Lower Back Pain Causes, Symptoms, Treatments and Exercises
Lower back pain is pain felt and travels in the ribs particularly in the back or in the upper part of legs. This pain starts suddenly and could be the follow up of strain or an injury. Sometimes the pain may not have anatomical cause. Sit up or turn over posture may be difficult and the worse could be bending or sitting. Even a sneeze or a cough can be painful.
Back pain normally gets resolved within weeks but the pain undergone by the patients is unbearable. Conservational treatments are normally taken for lower back pain since it is temporary and slowly resolve with time.
For a speedy recovery, proper treatment has to be started only after knowing the exact cause for its occurrence.
The main reason for lower back pain can be Lumbar muscle strain and ruptured disc or herniated disc. Disc damage in the inter vertebral column leads to Discogenic lower back pain and this could be diagnosed using discogram. But this in no way relates to herniated disc where the back gets pressed to the nerve. Aging population come across Spinal stenosis as the spinal canal is thinned. This may happen due to arthritis or any other specific conditions. Any joint ache is termed arthritis and particularly on the spine creates lower back pain.
Spinal stenosis causes back pain in the aging population. As we age, the spinal canal can become constricted, due in part to arthritis and other conditions. If the spinal canal becomes too tight, back pain can be the result. Spondylolisthesis occurs due to the instability of adjacent vertebras which start to slip. This results in unstable spine and ends in lower back pain. Osteoporosis leads to many orthopedic complications and is mostly referred as the compression fractures of vertebral column. This weakens the bones and hence the possibilities of getting fractures are more .If back pain continues for 6 weeks or less it’s referred as acute. If this continues for less than 12 weeks it is described as sub-acute. It’s termed as chronic if it persists for more than 3 months.
Diagnosis is helped by blood tests and scan but not to a greater extent and X rays are not advised due to high radiation. Muscle strain heals quickly as the blood supply is good and carries the needed nutrients with proteins for healing. Bed rest is advised for severe pain but not for two days or more. Hot or cold application eases the pain to a certain extent. People who are active with good physique can avoid low backache, as there will be regular stretch of muscles. The supporting muscles of the spine are extensors, which include back and gluteal muscles, Flexors, which comprise abdominal and iliopsoas muscles and the last one is the side muscles also called as rotators. It’s also referred as Obliques .Not all these muscles are used in day-to-day life and they get weakened with age.
Lower backache exercise program should combine stretching and strengthening exercises with aerobics. Common symptoms of lower back pain for people less than 60 year old will be pain in legs or numbness and pain during movement and sitting. Older people will have symptoms like increase of back pain during the morning and evening periods with stiffness in the back and. pain is also felt downwards in the legs. Psychological reasons play main role on pain levels and so person’s attitude and situation plays an active role.
Neurological symptoms like weakening, feeling of numbness or tingling sometimes accompany pain. Immediate attention is needed if there is a dysfunction in bladder or in the bowel and weakness or numbness in the groin.
Precautions like avoidance of stress and maintaining proper weight with regular exercise help in eliminating the problems of lower back pain.
The answer to a healthy back is appropriate exercise.
The problems associated with back pain can be minimized with exercises. It is widely known that regular exercises will improve the appearance and health in general, but very few realize the benefits that good physical conditioning can have on their back pain.
The benefit of exercises for the back depends on the following three key principles:
To attain satisfactory aerobic fitness.
To focus part of the exercising on the muscle groups that supports the back.
To avoid exercises that cause heavy stresses on the back
The right kind of exercise program helps in keeping the back pain under control and can make it easier to continue doing the daily chores. A break from vigorous exercise can be taken if the pain becomes worse. A Doctor or physiotherapist can be consulted before starting an exercise program for deciding on the type of exercises that can be done to relieve back pain and to stay fit.
Warm up is important before exercise and deep inhaling has to be repeated before each exercise. Regular exercise helps a lot and if it is skipped for a day, unavoidably walking can compensate it, to some extent.
Exercises to strengthen the back and hip muscles:
Wall slides exercise helps to strengthen the back and hip muscles. Leg muscles also get relieved. By standing against a wall on the back, try to slide down with knees bent. The bend should be 90 degrees and count till 5. Then come back to standing posture. This has to be continued for five times.
Raising the leg also helps in strengthening back and hip muscles. Lay down on the stomach. Try to tighten the muscles of a leg and bring it up. Count till 10 and bring it down. Continue this for 5 times each for both the legs.
Sitting up partially strengthens the abdomen muscles. Lie on the back and keep the knees bent. Raise the head and shoulder above the floor and try to reach the knees with hands. Leg rising also benefits stomach and hip muscles.
An aerobic conditioning program for 30 minutes, thrice a week is ideal for overall fitness. Recommended aerobic exercise includes Bicycling, swimming and brisk walking. Aggravation of low back pain can happen if step aerobics and exercises like jumping and running are practiced. Aerobic exercises make the heart and other muscles consume oxygen more efficiently.
Swinging back legs could strengthen the muscles of hip and back. Stand in the back of a chair and raise a leg up and down without bending the knee. Repeat this for each leg. Posture training for sitting, standing, sleeping and even during motion is needed if posture is a factor. The type of shoes viz. High Heels that are worn can also affect the posture by adding more stress on the lower back by changing the posture.
Stretching exercises can be done for keeping the muscles flexible and less prone to injury.
There are different forms of physical therapy viz. Passive Physical therapy and Active Physical therapy. Passive physical therapy includes Heat/Ice packs, TENS units and Iontophoresis. Active Physical therapy is the exercises like Stretching for back pain exercise, Low-impact aerobic conditioning and strengthening for back pain exercise.
While there are merits if a pattern of good conditioning is followed the wrong type of exercise may actually worsen the low back pain. Activities that pass on too much stress on the back like lifting heavy weights, jumping, running, step aerobics and climbing are not advised. Slow Cycling on a recumbent stationary bike can also relieve back stress. To sum up, exercise will decrease the severity and frequency of lower back pain and can be prevented when a comprehensive exercise program is followed.
In summary lower back pain relief can be achieved quickly and easily by following a these few simple steps. Firstly achieve relief with a good natural anti-inflammatory. Next start a simple aerobic exercise program, and finally introduce some targeted lower back pain strengthening exercises and stretches into your weekly schedule.
These simple steps will ensure that you will rid yourself of back pain in the shortest possible time, and will greatly reduce the chances of any re occurrence.