LOW BACK PAIN

It is very normal to have low back pain. Over 80% of individuals have experienced at least one episode of low back pain during their lifetime. While back pain typically does not pose a significant medical problem and most often subsides on its own, it can be frustrating when it affects the everyday life.

Some factors like smoking, old age, smoking, strenuous work, female gender and strenuous work increases person’s risk of experiencing low back pain.

 

Low back pain can be categorized into “acute” (lasting ≤ 4 weeks), “subacute” (lasting 4 to 12 weeks), or “chronic” (lasting > 12 weeks).

 

CAUSES

Low back pain is caused by different things. There is often no clear cause, but, rarely, pain is attributed to a disease or disorder. The several ways of describing low back pain include:

NONSPECIFIC BACK PAIN

More than 85% have what the doctors describe as “nonspecific” low back pain, which simply refers to the pain whose cause cannot be clearly attributed to a specific illness, abnormality or severe spine injury. People often describe this as a sudden-onset pain after physical activities like shoveling, lifting heavy object or bending. This type of pain often reflects a pressure in the muscles around the lower back, and it can be intense.
Although experiencing pain with no apparent cause can be frustrating,it can help to know that this form of back pain usually improves over a few weeks on its own and there are things you can do in the meantime to feel better, such as applying heat and avoiding bedrest. Being active as soon as there is strength will also speed your recovery rate.

SERIOUS POTENTIAL CAUSES

Back pain is rarely caused by potentially serious spinal conditions like tumor or infections. Another potential cause is the vertebral fractures, resulting in the weakness of the bones due to osteoporosis.

 

LESS SERIOUS POTENTIAL CAUSES

Low back pain is sometimes caused by less serious conditions which include physical changes from normal aging. These include degenerative disc disease (breakdown of the spinal discs), bulging and herniated discs, osteoarthritis, spondylolisthesis, lumbar spinal stenosis, ankylosing spondylitis, and occupational back pain.

COMMON EVIDENCE BASED MYTHS ABOUT LOW BACK PAIN 

Below are some myths or false information about low back pain.

  • Low back pain is usually a serious medical condition

  • Low back pain will become persistent and deteriorate in later life

  • Persistent low back pain is always related to tissue damage

  • Scan are always needed to detect the cause of low back pain

  • Pain related to exercise and movement is always a warning that harm is being done to spine and a signal to stop or modify activity

  • Low back pain is caused by poor posture when sitting, standing and lifting

  • Low back pain is caused by weak ‘core’ muscles and having a strong core protects against future low back pain

  • Repeated spinal loading results in ‘wear and tear’ and tissue damage

  • Pain flare-ups are a sign of tissue damage and require rest

Treatments such as strong medications, injections and surgery are effective, and necessary, to treat low back pain
 

 

NATURAL WAYS TO REDUCE LOW BACK PAIN

 

USE OF A HEATING PAD OR COLD PACK

A heating pad or cold pack can be applied to the painful region. This however, should be done only with the doctor’s consent so as to be sure the remedy is OK with the individual current state.

RELAXATION
Relaxation is one of the self remedy techniques used in calming the body. This can be achieved through deep breathing exercise. Relaxing the mind will help with the body’s way of feeling pain. People will learn how to soothe their pain or make it less worrisome by practicing relaxation of the mind.

ACTIVE LIFESTYLE

Activities such as swimming, biking, walking, or tai chi (a form of martial art) can all help in alleviating pain in the muscle and joints. Pains tend to get worse if you are not active. This can be achieved by starting slowly especially when you have not been for a while. Make slight increase in the intensity and time spent exercising but, speak to your doctor if the exercise causes more discomfort. They might suggest a regimen that will make you more active to help ease the pain.

COMMUNICATE

Low back pain and depression often accompany each other and one may make the other worse. Seeking help for your depression would make it easier to deal with your pain. Always communicate with your medical practitioners when you feel depressed during low back pain, it will go a long way.

COMMON WAYS OF TREATING LOW BACK PAIN

  • Physical therapy to learn exercises and stretches

  • Working with a counselor

  • Relaxation therapy

  • Massage therapy

  • Acupuncture

  • Devices that affect nerve signals

  • Surgery

  • Injections (shots) of numbing or pain-relieving medicines into the spine or area with pain

  • Medicines to relieve pain, improve sleep, or improve mood

LOWBACK PAIN AND IMAGING

Imaging test like X-rays, CT scan or MRI are done to view the interior of the body to check for deformity. In low back pain, imaging is done to see the structure inside the back. Majority of people that experience low back pain do not need imaging. However, when people have extreme back pain, they sometimes conclude that something is severely wrong with their backs. The reality is that most cases of back pain are not triggered by something serious. Low back pain usually disappears or with simple care. When you visit a doctor or nurse for low back pain, do not ask for or plan to get an imaging examination right away, unless you have one of the signs listed below especially when they are 4 to 6 weeks or longer. 

  • Recent accident or injury such as car crash

  • Osteoporosis (bone weakness)

  • Foot drop (inability to hold the foot while walking)

  • Aged with diabetes

  • History of cancer

  • Drugs like heroin usage