Symptoms and Alternative Treatment for Lower Back Pain
Back pain is a condition which is quite tough to endure, as it gets in the way of one’s daily activities. To prevent yourself from feeling restrained due to this type of pain, it would be highly helpful for you to know its causes and remedies. Furthermore, it is also necessary to have the services of a musculoskeletal professional on stand-by. This way your doctor may thoroughly figure out the cause of your pain, and applicable treatments may be made for your recovery.
There are many reasons which pertain to back pain. Several factors may be due to a person’s lifestyle or hereditary traits which may affect his or her posture. Either way, it is highly necessary to fully know the nature of back pain towards its effective sets of treatments.
Lower back pain can be caused by a variety of problems with any parts of the complex, interconnected network of spinal muscles, nerves, bones, discs or tendons in the lumbar spine. Typical sources of low back pain include:
- The large nerve roots in the low back that go to the legs may be irritated
- The smaller nerves that supply the low back may be irritated
- The large paired lower back muscles (erector spinae) may be strained
- The bones, ligaments or joints may be damaged
- An intervertebral disc may be degenerating
An irritation or problem with any of these structures can cause lower back pain and/or pain that radiates or is referred to other parts of the body. Many lower back problems also cause back muscle spasms, which don’t sound like much but can cause severe pain and disability.
While lower back pain is extremely common, the symptoms and severity of lower back pain vary greatly. A simple lower back muscle strain might be excruciating enough to necessitate an emergency room visit, while a degenerating disc might cause only mild, intermittent discomfort.
Common Lower Back Pain Causes in Adults
Certain causes of lower back pain have a tendency to occur more often in younger individuals versus older adults:
Younger adults (30 to 60 year olds) are more likely to experience back pain from the disc space itself (e.g. lumbar disc herniation or degenerative disc disease) or from a back muscle strain or other soft tissue strain.
Older adults (over 60) are more likely to suffer from pain related to joint degeneration (such as osteoarthritis or spinal stenosis) or from a compression fracture.
When to Seek Immediate Treatment for Lower Back Pain
Most cases of low back pain do not require urgent care, but anyone should see a doctor immediately if low back pain is a result of trauma, or if pain is accompanied by any of the following symptoms:
- Fever and chills
- Unexplained recent weight loss
- Significant leg weakness
- Sudden bowel and/or bladder incontinence—either difficulty passing urine or having a bowel movement, or loss of control of urination or bowel movement (cauda equina syndrome)
- Severe, continuous abdominal pain (abdominal aortic aneurysm)
In cases where immediate treatment is a required, physicians will investigate possible serious causes of the pain, including any type of spinal infection, tumor or fracture
Lower Back Pain Treatment
Treatment for lower back pain depends upon the patient’s history and the type and severity of pain. The vast majority of lower back pain cases get better within six weeks without surgery, and lower back pain exercises are almost always part of a treatment plan.
If pain persists or worsens, more involved diagnostic and surgical procedures may be recommended.
Rest. Ceasing activity for a few days allows injured tissue and even nerve roots to begin to heal, which in turn will help relieve lower back pain. However, more than a few days of rest can lead to a weakening of the muscles, and weak muscles have to struggle to adequately support the spine. Patients who do not regularly exercise to build strength and flexibility are more likely to experience recurrent or prolonged lower back pain.
Heat and Ice Packs. Heat and/or cold therapy helps relieve most types of low back pain by reducing inflammation. Often patients use ice, but some prefer heat. Both may be used alternately.
Medications. A wide variety of over-the-counter and prescription medications is available to help reduce lower back pain. Many medications reduce inflammation, which is often a cause of pain, while others work to inhibit the transmission of pain signals from reaching the brain. Each medication has multiple unique risks, possible side effects and drug (or food or supplement) interactions, which need to be evaluated by a physician.
Exercise for Lower Back Pain. Exercise is a key element of almost any lower back pain treatment plan. Typically an exercise program will be developed and taught by a spine health professional, such as a physical therapist, chiropractor, or physiatrist, and will include three components: aerobic conditioning, stretching, and strengthening. The exercises are best done through a controlled, progressive program, with the goal of building toward a stronger, more flexible spine.
