Low Back Pain
Low back pain (or lumbago) is a common musculoskeletal disorder affecting 80% of people at some point in their lives. It is second only to the common cold and accounts for more sick leave and disability than any other medical condition. It can be, acute (less than 4 weeks), sub-acute (4-12 weeks), or chronic (greater than 12 weeks) in duration. Most often, the symptoms of low back pain show significant improvement within a few weeks from onset with conservative measures.
Most cases of lower back pain are due to benign musculoskeletal problems and are referred to as non specific low back pain. They are generally believed to be due to a sprain or strain in the muscles and the soft tissues of the back, especially if the pain arose suddenly during physical load to the back, and the pain is on the side of the spine. The rate of serious causes is less than 1%.
The most common causes of low back pain are:
Injury or overuse of muscles, ligaments, facet joints, and the sacroiliac joints.
Pressure on nerve roots in the spinal canal. Nerve root compression can be caused by:
? #A herniated disc, often brought on by repeated vibration or motion (as during machine use or sport activity, or when lifting improperly), or by a sudden heavy strain or increased pressure to the lower back.
? #Osteoarthritis (joint degeneration), which typically develops with age.
? #Spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis, vertebra defects that can allow a vertebra to slide over another when aggravated by certain activities.
? #Spinal stenosis, or narrowing of the spinal canal, which typically develops with age.
? #Fractures of the vertebrae caused by significant force, such as from an auto or bicycle
accident, a direct blow to the spine, or compressing the spine by falling onto the buttocks or head.
? #Spinal deformities, including curvature problems such as severe scoliosis or kyphosis.
Compression fractures. Compression fractures are more common among postmenopausal women with osteoporosis, or in men or women after long-term corticosteroid use. In a person with osteoporosis, even a small amount of force put on the spine, as from a sneeze, may cause a compression fracture.
Uncommon causes of low back pain include:
#Paget's disease of bone(which causes abnormal bone growth).
#Bleeding or infection in the pelvis
#Urinary disorders such as kidney stones or urinary tract infections
#Infection of the cartilage and/or bone of the spine,
#Aneurysm of the aorta,
#Spinal tumors Shingles (Herpes Zoster)
Back pain varies. It may be sharp or stabbing. It can be dull, achy, or feel like a cramp. The type of pain you have will depend on the underlying cause of your back pain.
People with low back pain may experience some of the following:
Back pain may be worse with bending and lifting.
Sitting may worsen pain.
Standing and walking may worsen pain.
Back pain comes and goes, and often follows an up and down course with good days and bad days.
Pain may extend from the back into the buttock or outer hip area, but not down the leg.
Sciatica is common with a herniated disk. This includes buttock and leg pain, and even numbness, tingling or weakness that goes down to the foot. It is possible to have sciatica without back pain.
Most people find that reclining or lying down will improve low back pain, no matter the underlying cause.
When to seek medical attention:
Regardless of your age or symptoms, if your back pain does not get better within a few weeks, or is associated with weakness or numbness in either legs, fever, chills, unexpected weight loss, or if you have a history of significant chronic disease like osteoporosis or cancer, you should call your doctor.
Low Back Pain - Home Treatment
Whether your low back pain is mild or severe, home treatment will be an important part of your care. For common back strain give home remedies a try for 72hrs.
When you first feel back pain, try these steps to avoid or reduce pain:
Relax. Find a comfortable position for rest. Some people are comfortable on the floor or a medium-firm bed with a small pillow under their head and another under their knees. Some people prefer to lie on their side with a pillow between their knees. Don't stay in one position for too long.
Walk. Take a short walk (10 to 20 minutes) on a level surface (no slopes, hills, or stairs) every 2 to 3 hours. Walk only distances you can manage without pain, especially leg pain.
Take pain medicine if needed, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol or Paracetamol) or medicines that reduce pain, swelling, and irritation, including ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin) or naproxen (such as Aleve or Naprosyn). These medicines usually work best if you take them on a regular schedule instead of waiting until the pain is severe.
Try heat or ice. Try using a heating pad on a low or medium setting, or a warm shower, for 15 to 20 minutes every 2 to 3 hours. You can also try an ice pack for 10 to 15 minutes every 2 to 3 hours. You can use an ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a thin towel. There is not strong evidence that either heat or ice will help, but you can try them to see if they help.
It may not be possible to prevent low back pain. We cannot avoid the normal wear and tear on our spines that goes along with aging. But there are things we can do to lessen the impact of low back problems. Having a healthy lifestyle is a good start.
Combine aerobic exercise, like walking or swimming, with specific exercises to keep the muscles in your back and abdomen strong and flexible.
Be sure to lift heavy items with your legs, not your back. Do not bend over to pick something up. Keep your back straight and bend at your knees.
Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight puts added stress on your lower back.
Both the smoke and the nicotine cause your spine to age faster than normal.
Good posture is important for avoiding future problems. A therapist can teach you how to safely stand, sit, and lift.
Reduce the stress in your life. Get the support you need. Work with your doctor to come up with a chronic pain treatment plan. Ask family members or friends when you need a helping hand.
After your initial visit for back pain, it is recommended that you follow your doctor's instructions as carefully as possible. This includes taking the medications and performing activities as directed. Back pain will, in all likelihood, improve within several days. Do not be discouraged if you don't achieve immediate improvement. Nearly everyone improves within a month of onset of the pain.