Lower back pain is a disorder that affects the muscles, nerves, and bones of the lower part of the back. This 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 statistics, it’s one of the most predominant causes of job-related instability. Studies also showed that up to 80% of Americans will experience this kind of disorder. The majority of lower back pain is caused by 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. Lower back pain can be classified based on the duration of the pain. For example, it can be acute, which is when the pain is less than 6 weeks. Also, there is the sub-chronic lower back pain, this is when the pain lasts for between 6 to 12 weeks, and lastly, the chronic lower back pain, this is when the pain lasts for more than 12 weeks. 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 does present with a lot of symptoms. Some of these symptoms include:
- Dull pain, especially in the lower part of the 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 experience pain, especially after sitting or standing for a period of time.
- Pain and difficulty standing up, walking or sitting after standing for a while.
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 put excessive strain on the back. Some of the signs and symptoms of strain include pain and rigidity of the lower back. The patient might also experience spasms of the muscles 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. A 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. Injury to the vertebral disc usually occurs after the individual lifts something heavy, or twists the back. 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.
- Stenosis of the spine: This is a condition in which the spinal column becomes constricted. This puts some kind of pressure on the content of the spinal column, which includes the spinal cord and the spinal nerves. This would eventually lead to the compression of the nerves and also the other components of the column. The patient might experience signs and symptoms such as numbness in the leg, weakness, and cramping. It’s common for patients to feel the intensity of the pain more when they stand or try to walk.
How Do I Relieve Lower Back Pain?
- The first thing to do when you realize you’re having back pains is to try to rest, and give your back a break. Putting less effort prevents complications.
- Medication: Try to use an over-the-counter pain reliever such as paracetamol, or an NSAIDs. However, if this doesn’t work, you should consult your physician for a diagnosis and better treatment.
- One of the ways to deal with this is to change your mattress. People who sleep on firm and hard beds tend to develop back pains.
What Causes Lower Back Pain On The Left Side?
The most common cause of pain on the left side is a muscle strain. Other causes include renal stones, kidney infections, gynecological disorders, pregnancy, ulcerative colitis and so on.
What Causes Lower Back Pain On The Right Side?
The causes of pain on the right side of the back include muscle strain. Apart from this, other cause of pain on this side include gynecological problems, renal stones, renal infections and so on.
Back Pain Doctor Near Me
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 see a doctor as soon as you can to get the right diagnosis and treatment.
Back pain. (2017). NHS .uk. Retrieved 20 April 2018, from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/back-pain/
Back Pain. (2018). National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Retrieved 20 April 2018, from https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/back-pain
Back Pain | PainDoctor.com. (2013). Pain Doctor. Retrieved 20 April 2018, from https://paindoctor.com/conditions/back-pain/
DerSarkissian, C. (2018). Causes of Back Pain. WebMD. Retrieved 20 April 2018, from https://www.webmd.com/back-pain/causes-back-pain#1
Gerard Malanga, M. (2018). Which Medications Are Best for Acute Low Back Pain?. SpineUniverse. Retrieved 20 April 2018, from https://www.spineuniverse.com/conditions/back-pain/low-back-pain/conclusion-acute-low-back-pain-medication
Peggy Pletcher, C. (2017). Back pain: Causes, symptoms, and treatments. Medical News Today. Retrieved 20 April 2018, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/172943.php
Watson, S. (2011). Top Causes of Low Back Pain. WebMD. Retrieved 20 April 2018, from https://www.webmd.com/back-pain/features/causes#1