Spine S E Educa ation - Backk Pain What Is Low L Back Pa ain? Low back pain p is a univers sal human experience -- almo ost everyone ha as it at some po oint. The lower back, which starts below the ribcage, r is calle ed the lumbar re egion. Pain herre can be intens se and is one of the top cause es of missed wo ork. Fortunatelyy, low back pain n often gets be etter on its own. When it doesn n't, there are efffective treatme ents. Symptom ms of Low Ba ack Pain Symptoms s range from a dull d ache to a stabbing s or sho ooting sensation. The pain ma ay make it hard to move or sta and up straight. Ac cute back pain comes on sudd denly, often aftter an injury from sports or he eavy lifting. Pain n that lasts more than three months is cons sidered chronic c. If your pain is s not better witthin 72 hours, you y should cons sult a doctor.Se evere back pain after a a fall or injjury should be checked out byy a health care professional. Other O warning signs s include a loss of bowel orr bladder contro ol, leg weaknes ss, fever, and pa ain when cough hing or urinatin ng. If you have any a of these symptoms along with you ur back pain, co ontact your doc ctor. Muscle Strain S or Scia atica? Back pain is almost alwayys related to the muscles in th he back or the coverings c of the muscle which h is called the fascia. f The kind off back pain thatt follows heavyy lifting or exerc cising too hard is often caused d by muscle strain. But somettimes leg pain can be related to a disc that bulges or ruptures s. If a bulging or o ruptured disc c presses on a spinal s nerve, pa ain may run fro om the buttockk down one or both b legs. This is called sciatic ca. Back Pain Culprits Y Your Job - If your y job involve es lifting, pulling g, or anything th hat twists the spine, s it may co ontribute to bac ck pa ain. However, sitting s at a deskk all day comes s with risks of itts own, especia ally if your chairr is uncomforta able or yo ou tend to slouch. Y Your Bag- Althhough you may wear your pursse, backpack, or o briefcase ove er your shoulde er, it is the lowe er back th hat supports the upper body --- including any additional weig ght you carry. So S an overstufffed bag can stra ain th he lower back, especially e if you u carry it day affter day. If you must tote a he eavy load, consider switching to t a w wheeled briefcas se. Y Your Workoutt - Overdoing itt at the gym or golf course is one o of the mos st common cau uses of overextended muscles leading m g to low back pa ain. You're espe ecially vulnerab ble if you tend to t be inactive during the work week an nd then spend hours at the gyym or softball field on the wee ekend. Y Your Posture - Mom was rigght when she said, "Stand up straight!" s Your back supports weight best wh hen yo ou don't slouch h. This means sitting s with good lumbar support for your low wer back, shoulders back, with h feet re esting on a low stool. When sttanding, keep weight w evenly ba alanced on both feet. H Herniated Dis sc - The spine'ss vertebrae are cushioned by gel-like discs thhat are prone too wear and tear from ag ging or injuries. A weakened disc d may rupturre or bulge, putting pressure on o the spinal ne erve roots. This s is kn nown as a hern niated disc and can cause inte ense leg pain. Bulging B or herniated discs do not n usually cau use ba ack pain. Chronic Conditions C - Several chronic conditions can c lead to low back pain. Sp pinal stenosis is a narrowing of o the space arround the spina al cord, which can c put pressurre on the spinal ne erves.Stenosis causes leg pain primarily but the arthritic co onditions that le ead to stenosis s can result in back b pa ain. Sp pondylitis referrs to chronic ba ack pain and stiffness due to severe s inflamm mation of the sp pinal joints. Sp pondylolisthesis refers to a malalignment m off the spinal bon nes. This is ofte en a cause of back b and or leg pain. Fiibromyalgia causes widesprea ad muscle aches, including ba ack pain. Who's at Risk for Low w Back Pain?? Most people get their firstt taste of low back pain in their 30s. The odd ds of additional attacks increa ase with age. Otther our low back ma ay hurt include: reasons yo Be eing overweigh ht In nactive lifestyle Jo obs that require e heavy lifting are for Low Back B Pain Home Ca Back pain due d to muscle strain s will usua ally get better on its own, but you y can take stteps to make yo ourself more comfortablle. A heating pa ad or warm batths may provide e temporary pa ain