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Lower Back Pain: Causes, Relief, and Treatment

Diane Luke
Senior Editor, TipsHire

Almost everyone has faced at least once the lower back pain. The lumbar (lower back) zone makes the connection between the top and the bottom of the body and it supports most of the body’s weight. Because of these roles, a person can easily hurt when he lifts up weights, stretches, or twists.

The good news is that most back pain disappears within a few weeks of minimal care. However, if the pain does not disappear within two weeks, you should consult your doctor because the lower back pain may also be a symptom of herniated disk or lumbar stenosis.

Lower Back Pain Causes

Most lower back pains are caused by a combination of factors such as the muscular overuse, muscle stiffness, or injuries to the muscles or ligaments supporting the spinal cord.

Many specialists believe that over time, the chronic overuse of the back muscles can lead to a general imbalance in the structure of the spine and this causes a constant tension in the muscles, ligaments, bones, and intravertebral discs, resulting in a greater back exposure to repeated injuries.

Causes of lumbar pain tend to be related. For example, after a muscular problem, it is quite possible that the lower back to be used differently because some parts of the back are used more intensely, or moving in new ways with which they are not used to, in order to replace the affected muscles functions. These parts become, in turn, exposed to injuries.

The most common causes of back pain are:

  • the insertion of muscles, ligaments, sacroiliac joints or coccyx. This may be the result of a sudden injury or overuse
  • pressure on nerve roots in the vertebral canal – pressing nerve roots can be caused by disc herniation, by repeated vibrations or repeated movements (such as car or sportive activity), a sudden and strong stretch, or an increased pressure on the lumbar region
  • osteoarthritis that usually occurs with aging
  • spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis – vertebral defects that cause a vertebra to slide over another, conditions that can be aggravated by certain activities
  • vertebral stenosis or thinning of the vertebral canal – it develops with age
  • scoliosis and cystinosis
  • compression – more common in postmenopausal women, or after long-term use of corticosteroids.
  • fracture of the vertebrae caused by a strong pressure, such as that caused by a car or bicycle accident, a direct kick on the spine, or compression.

Less common cervical problems that cause lower back pain include:

  • ankylosing spondylitis – it is a form of inflammation of the joints most commonly affecting the spine
  • bacterial infections – bacteria are usually transported to the vertebral column through the bloodstream from an infection produced elsewhere in the body, or as a result of intravenous drug administration
  • metastases occurring in the bones or spinal ligaments or in the roots of the spinal nerves
  • Paget’s disease that causes abnormal bone growth, most often affecting the pelvis, spine, cranial, chest, or legs.
  • Scheurmann’s blade, in which one or more bones of the vertebral column (vertebrae) can deform, causing the curvature of the spine, most commonly in the chest region

Other medical problems that can cause pain similar to lower back pain include:

  • Inflammatory pelvic pain
  • Aortic issues
  • Peptic ulcer
  • Biliary gastric affections
  • Pancreatitis
  • Urinary tract disorders such as urinary tract infections or renal lithiasis
  • Prostate disorders

The mental condition also has an influence on the level of pain felt and especially if it becomes chronic. People who are depressed or stressed are most likely to have chronic back pain.

Lower back pain: Relief

If a person suffering from a back pain at some point, it is likely that these pain will recur. In order not to have any back pain and to avoid recurrence it is good too:

  • correct the posture when walking or sitting position
  • exercise regularly – walking, swimming, or cycling (before exercising, a warm-up is always needed)
  • always wear comfortable tennis shoes, with a low heel and a good grip
  • sleep on one side and use a medium mattress, in the matter of firmness
  • do not lift too heavy weights – when lifting heavy weights is absolutely necessary to control the position of your body by keeping the knees bend and the back straight
  • control your body weight – a man who is overweight, presenting fat deposits around his waist, puts additional pressure on the lumbar area
  • quit smoking – smoking reduces the blood flow and prevents healing

If a person stays for long periods in a sitting or standing position:

  • the body posture should always be controlled – the person must stand straight with the shoulders pulled back
  • a chair that supports the back very well should be used
  • regular breaks to walk around should be taken

Alternative therapies for treating lumbar pain may also be chosen. While some are treatments for pain relief in the short term, others provide the necessary means for the person to keep the lower back pain under control for all his life. Some of these methods are new and have not been researched very well.

Methods to relief lower back pain are:

  • Taking a hot bath – the heat helps to increase the muscle’s elasticity, so take a hot bath for 20 minutes. If sea salt is added in the bathtub, it will reduce the inflammation and relieve the back pain, giving a pleasant relaxing state. It’s one of the most pleasant natural remedies for back pain.
  • Applying some ice – ice leads to the decrease of inflammation and the elimination of the discomfort because the nerves no longer send painful signals to the brain. Put the ice in a towel and keep it on the affected area for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Drinking milk – Bones are made of calcium, and most often the calcium intake comes from milk and other dairy products. Women should take care to include as much calcium as possible in their diet to avoid osteoporosis since after menopause they are more susceptible to lower back pain. To get rid of and prevent lower back pain, you need to consume calcium-rich foods that strengthen your bones and protect your spine, such as cabbage, broccoli, spinach, fish, and vitamin D-rich foods. You can also opt for a dietary supplement containing calcium and magnesium or you can eat foods rich in magnesium, such as green vegetables, potatoes, bananas, cereals, seeds, milk, fish, or soy.
  • Drinking Chamomile tea – the tea from this plant (Chamomile) calms the muscular tissue. Add 1 spoon of chamomile flowers to a cup of boiling water and infuse for 15 minutes. Drink daily, up to three, to lose the tension accumulated in the muscular tissue of the lower back.

Lower back pain: Treatment

There is a wide range of treatments for lower back pain but the recommended treatment is depending on the cause of pain and its duration.

Most people find that lower back pain is attenuating or even disappearing within a few weeks, so there is a great chance that the pain will disappear very quickly, with a home-based treatment.

The treatment for the acute lower back pain.

Acute lower back pain is that pain lasting less than 3 months. Most acute lower back pain decreases in intensity if you’ll administer pain medications such as acetaminophen or pain-relieving medicines, or anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen.

The treatment for the chronic lower back pain.

The chronic lower back pain is that pain that lasts for more than 3 months. Chronic pain requires, quite often, psychiatric counseling in addition to the medical treatment because the pain has a negative effect on both the body and the mind. It is good to consult a psychologist from whom you can develop the necessary skills to control the pain and the stress caused by the long period of pain. The person can also participate in various specialized programs.

The most successful programs are usually those that combine mild physical exercises, activities that develop the body functions, and pain management techniques.

Methods of relieving from the chronic lower back pain are:

  • Physical back exercises are very effective in treating and controlling the chronic lower back pain. Normal daily activities and exercise therapy can be effective in relieving pain and can lead to a long-term improvement in the general well-being. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can reduce both acute and chronic lower back pain
  • Stimulation of the spine can be used for chronic lower back pain if other treatments did not work.

Also, multidisciplinary rehabilitation programs offer a wide variety of treatments with the help of several specialists in different fields. These programs are considered to be one of the most effective approaches to treating the chronic lower back pain.

Lower back pain is disturbing and can interfere with your daily activities, so it is recommended to take immediate action against it. If the pain lasts for longer than 3 months, you should visit your doctor for the proper treatment.

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Lower Back Pain: Causes, Relief, and Treatment
Almost everyone has faced at least once the lower back pain. The lumbar (lower back) zone makes the connection between the top and the bottom of the body and it supports most of the body's weight. Because of these roles, a person can easily hurt when he lifts up weights, stretches, or twists.
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