When Should I See My Healthcare Provider
See your healthcare provider about your back pain if its severe or doesnt get better after a few weeks. See them immediately if:
- You feel weakness in your legs.
- Youre losing weight .
- Theres swelling in your back.
- The pain spreads down one or both of your legs.
If your pain isnt any better after four to seven days of treatment, you should contact your healthcare provider again. See your provider again as soon as possible if you now have back pain plus:
- Blood or pus in your poop.
When To Seek Medical Attention For Back Pain
Most episodes of lower back pain eventually resolve on their own, but there are times when you should seek urgent medical attention. Some of these situations include:
Patient is a child
Weakness, numbness and/or tingling sensations develop in the legs and/or feet
Loss of bladder or bowel control
Pain is severe, constant, suddenly or progressively worsens, and/or doesnt go away
Pain interrupts sleep
While some situations may warrant immediate intervention, most cases are not urgent and can be scheduled at a time convenient for the patient.
Treatment Options For Acute Lower Back Pain
Most low back pain is due to muscle strain and spasm and does not require surgery. To treat the pain, medications such as acetaminophen , nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents , gabapentin or pregabalin can be used. NSAIDs suppress inflammation, pain and fever by inhibiting certain inflammation-causing chemicals in the body. Acetaminophen reduces pain and fever, but does not inhibit inflammation. Gabapentin and pregabalin, medications that have been used for antiseizure activity, also have the ability to block pain. Opioids provide pain relief and may at times be prescribed to manage severe back pain. However, opioids have many problems, such as habituation, constipation and lightheadedness, and are avoided when possible and used for the shortest possible duration. Epidural injection is an option if the back pain does not respond to these treatments. Each person is different in terms of response to medication.
Other nonsurgical treatments for lower back pain include Intradiscal electrothermal therapy , nucleoplasty, and radiofrequency lesioning.
The Importance Of An Accurate Diagnosis
The physician will need to take a careful medical history and do a physical exam to look for certain red flags that indicate the need for an X-ray or other imaging test. In most cases, however, imaging such as X-ray, MRI , or CT scan is unnecessary.
There may also be certain clues in a patients medical history. Low back, nonradiating pain is commonly due to muscle strain and spasm. Pain that radiates into the buttock and down the leg may be due to , a condition in which a bulging disc presses on the sciatic nerve, which extends down the spinal column to its exit point in the pelvis and carries nerve fibers to the leg. This nerve compression causes pain in the lower back radiating through the buttocks and down one leg, which can go to below the knee, often combined with localized areas of numbness. In the most extreme cases, the patient experiences weakness in addition to numbness and pain, which suggests the need for quick evaluation.
A persistent shooting or tingling pain may suggest lumbar disc disease. A pain that comes and goes, reaching a peak and then quieting for a minute or two, only to reach a peak again, may suggest an altogether different cause of back pain, such as a kidney stone.
When tumor or infection are suspected, the doctor may order blood tests, including a CBC and sedimentation rate. .
Lower Back Pain Causes: 8 Reasons For Sudden & Chronic Pain
Sometimes, you know exactly why your back is hurting. Maybe you lifted something awkwardly and felt the pain right away. Or maybe your doctor has been warning you for years that your bad posture would lead to lower back pain.
But other times, the source of back pain can feel like a mystery.
“Your lumbar spine, located in your lower back, plays a crucial role in supporting the weight of your upper body. It’s also responsible for everyday movements, such as bending, twisting and coordinating the muscles in your hips, pelvis legs and feet,” says Dr. Kenneth Palmer, orthopedic surgeon specializing in spine surgery at Houston Methodist. “Due to heavy use, the bones, muscles, ligaments, disks and nerves found in your lumbar spine are quite susceptible to both injury and wear and tear over time causing pain in the lower back.”
Lower back pain symptoms include:
- Dull ache in your hips and/or pelvis
- Muscle spasms or tightness
- Sharp, tingling pain that starts in your lower back and travels down one leg
- Pain that worsens with sitting and quickly improves while walking
- Pain that is noticeably worse in the morning
“Typically, a person experiences some combination of these symptoms, which can develop suddenly or over time. In some cases, lower back pain can feel like it comes and goes flaring up now and then, but generally getting progressively worse over time,” explains Dr. Palmer.
Speaking of the various causes of lower back pain…
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Other Conditions That Cause Back Pain In Older Adults
We often see a range of less serious but still painful spine conditions in seniors. Most patients with these conditions will not require surgery. Physical therapy, medication, injectable anesthetics, or a combination of treatments usually can control symptoms.
- Degenerative disc disease, which can cause whole spine pain, and lumbar arthritis, which usually causes low-back pain, commonly develop with age and are considered wear-and-tear conditions.
- Sacroiliitis is an inflammation of the joints that connect your spine and pelvis. This condition can cause pain in the low back, glutes, and upper legs.
- Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory arthritis that causes patients spines to become inflexible, resulting in a continual hunched forward position and spine pain.
- We also check for adult degenerative scoliosis and kyphosis, spine-curving conditions that can result in back pain and weakness in the lower extremities.
Bird Dogs Build Core And Glute Strength
Coleman said that bird dogs strengthen your core as well as your glute muscles, which both support the back.
To perform the exercise, start in a tabletop position with your back flat and head facing down. Extend your left arm and right leg back and hold this position for a few seconds, before bringing both back down. Repeat with your right arm and left leg.
The balancing required to perform bird dogs builds a strong, stable core, he said. Lifting your legs also builds muscle in your glutes, which supports the base of your back.
How To Minimize Back Pain As You Age
Whether its from an old sports injury or a new injury from moving heavy furniture, lower back pain is nothing to ignore.
Research continues to show that lower back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide. So, its important to stay aware of lower back pain and do whatever you can to avoid or minimize it especially as you age.
Rest can often help, but its also important to keep moving. People are often surprised to hear that a sedentary lifestyle can lead to more pain, says Dr. Mansoor Aman, an interventional pain management physician at Aurora Health Center Oshkosh. When you dont move around much, the muscles that support your spine get weaker and may stiffen up. That makes low back pain even worse.
In addition to a sedentary lifestyle, conditions like arthritis, smoking, osteoporosis , and wear and tear on the vertebral discs all take their toll on your lower back.
To ease or help prevent lower back pain as you get older, Dr. Aman suggests gentle, low-impact exercises like walking, swimming or yoga. Strength training for the muscles of the back also can help. Even doing some simple stretches can help increase blood flow to the area and promote healing.
Here are some of the most common causes of lumbar pain and common treatments that can provide pain relief for about 12-18 months.
Chronic pain can be frustrating and overwhelming at times, says Dr. Aman. Continue to seek treatments that will help you get back to doing things you enjoy.
What Are The Treatments For Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain usually gets better with rest, ice and over-the-counter pain relievers. After a few days of rest, you can start to get back to your normal activities. Staying active increases blood flow to the area and helps you heal.
Other treatments for lower back pain depend on the cause. They include:
- Medications: Your provider may recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or prescription drugs to relieve pain. Other medications relax muscles and prevent back spasms.
- Physical therapy : PT can strengthen muscles so they can support your spine. PT also improves flexibility and helps you avoid another injury.
- Hands-on manipulation: Several hands-on treatments can relax tight muscles, reduce pain and improve posture and alignment. Depending on the cause of pain, you may need osteopathic manipulation or chiropractic adjustments. Massage therapy can also help with back pain relief and restore function.
- Injections: Your provider uses a needle to inject medication into the area thats causing pain. Steroid injections relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
- Surgery: Some injuries and conditions need surgical repair. There are several types of surgery for low back pain, including many minimally invasive techniques.
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What Research Is Being Done
The mission of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke is to seek fundamental knowledge of the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease. NINDS is a component of the National Institutes of Health , the leading supporter of biomedical research in the world.
As a primary supporter of research on pain and pain mechanisms, NINDS is a member of the NIH Pain Consortium, which was established to promote collaboration among the many NIH Institutes and Centers with research programs and activities addressing pain. On an even broader scale, NIH participates in the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee, a federal advisory committee that coordinates research across other U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agencies as well as the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.
The Most Common Causes Of Lower Back Pain Are A Strain Or Sprain
Whether you notice it or not, your lumbar spine gets put to work throughout the entire day.
Amid all of this work and motion, a lower back sprain or strain can result from an acute injury, such as one experienced while falling, lifting something too heavy or playing sports. A sprain or strain can also develop over time due to repetitive movements or poor posture.
“Straining a muscle or spraining a ligament are the most common causes of lower back pain,” says Dr. Palmer. “While they can be serious, these common causes of lower back pain aren’t long-lasting taking anywhere from a few days to heal or, at most, a few months.”
Your doctor can help you determine the particular course of self-care that can help heal your lower back pain.
“The treatment for a pulled back muscle or strained back ligament is fairly simple and can include pain and anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxers, ice to help reduce inflammation, heat to promote healing, and avoiding strenuous activity until the pain recedes,” explains Dr. Palmer. “The best course of care will depend on the severity of your injury as well as your overall core and lower body strength.”
If your lower back pain persists despite treatment, it may be time to consider other causes of lower back pain.
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Can Back Pain Be Prevented
Recurring back pain resulting from improper body mechanics may be prevented by avoiding movements that jolt or strain the back, maintaining correct posture, and lifting objects properly. Many work-related injuries are caused or aggravated by stressors such as heavy lifting, contact stress , vibration, repetitive motion, and awkward posture.Recommendations for keeping ones back healthy
Find The Right Pain Reliever
The obvious answer to a typical period pain level is finding pain relief in an over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen. If not ibuprofen, youll want to stick to another NSAID like aspirin or naproxen.
