What is Low Back Pain?
If you’re suffering from low back pain, it can be difficult to get out of bed in the morning. You might feel like your life is on hold because of this constant ache that doesn’t seem to go away no matter what you do.
Low back pain (LBP) is characterized by pain, muscle tension, or stiffness, which are present below the ribs and above the buttocks, and can be chronic when it persists for more than 12 weeks.
Low back pain is usually categorized into 3 subtypes:
- Chronic low back pain
This subdivision is based on the duration of the back pain. Acute low back pain is an episode of low back pain for less than 6 weeks, sub-acute low back pain between 6 and 12 weeks, and chronic low back pain for 12 weeks or more.
What are the Causes of Low Back Pain?
Excessive activity can cause the muscles and ligaments in the back to stretch or tear. Pain and stiffness in the lower back, as well as muscle spasms, are common symptoms. These symptoms can be treated with rest and physical therapy.
Joints that do not work properly in the body commonly cause stiffness and pain. This joint dysfunction is often time caused by injury or wear and tear to the joint.
The free movement of the joint that is problematic will commonly be lost and a person can lose their range of motion in that area. An example of this would be your neck motion. You should have free movement of your neck when bending front to back, side to side or rotating your neck.
Joint dysfunction can cause your motion to be limited and pain of stiffness to occur.
Spinal discs are susceptible to injury. As we age, this risk increases. The outside of the disc can tear or herniate.
A herniated disc can cause compression of the nerve root as it exits from the spinal cord. A sudden injury usually occurs after lifting something or twisting your back, and pain will last longer than 72 hours.
Sciatica occurs when a herniated disc compresses the sciatic nerve. This can result in pain from your leg to your foot, which feels like burning or tingling pins and needles sensation.
Sciatica is a painful condition that affects one of five nerves extending from the hips down each side of our legs. When these nerve fibers are irritated or pinched, symptoms can extend into the areas of the buttocks, legs or even as far down as the feet.
As people get older, their discs gradually dry out and shrink. This can make the spinal column narrow which puts pressure on your spine’s nerve roots or spinal cord.
Spinal stenosis is most commonly due to degeneration of the discs between vertebrae in a person’s lower back causing compression of the nerves by bony spurs or soft tissues such as disc herniation.
People with spinal stenosis notice their symptoms worsen when standing or walking. They might feel numbness, cramping and weakness anywhere in the body. Pressure on the nerves causes these symptoms that are often noted as being worse from prolonged periods of standing or walking.
Abnormal Spine Curvatures
Abnormal spine curvatures, such as scoliosis, kyphosis and lordosis are congenital conditions that cause pain and poor posture because it places pressure on the vertebrae.
There are a number of other conditions that cause lower back pain.
These conditions include:
- Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints.
- Fibromyalgia is long-term pain and tenderness in the joints, muscles, and tendons.
- Spondylitis is inflammation of the joints between the spinal bones.
- Kidney and bladder problems
- Ovarian cysts
- Uterine fibroids
Signs and Symptoms of Low Back Pain
Lower back pain is an extremely common condition, with many possible causes and symptoms.
Symptoms may include but are not limited to:
- Pain in the lower spine that worsens upon touching or moving the lumbar region of your body.
- A soreness around areas of discomfort when pressed on localizing it towards a specific area such as low down near buttocks, upper buttock regions and even into the thighs.
- Lower back muscle spasms which can be mild or severe causing difficulty walking, standing etc.
How is Low Back Pain Diagnosed?
When your doctor examines you, he or she will probably begin by asking for a complete medical history and conducting a physical examination to figure out where the pain is. A physical exam can also determine if pain affects range of motion in different areas.
Your doctor may check reflexes and responses to certain sensations too because this determines whether low back pain impacts nerves.
While you may not know the exact cause of your pain, it doesn’t mean that nothing can be done. Your doctor may want to evaluate further and recommend specific treatment options.
Certain symptoms require more testing, including:
- lack of bowel control
- weight loss
If you continue to experience low back pain, your doctor may want additional testing done. This can include imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scans and MRIs in order to check for more serious conditions like tumors or kidney stones.
Conservative Non-Surgical Treatment of Low Back Pain
Lower back pain can have a tremendous impact on an individual’s life. Those with lower back pain may struggle with sleeping, walking, standing over periods of time, lifting or performing daily activities.
For those who are struggling with lower back pain (either localized or with radiating symptoms into the legs), there are conservative treatment options that may help you. Chiropractic treatment of low back pain can be quite effective for many.
Conclusion on Low Back Pain
Low back pain is a very common and uncomfortable ailment. On the plus side, there are several strategies you can employ to prevent the onset of and/or progression of back pain.
We know that you don’t want to live with chronic low back pain any longer than necessary. Our goal is to help you return to your normal activities as quickly as possible so that you can get back to living life again.
When you come into our office for treatment, we will work with you one-on-one until we find the right combination of therapies that are going to make a difference in your day-to-day life. We want all patients who walk through our doors or call us on the phone feeling hopeful about their future and excited about getting better! Visit N8 Family Chiropractic for treatment on your low back pain.
Schedule for Low Back Pain Treatment at N8 Family Chiropractic