Lower back pain refers to any pain or discomfort felt in the lumbar spine. This type of back pain is extremely prevalent (supporting most of the upper body weight) affecting approximately 80% of adults and the leading cause of disability related work injuries. Fortunately however, there are many effective treatments to relieve or eliminate pain in the lower back.
Symptoms of Lower Back Pain
A complex system of the muscles of the spine as well as bone, disc and tendon in and near the lumbar spine can be damaged by a number of factors. The first step towards recognising the source of your pain is to pay attention to your unique symptoms associated with back pain that include:
- Achy, dull pain
- Muscle spasms
- Local pain at the point of touch
- Pain that comes down from the leg or groin, buttocks or thighs
- Stiffness and difficulty in moving
- Sleep disorders
- Tingling or 'pins-and-needles' sensations
- Numbness or weakness
Causes of Lower Back Pain
If you have any of the above symptoms, it's time to take control of the pain. Firstly start preserving a pain journal, documenting activities or situations that encourage your irritation, as well as the steps you take to ease the pain. This information will help your physiotherapist to determine the cause and severity of pain in the lower back.
The most common factors that contribute to lower back pain are:
Tense Ligaments or Muscle Tissue
When lifting heavy objects; twisting of the back or excessive stretching can damage the ligaments and muscle tissue. While these may seem minor injuries can be surprisingly durable and weakened if not worried about properly.
Spinal stenosis occurs when the spinal cord narrows, putting pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. This problem can lead to pain, numbness, leg weakness and loss of sensation potentially becoming a serious illness if not treated.
Irregularities in the Skeleton
Congenital abnormalities of the spine can cause lower back pain disturbing the distribution of weight and resulting in strain of tissue, ligaments and nerves. Scoliosis, spinal curvature and lordosis (an abnormally pointed arch in the lower back) are two common examples of skeletal irregularities that can cause discomfort in the lower part of the back.
Herniated or Ruptured Discs
When the disk in the lower region becomes a hernia, its inner layer (liquid-like layer) seeps through its hard casing by way of an infirmity or break. As this additional matter leaks into the affected area, the nerves are tightened and pain arises. In addition, when the disc is broken, it is no longer able to properly absorb and stabilise the spine causing pain when in particular when muscles and ligaments are overcompensating.
Degeneration of the Disk
Although some disks in the spine naturally worsen over the years; this process can occur at an abnormal rapid rate in some patients. Disk degeneration increases your vulnerability to countless problems in the spine and can lead to painful lower back pain.
Lower back pain can occur due to infection of the spine, intervertebral discs or sacral joints. Bacteria, fungi or other germs can spread to infected skin, muscles and also to muscles and tendons.
Car accidents, falls and other traumatic events can cause fractures of the vertebrae, herniated discs and nerve damage. Even after healing of injuries, lower back pain may still continue.
Radiculopathy describes the pain that results when the nerve roots near the spine are tense, injured or inflammed. Numbness and radiating tingling may also occur.
One form of radiculopathy, sciatica causes pain in the lower part of the back accompanied by pain through the buttocks and lower legs - sometimes even to the foot. These symptoms appear due to the nerve being compressed resulting in the nerve signalling being interrupted. Vertebral fractures, herniated discs, tumours and cysts may all incite sciatica.
Health related Issues, Such as Tumours
Tumours and other health issues can affect the spine and surrounding tissues, ligaments and nerves by pressing against components of the lower back and obstructing ideal functioning.
This condition occurs as a result of fragile and weak bones that are sensitive to painful fractures and ineffective weight distribution.
Inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, spondylitis, vertebrate irritation can cause permanent lower back pain.
This chronic pain syndrome includes general muscular pain and fatigue which can result in discomfort in the lower back.
If you experience acute pain in the lower back, especially on a particular side, you may have kidney stones (also known as a renal calculus). Kidney stones are a solid piece of material formed in kidney by minerals.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms
This is when large blood vessels supplying the abdominal, pelvis and legs become abnormally enlarged, resulting in pain occurring with an aneurysm that can be inevitable.
Treatment for Lower Back Pain
A sedentary lifestyle, obesity, pregnancy and smoking can also increase the likelihood of developing lower back pain. Although this list of pain relievers in the lower back may look long, it is by no means complete. Many circumstances may cause discomfort in the lower back and worry about your condition, you must first discover its causes or causes.
Treatment depends largely on the precise cause of back pain. In addition, each patient must be assessed and administered individually in the context of the underlying health status and activity level.
The importance of physicians who respond to patient concerns and perceptions of their condition during initial assessments.
Home Remedies for Lower Back Pain
Home medications include cold pack and heat applications, local analgesic balms. To avoid re-injury; removing heavy lifting and take over the counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), naproxen (Aleve) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin).
Lower Back Pain Minimal Invasive treatment options
Some spinal problems can require more intervention. Herniated discs, fractured vertebrae and other serious complications can often be alleviated or completely removed by minimal invasive operation.
Since the minimal invasive operation requires only minor cuts, it has many advantages. Minimally invasive surgery reduces the risk of scarring and trauma to surrounding tissue. It also greatly shortens recovery time.
If you suffer from lower back pain, it is advisable for you to undergo:
Discectomy or Microendoscopic Discectomy
During the discectomy, your surgeon will remove the broken parts of the disc by guarding the unaffected areas. Then the wall of the disc is treated to prevent the soft nucleus from escaping again and causing additional pain. In microendoscopic discectomies, the endoscope (small camera) allows surgeons to carefully monitor the procedure through a larger monitor.
Fusion-based operation involves removing fragments of slipped discs or broken/ damaged vertebrae and inserting bone-bridges and spacers, which encourage vertebrae to fuse together. This minimally invasive method stabilises the spine and neutralises the effects of degeneration.