What is Lower Back Pain?
Low back pain is a very common musculoskeletal condition affecting almost all age groups. It is caused by different physical conditions and symptoms vary according to the condition predisposing it. It can be classified as acute (less than 4 weeks), sub acute (4-12 weeks), or chronic (more than 12 weeks).
It is a condition manifesting dull, aching pain in the lumbar region of the back. Pain may be felt at the lowest end of the spine. This is referred as tailbone pain or coccyx pain. Others complain of pain in their sacroiliac joint especially in sacroiliac joint dysfunctions. Inflammation of the joints around vertebrae can also cause tremendous pain. Warmth, redness, and swelling around the lumbar area of the back may be perceptible as well.
- Lumbar strain is considered one of the common causes of lower back pain. It is due to the stretching of the ligaments, tendons, and/or muscles of the lower back.
- Nerve irritation can be due to: damage of the discs between the vertebrae, disc degeneration or viral infection (shingles).
- Pregnancy is one of the common causes of the lower back pain as the baby grow, the center of gravity shifts forward. To prevent falling forward, you might compensate by leaning back — which can strain the muscles in your lower back and contribute to back pain during pregnancy.
Congenital bone and joint conditions take a big role in lower back pains, especially when the condition brings about infection and inflammation.
Am I at Risk
Individuals who have improper posture when sitting, standing, or lying down usually get low back pains. Exercise enthusiasts who do constant bending of the back also develop some low back pains. Pregnant women also are at high risk for low back pains. As baby growing in mummy belly, additional weight of the baby causes change in posture of the mother due to shifting of the center of gravity forward. Patients with congenital anomalies at the back, especially bone and joint conditions, are definitely at greater risk for this condition.
Application of heat or cold compresses is initially done for mild cases. Limiting exercises that would further strain the back is also recommended. Heat, massage, ice, and electrical stimulation are proven to be effective in decreasing low back pains or lumbar pains. Exercises that would promote strengthening and restoring motion of the lower back are very helpful in alleviating pain and preventing recurrence. Once lower back pain are not alleviated by these procedures, seeking medical advice should be your next step.