Lower back pain is among the commonest types of pain anyone can experience. According to reports from a recent study, LBP was found to affect more than one in every four Americans. The same reports indicated low back pain to be the most common cause of global disability as far as medical conditions are concerned. Well, LBP can have one of many causes, from injury to muscle sprains, disease, and health disorders. Also, it can either be categorized as acute, subacute, or chronic lower back pain, depending on how long it lasts. In this piece, we shall take a look at lower back pain and its possible indications so you know the kind of help to seek in case you fall victim to this overly common condition. Let’s get right to it, shall we?
What Is Lower Back Pain?
In simple language, lower back pain or LBP can be defined as the pain felt at the lower back, also known as the lumbar region. As earlier mentioned, the pain can be acute, lasting anywhere between a few days to four weeks. If the pain lasts between four and twelve weeks, it is referred to as sub-acute LBP; or chronic back pain if it persists for more than 3 months.
How Is LBP Treated?
In most cases, acute lower back pain subsides on its own, with the help of pain medication, or physical therapy. If the pain is so intense or it won’t go away after trying the basic remedies, an osteopath’s intervention is recommended. Remember, the problem is quite common, affecting about 16 percent of Australians give or take. Many lower back patients visit the Brisbane Osteopath centre for professional help where the problem is assessed, the pain area addressed, and a long-term relief solution determined. A combination of therapeutic approaches may be used during treatment, including:
- Heat/cold therapy
- Massage therapy
Causes of Lower Back Pain and What It Indicates
More often than not, lower back pain stems from soft-tissue injuries that affect the normal working of the lumbar area. When this happens, the nerve roots could be compressed, or the vertebral discs damaged. The spinal joints could also be dislocated, affecting their movement. More commonly, the injuries occur in the muscles or ligaments surrounding the spine in this area. Here are some common indications and causes of lower back pain apart from impact injury.
You Could Be Lifting Heavy Objects
Lifting heavy stuff using your back alone can result in LBP. In this case, the spinal joints, vertebral discs, ligaments, or muscles suffer damage, sprains, or dislocation resulting from the force involved. The comforting thing is that unless the damage is so severe, LBP from such injuries is more often acute or subacute. Trauma from high-impact incidents like car accidents is also a common cause of low back injuries and the pain that follows.
You Could Have an Underlying Medical Condition
Lower back pain could also result from a wide range of diseases or medical problems. For instance, LBP is a common symptom in kidney disease and its progression. Sciatica (injury of the sciatic nerve by herniated disc spurs) is also a common cause and indication of lower back pain. Also, spinal stenosis is another common cause of LBP, where the narrowing occurs in the spinal canal that carries the nerve roots, thus leading to their compression. Other medical conditions and disorders that cause chronic low back pain include:
- Spinal cord cancer
- Ruptured disc
- Some forms of arthritis like osteoarthritis
- Certain spinal infections
- Degenerative disc disease
- Dysfunction of the facet or sacroiliac joints
- Spinal curvature
- Autoimmune diseases like ankylosing spondylitis
Some women may also experience low back pain due to pregnancy, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, and uterine fibroids.
While lower back pain is quite common, it is not always an easy condition to live with. It can affect one’s quality of life, activity, and performance levels. Sometimes the pain can be so intense that normal pain relief medication does very little to improve the patient’s quality of life.
The general rule of thumb is that, if your lower back discomfort does not go away in one to two weeks, a doctor’s visit is recommended. Although your pain is unlikely to be a symptom of a medical emergency, a doctor can make an accurate diagnosis and prescribe the best treatment plan for you. When suffering from lower back pain and are unsure what is causing it, it is best to visit an osteopathic clinic as soon as you can. The specialists can help arrest and rectify the problem before it gets worse.