Lower Back Pain
Anyone who has ever hurt their lower back, or has gone through any type of lower back pain, knows how debilitating it can be. Even in less extreme cases, dull pain and soreness in the area can make you annoyed or miserable all day, affecting your mood, relationships, and ability to work or play. If you have either been experiencing chronic lower back pain or have recently become afflicted, Advance Health and Wellness can work with you to ascertain the cause of the problem, come up with a targeted treatment plan that is right for you, and help you work towards being pain free.
Complaints of pain in the lower back, also called the lumbar region, are some of the most common we see. The vast network of spinal muscles, ligaments, joints, tendons, discs, nerves, and vertebrae in the area leave a lot of possibilities for injury. When the parts of the body directly connected to the lower back through form or function are also taken into account, the list becomes even longer. An injury to one individual part of this interconnected network can affect the entire area, making the pain far more bothersome because it is not centralized or acute.
There are many different common causes of lower back pain, including:
- Injuries, like sprains of muscles or ligaments, compression fractures or other fractures of bones, or injuries to the smaller joints in between the vertebrae in the spine.
- Overexertion and overuse, specifically of soft tissues in the lower back.
- Pressure on nerves or their roots, caused by conditions like herniated discs or spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal).
- Stiff joints in the lumbar region.
- Osteoarthritis, which comes with age and degeneration of bones in the body.
- Deterioration of the cartilage between bones.
A few less commonly occurring causes of low back pain are more serious ones such as Ankylosing Spondylitis, a type of arthritis that usually affects the spine; bacterial infection or other infection of the spinal discs, cord, or bones; and tumors on the spine.
Your specific symptoms and pain in the lower back may vary depending on which area or piece of the complex puzzle is affected. It may be acute or spread throughout areas such as your hips, buttocks, and legs. You could feel sharp or dull, achy pain, have swelling and redness, feel a “crunching” or grinding sensation when you touch the area, get cramps or muscle spasms, or have stiffness. Specifically if lumbar nerves are the source of your pain, you could be experiencing numbness, tingling, or weakness of the leg or foot on one or both sides of your body. Tingling could originate in your buttocks and spread all the way to the ankle or foot.
While anyone active in sports, specifically those involving lifting or bending, such as cheerleading, gymnastics, weightlifting, or bowling, can be at risk for lower back pain and injury, anyone can be affected. Simply lifting your child or turning quickly in one direction can result in a strain to the lumbar region. Careers that involve physical activity, like construction or landscaping, for example, also put people at risk.
Treatment with pain medications, anti-inflammatories, or muscle relaxers may cause temporary relief for the symptoms of back pain, but they will not treat the cause. Due to the severity of pain often involved with this area, as well as the possibility of more serious conditions, seeking help from a professional is generally a good idea.