According to NHS, lower back pain is the major cause of disability in the UK. Lower back pain accounts for 11% of the population. 1 in every 4 person at some point in life suffers from lower back pain.
What is Lower back pain?
The lumbar spine or lower back is an area containing of bones, joints, nerves, ligaments, muscles and tendons. Lower back pain is the most common cause for visiting doctors. It occurs mostly between age 30 to 60. There is Acute back pain that occurs suddenly and lasts for days or weeks, and Chronic back pain that lasts for months and years. It is the most common cause of job related disability.
What are the Causes of Lower Back pain?
There are multiple causes of lower back pain, the most common are due to soft tissue injuries. There are also other factors that lead to this condition;
When you lift a heavy object, sharp movement, or repeated work can strain muscles in your back. Poor posture and continuous strain on muscles lead to lower back pain.
Ligaments connects the bones together , sprains occur when sudden overstretching and tearing affects the ligaments, this causes lower back pain.
Lumber disc herniation / bulging
Lumber discs provides cushion against bones and act like a shock absorber. Due to the impact, these discs could slip or rupture. When this happens it is referred to as herniated disc, this condition causes compression on the nerve roots that leads to lower back pain.
Sacroiliac joint dysfunction
Sacroiliac joint is formed between the sacrum and the pelvis bones. Sometimes this joint may be inflamed or injured. This is called sacroilitis. One of the causes of chronic lower back pain.
Sometimes a herniated disc compress the sciatic nerve which leads to sciatica. Pain, numbness and tingling sensation occurs in the lower back, thighs and legs.
Spinal stenosis is a condition in which the narrowing of the spinal columns occur due to the result of the spinal cord and the spinal nerves being compressed, resulting in lower back pain.
Abnormality in spine curvatures
Kyphosis, scoliosis and lordosis abnormalities in the lumbar spine curvatures. These are congenital conditions that puts pressure on nerves, ligaments, tendons, muscles and bones.
There are other health issues that causes lower back pain including; arthritis, spondylosis, spondylitis, fibromyalgia, kidney and bladder problems. All these can cause lower back pain.
How is Lower Back Pain Diagnosed?
Your doctor will take a thorough medical history and evaluate the medical condition with physical examination. They will look for muscle and nerve reflex and response.
Your doctor may also recommend imaging investigations like X-rays, ultrasound, CT scan and MRI. These tests helps to identify definitive causes like if there is bone, disc injury or any ligament problem causing lower back pain. EMG and NCS can be done for nerve problems.
How Lower Back Pain can be Treated?
The purpose of medical treatment is to reduce pain and improve quality of life. Here are different non-surgical treatment options for lower back pain:
- Home treatment/ self-care
In early lower back pain, self-care methods are helpful to reduce pain. These include rest, ice, compression and elevation called RICE protocol. Alternating between heat and ice application relaxes muscle spasm and lessen pain. If the pain does not go away within 72 hours the you must consult your doctor!
- Medical treatment
Common medications that your doctor may prescribe are Muscle relaxants like thiocolchicoside, NSAIDS( ibuprofen, naproxen), opiods analgesics for example Tramal which is effective for lower back pain but opiods painkillers should not be used for long term as they have addictive side effects.
- Back braces
Back braces provide comfort and helps with reducing pain. This is accomplished by allowing the back muscles to relax and minimise movement. Many people report of feeling better after using back braces.
- Lumbar Traction Device
Our OrthoPro - Multifunctional Back Lumbar Traction Device is developed and recommended by chiropractors, helping thousands across the world to naturally, safely, and effectively massage and treat lower back pain. Furthermore this device has clinically been proven to be capable of administering lower back therapies such as;
- Repeated Dynamic Traction
- Far Infrared Heat Massage
- Multi-Frequency Vibration
- Magnetic Therapy
- Red Light Therapy
- Electric Pulse Therapy.
- Physical therapy
Your doctor may also recommend physical therapies like massage, muscle strengthening exercises, stretching and spinal manipulations.
In severe cases and when medical treatment fails, then surgical procedure is an option for lower back pain. There are various surgical options including;
These procedures are carried out in severe lower back pain.
What are Preventions for Lower Back Pain ?
There are multiple methods to prevent lower back pain. Some prevention methods include; exercises that targets the muscles of the back and abdomen, muscle strengthening techniques, maintaining your weight, lifting any object carefully with proper posture and technique, maintain right posture during work, sleeping on hard and straight surfaces, sitting properly on chair and eating a healthy diet like fruits and vegetables.