This is a guest post by Dr. Vikram Chauhan.
Lower back pain is a common
Causes of Back Pain
Soft tissue injuries and some mechanical issues are the most common cause of lower back pain. The injuries may include damage to the intervertebral discs, compression of nerve roots and improper movement of the spinal joints, among others.
Types of Back Pain
1.) Nonspecific low back pain – Nonspecific back pain may occur suddenly and one is not sure about the actual cause of the pain.
2.) Nerve root pain
- Nerve root pain is the pain felt along the course of the nerve that comes out of the spinal cord. The nerve gets irritated or pressed on.
- Back pain may be related to a disc that bulges or ruptures (slipped disc).
- This ruptured disc presses on the sciatic nerve leading to pain running from the buttock down to one leg. This is called sciatica.
- The pain is felt down a leg even to the foot.
- The pressure on the nerve can lead to pins or needles, numbness or weakness in any part of the buttock, leg or foot.
- Sciatic or muscle strain is experienced mostly due to lifting heavy objects or exercising too hard.
The more serious type of nerve root problem is called a Cauda Equina Syndrome.
Pulled Muscles or Ligament
- Another most common cause of pain in the lower back is torn or pulled muscles or ligament.
One’s job contributes to the back pain also, for example, sitting at a desk all day in an uncomfortable chair or a job requiring lifting, pulling or doing things that
Carrying heavy weight can strain the lower back too.
Lumbar Herniated Disc: wherein the discs cushioning the spine’s vertebrae may rupture and put pressure on the spinal nerve roots.
Other common causes of back pain
- Degenerative disc disease,
Facetjoint dysfunction, Sacroiliac joint dysfunction, Spinal stenosis – wherein the space around the spinal cord gets narrowed and put pressure on the spine nerves
- Spondylolisthesis – severe inflammation of spinal joints
- Trauma, Compression fracture or osteoporosis – wherein the spine’s vertebrae develop compression fractures as the bones become porous and brittle
- Fibromyalgia and Auto-Immune Diseases are some other causes leading to pain in the lower back.
Among the less Common Causes of Lower Back Pain, one is inflammation of the joints (arthritis) of the spine. Some bone disorders, tumors, infection, hernias, and pressure from structures near the spine may also lead to lower back pain.
Symptoms of Lower Back Pain
- A lower back pain can happen suddenly or can develop slowly over time from some repetitive movements. It can develop for no apparent reasons in most cases.
- The most common symptom is a dull, aching pain that remains within the lower back (axial pain). The pain is accompanied by muscle spasms, limited mobility, and aches in the hips and pelvis.
- The pain could be stabling pain or the one that radiates down the leg. The pain can make it hard to stand up straight for some patients.
- The pain is usually eased by lying down flat but can become worse when one moves the back, cough or sneeze.
- Pain is considered chronic if it lasts for more than three months. It generally involves a disc problem, a joint problem, and an irritated nerve root.
- If there is a loss of bowel or bladder control, numbness in the groin area, leg weakness, fever and pain when coughing or urinating along with lower back pain, one needs to contact the doctor.
Natural Remedies for lower back pain
Nonspecific back pain usually goes away on their own. For temporary relief, one can put a heating pad or take warm baths with Epsom salt.
- Soaking for 20 minutes with Epsom salt or magnesium sulfate works its way through the skin into the sore muscles.
Stretching and Practicing Yoga
- Natural remedies include stretching and practicing yoga. Stretching loosens up the tense muscle and strengthens the ones that need help.
- Yoga incorporates many stretching maneuvers that reduce muscle tension. Laughter Yoga helps in increasing the oxygen intake and reduce stress.
- Yoga combined with deep breathing exercises is the best way to relieve back pain naturally.
Gently massaging a sore or tense muscle helps to loosen it up and relieve pain. Massage promotes circulation and
- One needs to opt for an alkaline diet to improve back pain. Herbs like Devil’s claw and Willow bark can be taken daily.
- Sleeping on the floor with a pillow underneath the feet can help with the back.
- For side sleepers, it is advised to put a pillow between knees. Sleeping on the stomach is not recommended at any time.
Final Tips and Advice
- The usual advice for people experiencing lower back pain in which the exact cause is not clear is to keep active and do normal activities as much as possible.
- In case of muscle strain, taking bed rest actually makes the pain worse and reduces muscle tone and flexibility.
- For some the back pain goes away on its own or with the use of pain relief medications, for some the pain may recur from time to time.
- The ones experiencing chronic or persistent pain need proper treatment.
- The pain that gets worse even after home treatments are the ones that are accompanied by stomach pain should be considered seriously.
- Spinal manipulation by applying pressure with hands to the
bones,and surrounding tissues is a treatment option in some cases.
Guest post by Dr. Vikram Chauhan, MD –