from mild to severe. In some cases, pain can make it difficult or impossible to walk, sleep, work or do everyday activities.
Usually, lower back pain gets better with rest, pain relievers and physical therapy . Cortisone injections and hands-on treatments can relieve pain and help the healing process. Some back injuries and conditions require surgical repair.
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