Low Impact Aerobic Exercise. In addition to exercises specific to the lower back, any low impact aerobic exercise, such as walking, is often an ideal exercise for the lower back because it helps bring oxygen to the soft tissues in the back to promote healing. Swimming or water exercise has the same effect and is an excellent option if walking is too painful.
Chiropractic Adjustment (also called Chiropractic Manipulation) can help improve spinal function by decreasing pain and inflammation to increase range of motion and physical function. Manual manipulation is also commonly performed by osteopathic physicians.
The above is not an exhaustive list of all possible treatments for lower back pain, but does include the most common treatments. It is advisable for patients to seek a diagnosis from their primary care physician, chiropractor, or a spine specialist (such as a physiatrist) to determine the underlying cause of their lower back pain and seek appropriate treatment.
If you are experiencing the early signs of back pain, there are also remedies which can prove to be effective to alleviate your pain. With a few lifestyle changes, it would be possible for you to see the improvements on your back.
If you frequently find yourself waking in the morning to a sore back, you may want to examine your sleep habits.
Position: Your preferred sleep position may be causing more harm than good. Poor habits—and unwanted pain—can be alleviated by placing a pillow between your knees.
Pillows: Too many or not enough pillows can put strain on your neck, because this takes your spine out of alignment.
Technique: Before rushing off to the shower, consider a few moments of deep-breathing and stretching in bed. When you’re ready to rise, you want to do so gently. Roll to your side, bending hips and knees, and use both hands to push your body into a seated position.
Diet, Weight, & Water
Healthy diet is important for a healthy back. Hand-in-hand with proper nutrition is maintaining a healthy weight, which puts less stress on your joints and back. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, most adults are not getting enough calcium and vitamin D, both of which maintain strong bones.
A diet rich in calcium, vitamin D, as well as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, energizes your body and powers your muscles. Drinking plenty of water helps reduce inflammation—the culprit of many conditions for chronic pain.
Sticking to a regular exercise routine is a good way to strengthen your core. But be careful; rigorous, high-impact exercise may aggravate back pain if you have not trained to handle such high-impact workouts.
- Take a walk. Exercise that gets your heart pumping is good. Aim for about 30 minutes—at least three times a week—of gentle aerobic exercise like brisk walking, jogging, or swimming.
- Practice gentle stretches. Although it may take some time, if you maintain a regular routine, the benefits of stretching will help improve the extension of muscles and soft tissues in your back and reduce stiffness and pain.
- Go in the water. Aquatic therapy is a low-impact activity that helps ease back pain. The natural resistance from the water promotes muscle strength and reduces pressure on your bones and joints. Even if you’re not swimming, you can walk in waist-high water or perform arm and leg exercises against the resistance of the water.
Using the mind to help treat illness is at the core of healing approaches like traditional Chinese medicine (based on restoring the flow of energy and imbalances of yin and yang) and Ayurvedic medicine (which focuses on combining the body, mind, and spirit to prevent and treat disease). Mind-body techniques include:
- Meditation: The benefits of mediation are many—focused attention, increased calmness, coping with illness, and an overall improvement of well-being.
- Yoga: Focusing on body awareness and conscious breath work can relieve tension and is beneficial in providing back pain relief.
- Acupuncture: This technique involves penetrating the skin with needles, hand manipulation, and/or electrical stimulation. Acupuncture is among the oldest healing practices in the world.
- Tai Chi: This gentle exercise is effective in reducing back pain; the slow movements provide exercise while minimizing strain on the back.
All the mentioned details about back pain should give you a head start on countering the condition. You may also consider specific treatments which should prevent the triggers from pervasively affecting your health. Integrated Pain Management is composed of doctors who specialize in Musculoskeletal conditions. They also have the personalized approach, where patients will be having the treatments which exactly fit their health needs.Leave a reply →