Low back pain is the most common problem and it affects majority of population at one time or another. It is the second leading cause of visits to a doctor or a physical therapist, after the common cold.
What Exactly Is the Low Back Pain?
The low back, or lumbar spine, comprise of five bones, or vertebrae, stacked upon one another. Soft, spongy shock absorbers also known as intervertebral discs are found between the bones. These bones are protected by the spinal cord and nerves. Muscular attachments and multiple ligaments provide stability and mobility to the lumbar spine.
What Causes Low Back Pain?
The three most commonly found causes of low back pain are poor sitting posture, frequent forward bending, and lifting heavy items.
However, trauma may be a cause of low back pain, most often there is no obvious reason for the onset of symptoms. Therefore, it is thought that repetitive strain on the structures around the lumbar spine is the major cause of low back pain.
When to Seek Help Of A Physical Therapist?
Keep in mind, low back pain can be a serious problem and it is highly recommended to consult a physical therapist in Wayne or other qualified health care provider if low back symptoms are present and are considerably restricting function and mobility. Moreover, there are some signs and symptoms that require immediate medical attention. Here are some of these symptoms:
1. Loss of Bowel Or Bladder Function
If you are feeling that structures in the low back are compressing the spinal cord or nerves that control bowel and bladder function, loss of bowel or bladder control may occur. Most often, the main symptom is inability to urinate. If this occurs with onset of low back pain, it should be considered a medical emergency.
2. Reduced Muscular Control
If sudden loss of muscular control in the hip, calf, shin, thigh, or toes occurs, an immediate referral to a physical therapist is must. If you are not able to walk, rise from a chair, or walk up stairs, you may have a serious problem that needs immediate medical attention.
3. History Of Cancer Or Metastatic Disease
Though rare, it is always a good idea to seek a physical therapist if you have a recent onset of low back pain and a history of cancer. Simple tests can be done to ensure metastatic disease and proper treatment can be initiated.
4. Recent significant trauma
Often, low back pain can be brought on by trauma such as falls or motor vehicle accidents. If significant trauma has taken place and caused acute low back pain, a visit to a physician to determine a fracture is required before initiating treatment.