Lower Back Pain
It is so common to injure your back, but other things can cause pain in your back as well. Throughout your life, you might experience back pain. Lumbar back pain is extremely common, which is specifically pain in the lower back. This can make it difficult to perform everyday functions, so it is important to figure out what might be causing your pain and try to solve it. Just leaving it alone usually does not fix the problem!
Types of Lower Back Pain
Because there are so many functioning parts of the lower back, pain can be caused by different things and can be categorized differently. In the lumbar region, some back pain can actually be sciatica, or nerve pain that travels down the leg. This can be caused by various incidents or problems, but it is particularly painful and needs to be treated as soon as possible. It comes from the nerve roots of the spine being pressed on or injured, and it is completely different from just muscle pain. Another type of back pain comes from the spine being twisted, also known as scoliosis. This is relatively common and normally needs to be braced in order to heal. Pain can also be caused by muscle spasms, which have various causes. These different types of low back pain can be caused by various things.
Causes of Lower Back Pain
Since back pain happens so easily, there are various ailments that can cause it. Some of the causes are mild and only need a small amount of treatment, while others can be more serious. These causes may create different kinds of lower back pain relating to nerves, bones, or other problems.
The most common source of low back pain is straining the surrounding muscles. This is usually caused through injury. Unfortunately, back strain can happen just picking something up off of the ground if done in a way that isn’t good for your back. Practicing good posture and lifting techniques are very important for prevention. Another common way to strain the back is through exercising incorrectly, like lifting weights without knowing the correct posture. When these muscles have been strained, most of the time it is not too hard to correct. Make sure if you have injured your back muscles to be careful not to make it worse!
Sometimes, the lower back can begin hurting due to a cracked vertebrae. This can cause many other issues if not treated appropriately. This is usually obvious, as it is extremely painful and is usually caused through more intense injury like a car accident or falling from a height. A cracked vertebrae sometimes needs to be repaired through surgery.
As we age, sometimes our vertebrae will develop growths that can rub against our nerves or muscles. These are called bone spurs, and they can be completely painless, or be very painful. It really depends on where a bone spur is located to determine if it is painful or not. Even if a bone spur is not painful, it can cause other problems.
Our spines are made up of vertebrae, nerves, and discs. Discs are made of flexible tissue and they help the spine move the way it does. Over time, these discs can become diseased and tear, herniate, or harden. This is known as degenerative disc disease. This can cause severe pain and cause issues with the spinal cord or surrounding muscles. Sometimes a disc becomes injured in other ways, which also causes pain in the same area. Most disc problems can be solved through mild treatments, but at times it may need surgery to replace or remove the diseased disc.
Lower back pain treatment
Some back pain needs only to be treated through less invasive means to heal. Usually things like muscle strain only need this kind of treatment. One way to treat back pain is through the use of NSAIDS, which help reduce inflammation and are available over the counter. Another simple treatment is the use of hot and cold compresses. These can help reduce inflammation of the muscles as well, and reduce their pulling on the surrounding nerves. A hot bath may do a similar thing for that area. These treatments are easy to do at home, and they can help rule out any severe problems if the back pain goes away after these. Some people find that exercising regularly can strengthen the back muscles and prevent pain as well.
If the lower tier of options does not work, a doctor may prescribe physical therapy for relieving back pain. The therapist will help you to perform specific exercises to strengthen the muscles around the painful area. This is usually very effective! It can take some time to gain the benefits, but it can keep the pain away for many years and teach the patient how to effectively use those muscles going forward.
Unfortunately, some of the less invasive treatments are not effective at treating people’s pain. This is where some more invasive, but hopefully effective, treatments come in. One of these is the use of steroid injections. These are performed at a hospital by a doctor, and basically inject medicine directly into the problem area. This can be very effective at treating pain, especially if it is nerve-based. If this does not work, and if no other treatments have been effective, doctors will turn to surgery to treat the pain. Orthopedic surgery can have a long recovery time but it can be very helpful in treating low back pain in many patients. Every patient should always talk to their doctor about options and the different kinds of surgeries available.
What should I do?
If you are experiencing back pain that will not go away, make sure to talk to your doctor as soon as you can. It may be a more serious issue that needs to be treated as such. There are many different treatments that your doctor may be able to recommend. Take care of your body, and you might be surprised at what you can accomplish!