Of all the medical ailments individuals experience, low back pain is one of the most common. But there are many reasons for low back pain. To many peoples' surprise, low back pain is not always caused by lifting something too heavy or a slip and fall. For that reason, let's take a look at a few of the causitive factors of low back pain.
1. Lumbar Muscle Strain
One of the biggest reasons for low back pain is a straining of the lumbar muscles. Many people can't even remember what they did to cause the strain. Not picking up objects in the correct manner, sitting without moving for an prolonged time period, or even recreational sports can all put a strain on your lumbar muscles.
2. Nerve Impingement
Between each of your vertebrae, nerves branch off of your spinal cord and exit into your body. If one or more of your vertebra gets twisted and out of place (i.e. subluxated), this could "pinch" one of your spinal nerves. Pain could then result in the area of the nerve impingement or the pain could follow the path of the nerve and radiate into your body.
3. Lumbar Spine Arthritis
Although arthritis is most commonly associated with joints in the finger, knees and shoulders, the spine has many articulating joints which are also vulnerable to arthritis. Arthritis may be the effect of a prior trauma or injury, or it may be merely a consequence of the natural process of getting older.
4. Bulging Disc
Separating each of your vertebrae are discs. In the center of each disc is a gel-like substance that acts somewhat as a shock absorber. Because of injury or trauma to the spine, discs can become damaged. The gel-like substance can create a herniation of the disc which resembles a bulge on a damaged inner tube of a tire. The bulging disc can then impinge upon the adjacent spinal nerve. In acute circumstances, a bulging disc could rupture.
Low Back Pain Diagnosis
The good news is that most lower back pain goes away on it's own. But if your back pain remains or gets worse after several days, it's recommended that you see a physician.
A routine medical evaluation with fundamental orthopedic tests can help establish the actual issue. X-rays are also part of the standard diagnosis protocol. Depending on the results of the initial exam and tests, an MRI may be required to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment For Low Back Pain
Depending on the severity of the pain, medication, muscle relaxers or a local injection initially might be needed to make the pain manageable. However, this pain relief is usually only temporary and the pain will recur unless the underlying cause of the problem is treated.
A conservative treatment approach like physical therapy and/or chiropractic adjustments will often correct the majority of low back pain problems. In severe cases where the body does not respond and the pain persists, surgery might be required to repair the affected area.
When You Should Visit A Doctor
As stated above, low back pain often resolves itself without any medical intervention. However, if your back pain persists for more than a few days or keeps you up at night, it's strongly recommended that you see a doctor for a in depth evaluation to pinpoint the problem, then get appropriate treatment to correct the problem.