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Lower back pain: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment
At some point during our life, we go through bouts of back pain. Chronic back pain persists after a surgery or injury where the source is difficult to determine. Acute pain can become chronic pain for several reasons.
Once these reasons have been determined through medical assistance, treatment can decrease Lower back pain and evaluate mood and function.
Lower Back pain and associated symptoms can rant among the second most frequent medical complaints. Disability from Lower back pain is second only to the common cold as a cause of lost work time, and it is the most common cause of disability in people under 45 of age.
In the United States, the lifetime predominance of back pain is about 80%, with a one-year prevalence rate of 15% to 20%, the highest prevalence is in the 46 to 65 age group.
How does your back work?
The spine, also known as the spinal column or backbone, is one of the body’s most vital parts and provides us a great deal of strength and flexibility.
It is made of 24 bones, called vertebrae, one sitting on top of the other. These bones contain discs in between and many strong muscles and ligaments surrounding them for support. The bones in the tailbone at the back base are attached and have no discs in between.
A spinal cord connects to the brain through the base skull and the rest of the body by nerves that go through spaces between the spine’s bones. These nerves are called nerve roots.
As you age, the spine structures, such as discs, ligaments, and joints, age as well. The structures remain strong, but it is common for your back to get stiffer as you grow older.
What causes lower back pain?
Often back pain does not have a straightforward cause but may be due to one of the reasons below:
- Muscle sprain or strains
- Poor posture
- Shortage of exercise resulting in stiffening of the spine and weak muscles
And the things listed above, there are also specific conditions that are associated with pain felt in the back. It is crucial to remember that severe pain does not necessarily mean there is a problem. Some common conditions are listed below.
Sometimes the back problem is linked with pain in the legs, which begins after you begin to walk for a few minutes and then tends to recover swiftly when you sit down. This condition is called spinal stenosis.
It can happen from birth or can develop as we grow older. Problems are caused when something presses the small space in the middle of the spine, where the nerves are located. This space, known as the nerve root canal or spinal canal, can be squeezed by ligament or bone.
Symptoms affect both legs, but one may be severe than the other. The pain gets typically better when you sit down and rest, and some people realize they have little pain if they walk a little stooped.
Lower Back pain is sometimes linked with leg pains, and there may be tingling feeling or numbness. This condition is called sciatica. This is because a nerve in the spine is squeezed or presses. For many people with sciatica, leg pain can be the worst part, and sometimes they may have mild or no back pain at all.
Sciatica occurs due to a bulging disc pressing on the nerve. Discs are designed to bulge to move our spines smoothly, but these bulges also may catch a nerve root and produce pain that travels down the leg and foot.
As we age, the discs, bone, and ligaments in the spine can naturally weaken as they age. We all go through it to some degree as part of the growing progress, it does not have to be a problem, and not everyone will have a problem.
As we grow older, the spine discs become thinner, and the spaces between the vertebrae become narrower. Little pieces of bone, called osteophytes, may form at the vertebrae and facet joints’ edges.
Other rare conditions of back pain include:
- A tumor
- An infection
- Bone problems such as fractures
When to consult the doctor?
How do you know when that achy back pain is more than you can handle alone? If your Lower back pain is associated with any of the following symptoms, skip the home treatments, and consult your doctor. Fever Your back could be tight and achy from the flu, but a fever followed by backache also could be a symptom of a severe infection.
What you should expect: Your doctor can control infection. If it is an infection, antitoxins may be helpful. If your physician rules out an injection, a few days of rest can be beneficial. Lower Back pain may be a result of or a secondary consequence of an infection resulting in fever. After your back starts to recover, your doctor may suggest you slowly resume your everyday activities.
If you have had a severe trauma such as a car accident or a fall from a height, or if you have had a minor trauma and you are over the age of 50, your physician will take a severe look at your Lower back pain.
What you should expect: your doctor will most likely take an x-ray to look for a fracture. If no fractures are found, you might manage your pain with medicine and later recover with physical therapy.
Loss of bladder or bowel function
Lower Back pain teamed with loss of bladder or bowel control can be a sign of a rare but severe condition called equine cauda syndrome, in which the nerve roots in the lower end of the spinal cord have experienced sort of compression and become paralyzed. This can occur due to a herniated disk, tumor, spinal stenosis, trauma, or fracture to the spine.
What you should expect: to relieve the pressure that damages nerves and preserve nerve function, your physician will perform a process called a surgical decompression.
Lower Back pain can affect our lives and even become debilitating, but it goes away on its own in most cases. If your back pain is growing or not improving, or you have any of the signs stated above, consult a doctor or licensed healthcare professional who can advise you on treatment options.