relief. The Bed Rest Debate e When your back hurts, you may not feel like getting outt of bed. But if the t problem is muscle strain, doctors recom mmend returning to o your normal activities a as soon as possible. Studies sugge est that any mo ore than a day or o two of bed re est can actuallly make the paiin worse and may m reduce mus scle tone and flexibility. ng Low Backk Pain Preventin There's no sure way to prevent back pain n as you age, but b there are ste eps you can takke to lower you ur risk: Sttay at a healthyy weight. Exxercise regularly. Lift with your leg gs, not your bac ck. M Make sure your work w station po osition isn't con ntributing to yo our pain. Diagnosing Low Backk Pain To help you ur doctor diagn nose the source e of low back pain, be specific c in describing the t type of pain n, when it starte ed, related sym mptoms, and an ny history of ch hronic condition ns. Your doctorr will probably not n need to ord der X-rays, CT or o MRI scans befo ore starting trea atment. Yoga If back pain n doesn't go aw way in three mo onths, there's evvidence that yo oga can help. In n one study, people who took 12 weeks of yo oga classes ha ad fewer sympttoms of low bac ck pain than pe eople who were e given a book about a care for back b pain. The benefits b lasted several s months s after the classes were finish hed. The study suggests s conventional stretching also works just as well. Make M sure your instructor is exxperienced at te eaching people with back pain n and will modiffy or you as neede ed. postures fo Physical Therapy If back pain n has left you in nactive for a lon ng time, a rehabilitation progrram can help yo ou strengthen your y muscles and a get back to o your daily activities. A physic cal therapist ca an guide you through stretche es, strength exe ercises, and low wimpact cardio that will help you be fitter without straining your back. Strengthe ening the Ba ack Two types of strength-training moves th hat may benefitt the lower backk are flexion an nd extension exxercises. In flexion exercises, you y bend forwa ard to stretch th he muscles of the t back and hips. In extensio on exercises, yo ou bend backw ward to develop the e muscles that support the sp pine. One example is doing leg g lifts while lying on your stom mach. Dependin ng on the cause of o your back pa ain, there are so ome exercises you y should nott do. If you have e back pain, ma ake sure to talkk to your doctor about what exxercises are sa afe for you. Spinal Manipulation Chiropracto ors and some osteopathic o doctors use spina al manipulation n to treat low ba ack pain by app plying pressure e with their hands s to bones and surrounding tis ssues. This trea atment is not appropriate a for everyone. Massage e Therapy Massage may m relieve chro onic low back pain, p especially when combine ed with exercise and stretchin ng. Researchers s noted patie ents who did all 3 were able to o move around easier and had d less short term m and long term m pain. Acupuncture Can acupuncture treat ba ack pain? The evidence is mixe ed. A study of several s hundred d people with lo ong-lasting bac ck pain prising results. Those T who had d simulated acu upuncture (invo olving toothpickks tapping the skin) got the sa ame found surp benefits as s those who had d real acupuncture with needles. After eight weeks, both grroups had greater relief than people p who did no ot have acupunc cture. nagement Pain Man Your docto or may prescrib be medication or o may refer you u to a pain man nagement docttor to manage your y chronic ba ack pain. Medicatio ons Mild back pain p often feels s better with ovver-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetam minophen, ibup profen, or napro oxen. Pain-relieving creams may be helpful forr muscle aches s. For severe pa ain or chronic pain, p your docto or may recomm mend prescription medication. s Injections If simpler therapies and medications m are en't helping, you ur doctor may recommend r injjections to the back. One procedure, called a nerve root block, targ gets irritated ne erves. Injections for back pain n usually contaiin steroid medication n. Surgery If long-lasting back pain is s interfering witth your daily liffe, and other tre eatments have not provided re elief, you may be b a f surgery. Depending on the e cause of your pain, a surgeon may remove a herniated dis sc, widen the sp pace candidate for around the e spinal cord, an nd/or fuse two spinal vertebra ae together.