Lower back pain is something that almost everyone has experienced at one point. The lower back is the part of the trunk, that starts below the ribcage to the lumbar region. This kind of disorder usually affects the muscles, nerves, and bones of the lower part of the back and can occur in different forms. It might be dull, sharp, constant, or intermittent. Lower back pain is a common cause for visits to the doctor. According to studies, it has been reported to be one of the causes of the most doctor visits. In addition, it has been noted to be one of the most causes of job instability in the country. Some of the signs and symptoms of lower back pain include a dull ache, to a stabbing or shooting sensation. This may make it difficult to stand upright or even walk. There are two types of pain, which includes acute and chronic pain. There could be many causes of lower back pain, some of them include injury, such as strains to the nerves, muscle sprains. It can also be as a result of some diseases such as cancer of the spinal cord, herniated vertebral disc, Sciatica, renal diseases, infections of the vertebral spine and so on.
Also, lower back pain can be divided based on the cause of the disorder. They include mechanical and non-mechanical, also known as the referred pain.
However, the causes of lower back pain are often not identified, mostly because of the assumption that it’s caused by mechanical problems, such as muscle or joint strain. Although, further tests are done when the back pain is accompanied by symptoms such as weight loss, fever, and other serious conditions. Some of the tests done to establish a diagnosis include X-ray computed tomography, although they bear some risks, and might not be useful. The initial management of lower back pain includes the use of medications. Some of the drugs used are Non-steroidal inflammatory drugs. Opioids are also used if the NSAIDs are not effective enough. Lastly, surgery can be done, especially for patients that have anatomical problems such as a ruptured vertebral disc, or spinal stenosis.
What Are the Symptoms of Lower Back Pain?
Lower back pain could be caused by a lot of things, which could be mechanical or neurogenic. This is why they present with different symptoms. Some of these symptoms include:
- Dull pain, especially in the lower part of the back.
- Stabbing pain sensation in the back.
- Shooting sensation in the lower back.
- Burning pain that migrates from the lower part of the back to the back of the thighs. The pain can sometimes move to the lower legs and feet.
- The patient might experience muscle spasms, especially in the lower back, pelvis, and hips.
- The patient might feel some pain, especially after sitting or standing for a period of time.
- Pain and difficulty standing up, walking or sitting after standing for a while.
When To See A Back Pain Doctor
It’s important to go see a doctor if the pain persists after taking over-the-counter medications. Also, lower back pain that is associated with fever, weight loss might be a serious situation. It’s important to go see a doctor if the pain is severe, so they can make the right diagnosis, and prescribe the right drugs. Other reasons for seeing a doctor also includes the following;
- Lower back pain, especially after a fall or injury.
- Numbness in the groin area.
- Weakness in the leg
- Lower back pain associated with fever
- Pain associated with coughing and urinating
- Patients experiencing back pain, with a history of cancer, sudden weight loss, history of intravenous drug abuse.
- Pain that worsens with rest.
What Are the Causes of Lower Back Pain?
- Strains: This occurs when there is a strain of the muscles and ligaments of the lower back. It could also be as a result of taking part in activities that puts a lot of pressure on the back. Some of the signs and symptoms of strain include pain and rigidity of the lower back. The treatment for a strain is rest and physical therapy.
- Injury to the vertebral disc: The discs of the vertebrae are prone to injury. However, this tends to occur more as one age. This is why disc injuries are more predominant in adults. The herniated disc is one of the most common forms of disc injury. This is a condition in which the cartilage that surrounds the vertebral disc pushes into the spinal cord. This might also affect the nerve roots. In this condition, the cushion that normally sits between the vertebrae discs slips out of position, which leads to the compression and crush of the nerve root. Pain from the injury of the vertebral disc can last for up to 3 days before it subsides.
- Sciatica: This condition can happen with a herniated disc, especially if the disc crushes on the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the connection between the spine and the legs. This leads to painful sensation in the feet and in the legs. The patient might complain of pins and needles in the feet.
What Do Doctors Do For Back Pain?
The first thing a doctor does is to examine the back, and assess the patient’s ability to sit, walk, stand, and also raise their legs. Your physician might also rate the pain on a scale of 0 to 10. This assessment helps the doctor know where exactly the pain comes from, and make a proper diagnosis. In addition, they might also perform the following tests;
- MRI or CT scans
- Blood tests
- Bone scan
What Are Lower Back Pain Trigger Points?
Trigger points that cause lower back pain must be identified and treated if you want a lower back free of pain. Lower back pain will persist, until the trigger points in the back has been identified and treated. Some of the muscles that harbor trigger points include the following;
- Gluteus maximus and medius
- Psoas muscle
- Quadratus lumborum
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