Acetaminophen is a common pain-relief alternative to ibuprofen. However, its not the best for menstrual pain because it lacks the anti-inflammatory benefits you may need when your uterine lining is the culprit. While acetaminophen can soothe discomfort, it is not considered an anti-inflammatory, and thus cant always reach the pain at the source.
If you dont like taking over-the-counter medication, there are other options for direct relief. You can find relief from pelvic and menstrual discomfort with our all-natural CBD suppositories.
Our Relief Melts with CBD are small and easy to insert, so they wont add to the stress your discomfort is already bringing to the table. If you havent considered using cannabinoids for soothing period symptoms before, rest assured that its very effective for period-related discomfort.
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How Can I Prevent Shoulder Pain
OrthoInfo: âShoulder Pain and Common Shoulder Problems,â âRotator Cuff and Shoulder Conditioning Program.â
Cleveland Clinic: âRotator Cuff Tendonitis,â âBone Spurs,â âShoulder Tendinitis.â
American Society for Surgery of the Hand: âShoulder Pain.â
American Academy of Family Physicians: âShoulder Pain.â
Mayo Clinic: âShoulder Pain,â âRotator Cuff Injury,â âArthroscopy.â
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: âShoulder Problems.â
Arthritis Foundation: âShoulder Injuries,â âArthritis and Diseases That Affect the Shoulders.â
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: âCommon Shoulder Injuries,â âDislocated Shoulder,â âClavicle Fracture,â âShoulder Joint Tear,â âRotator Cuff Tears,â âShoulder Impingement/Rotator Cuff Tendinitis.â
Stanford Medicine: âApproach To The Exam of The Shoulder.â
Johns Hopkins Medicine: âElectromyography .â
Texas Department of Insurance: âShoulder Injury Prevention Fact Sheet.â
University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics: âShoulder Injury Prevention.â
Merck Manual Home Edition.
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.
Put Out That Cigarette
We all know smoking is a serious health risk, and smokers are also more likely to experience back pain than nonsmokers. One reason for this is that nicotine restricts blood flow to the disks in the spine. This can cause them to dry out, crack, or rupture. Smoking also reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood, which causes a reduction in nourishment to the muscles and tendons in the back. An unhealthy, weak back is more vulnerable to accidental strains and pulls that cause back pain.
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Lower Back Pain During Your Period: Causes Diagnosis And Treatment
Many people experience bloating, headaches, and abdominal pain during their period. Another common symptom that people experience during their period is lower back pain. This pain often occurs as part of premenstrual syndrome . Less commonly, it can occur as a result of diseases such as endometriosis.
Back pain caused by your period may range from mild discomfort to debilitating pain that interferes with daily activities. Back pain associated with your period can start a few days before it starts and get better after your period is over. This type of back pain is typically muscular and caused by hormonal changes. Lets discuss how to manage lower back pain before, during, and after your period.
Age And Gender Issues
Age and gender are important factors to consider when diagnosing low back pain. In a young patient, a benign tumor of the spine called an osteoid osteoma may be the culprit. Inflammatory bowel disease in young people can be connected with spondylitis and sacroiliitis . Low back pain from disc disease or spinal degeneration is more likely to occur as people get older. Conditions such as abdominal aneurysm or multiple myeloma are also considered in older individuals.
Osteoporosis and fibromyalgia are much more common triggers of back pain in women than in men. Osteoporosis is a progressive decrease in bone density that leaves the bones brittle, porous and prone to fracture. Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder that causes widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and multiple tender points in the neck, spine, shoulders, and hips.
Urgent Advice: Ask For An Urgent Gp Appointment Or Get Help From 111 If:
You have back pain and:
- a high temperature
- you’ve lost weight without trying to
- there’s a lump or swelling in your back or your back has changed shape
- the pain does not improve after resting or is worse at night
- the pain is made worse when sneezing, coughing or pooing
- the pain is coming from the top of your back , rather than your lower back
What Questions Might A Healthcare Provider Ask To Help Diagnose Back Pain
Your healthcare provider will ask if you injured yourself, how long youve had back pain and how severe your pain is. They need to know other medical problems you have and what medications you take. If you have family members who have had similar issues, let your provider know. They might also ask questions such as:
- Are you able to work every day?
- Does what you do for a living involve lifting?
- Do any of your hobbies aggravate your back pain?
- Do you have any other symptoms?
- Where is your pain located?
- How does the pain affect your daily activities?
- What at-home treatments have you tried?
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How Is The Injection Done
The doctor uses imaging guidance such as fluoroscopy, ultrasound, and computed tomography scan to guide the needle to the correct diagnosed area.
An anesthetic is injected into the area where the needle will be administered to numb the area. The injection site is thoroughly cleaned during the procedure before injecting the medicine to avoid infection.
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