Low Back Pain

The low or lower back is the area behind the stomach from the rib cage to the pelvis and is also called the lumbar region.

Low and lower back pain can vary from dull pain that develops gradually to sudden, sharp or persistent pain felt below the waist.

The complex system of spinal muscles, bones, discs and tendons in and near the lumbar spine can be damaged by several factors.

Unfortunately, almost everyone, at some point during life, will experience low back pain that may travel downward into the buttocks and sometimes into one or both the lower extremities.

Causes and Symptoms

The most common cause is muscle strain often related to heavy physical labour, lifting heavy objects, or forceful movement, bending or twisting into awkward positions, or standing/sitting in one position for too long.

Identifying the source of your pain is paying attention to your problem areas. Typical symptoms of lower back pain include:

  • Achy, dull pain
  • Muscle spasms
  • Pain that moves down one leg or to the groin, buttock or upper thigh
  • Stiffness
  • Difficulty in moving
  • Troubled sleep
  • Tingling or “pins-and-needles” sensations
  • Numbness
Diagnosis and Treatment

Your description of your back pain is very important for your doctor to diagnose your condition properly. It can be helpful to note when and where the back pain began, what activities you do, related symptoms and any chronic medical conditions.

Treatment for lower back pain depends upon the patient’s history and the type and severity of pain. The majority of lower back pain patients feel better within six weeks without surgery, and lower back pain exercises are almost always part of a treatment plan.

The following are usually prescribed –

Rest: Ceasing activity for a few days allows the injured tissue and even the nerve roots to begin to heal, which in turn will help relieve lower back pain. .

Heat and Ice Packs: Heat and/or cold therapy helps relieve most types of low back pain by reducing inflammation.

Exercise: Exercise is a key element of almost any lower back pain treatment plan.

Medications: A wide variety of over-the-counter and prescription medications is available to help reduce lower back pain.

If pain persists or worsens, more complex diagnostic and surgical procedures may be recommended.