Acupuncture How Do You Know If Lower Back Pain Is Serious
This ancient Chinese recovery method might bring relief for people with chronic low back pain. Gently positioning slim, dry needles right into your skin at details points might trigger the release of endorphins, your bodys natural painkillers, or it may change your mind chemistry so you have a greater discomfort tolerance. You ought to utilize it together with other treatments.
Common Causes Of Back Pain
Back pain is a generalized condition with many possible causes. Acute pain is usually caused by a specific trigger, often injury or strain. Chronic pain, which lasts longer than 3-6 months, is much less common.
According to the Mayo Clinic, causes of back pain include :
- Muscle or ligament strain: Repeated heavy lifting or a sudden awkward movement may strain back muscles and spinal ligaments. If your muscles are weak, straining them regularly can cause painful muscle spasms.
- Bulging or ruptured disks: Spinal disks act as cushions between the bones in your spine. The inside of these disks is soft and can bulge or rupture during injury. This, in turn, may apply pressure to a spinal nerve. Oddly enough, its possible for this to occur without you experiencing back pain. An x-ray is all you need to diagnose the condition.
- Arthritis: Osteoarthritis can affect any bone in your body, even the spine and pelvic bone. This causes pain in the lower back.
- Skeletal irregularities: Scoliosis, a condition causing spinal curvature, is a possible cause of chronic back pain. Scoliosis is treated by wearing a specialized back brace and may require corrective surgery.
Chronic back pain can also be the symptom of a dangerous or even fatal disease.
How Can I Prevent Low Back Pain
You can prevent low back pain with physical therapy, exercises, and stretching. Supports and back belts do not prevent low back pain.
Keep in shape, lose weight if you are overweight, and exercise regularly. Being inactive can lead to low back pain. Regular exercise like walking, swimming, or biking is good for your back. These activities put less stress on your back than sitting and standing.
Don’t lift heavy objects by bending over at the waist. Bend your hips and knees and then squat to pick up the object. Keep your back straight and hold the object close to your body. Don’t twist your body while you are lifting.
If you have to sit at your desk or drive for a long time, take breaks to stretch.
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How To Tell If Your Lower Back Pain Is Muscle
by Dr. Don DuffAug 20, 2019
The low back is a fairly complicated structure, so its no wonder the majority of peopleexperts estimate up to 80% of usexperience pain in this area of our bodies at some point in our lives. In fact, back pain is one of the most common reasons for visits to the doctors office.
The key to relieving back pain is understanding the cause. But diagnosing the of a patients pain isnt always a straightforward exercise. It could be muscle, joint, or disc-related in some cases, it may even arise from issues unrelated to the back. So how can you tell if your back pain is muscle- or disc-related, or attributable to something else entirely? Well cover all the possibilities in this post.
What Can I Do To Help With The Pain
Try not to do things that make the pain worse, like sitting for a long time, lifting heavy objects, or bending or twisting.
Stick to your normal activities as much as you can. Gentle exercise like walking helps you get better more quickly.
Some over-the-counter medicines can help pain or swelling. These include ibuprofen , naproxen , and acetaminophen . Your doctor may give you medicine to help with pain or muscle spasms.
Try using heating pads or taking a warm bath or shower.
Your doctor can show you some gentle exercises to help stretch your back and make the muscles stronger.
A physical therapist, massage therapist, or chiropractor may help with your pain and make you feel better.
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Sensations That Might Indicate A Medical Emergency
1. Sharp pain rather than a dull ache: This could indicate a torn muscle or ligament, or a problem with an internal organ in the back or side.2. Radiating pain: This pain “moves” or shoots to the glutes or legs, which could indicate a nerve compression condition.
3. Sudden weakness in the legs: Limb weakness can be caused by compressed nerves in the spine due to conditions like sciatica or spinal stenosis. However, sudden leg weakness could also indicate a stroke.4. Incontinence: Back pain paired with inability to control the bowels or bladder might be a sign of serious nerve compression or a spine infection, such as discitis or meningitis.5. Numbness or pins and needles in the groin or glutes: This is known as saddle anesthesia and is also a sign of a serious nerve or spine condition.
If you have leg weakness, incontinence, and numbness together, you might have cauda equina syndrome, a serious illness characterized by spinal cord nerve damage. This is a medical emergency, and patients usually need surgery immediately to decompress the nerves and reduce permanent damage.
Related reading: Get help for back, neck, and leg pain caused by spinal stenosis
Tips To Strengthen Your Back
Flexion and extension exercises are commonly used to prevent low back pain. Be sure to review with the doctor any program you are considering.
Easy Low Back Exercises
- Ankle Pumps: Lie on your back and move ankles up and down.
- Heel Slides: Lie on your back and bend then straighten the knees one at a time.
- Wall Squats: With your back flat against a wall, sit like you would in a chair with your knees lined up over your ankles. Gently press against the wall, keeping your abdominal muscles tight. Hold for five seconds.
- Single Knee to Chest Stretch: Lying down with back flat, pull your knee into the chest.
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Which Lifestyle Factors Contribute To Lower Back Pain
There are three major lifestyle factors that may affect your chances of developing lower back pain:
- Multiple studies have established a link between smoking and lower back pain. Smoking raises inflammation inside the body and hinders the body from healing itself.
- Obesity is also associated with several types of chronic pain, including lower back pain. In people with high body mass index , the stress on the spine increases, contributing to even more wear and tear.
- Your level of physical activity can also play a role in your lower back health. While a sedentary lifestyle could increase your risk of developing lower back pain, so can excessive or strenuous physical activity. Check with your doctor if you are unsure about your ideal level of physical activity.
When To See A Doctor
There is not always an obvious cause of lower back pain, and it often gets better on its own. Resting, trying hot or cold therapy, taking OTC pain relievers, and gently stretching may help speed up recovery.
However, a person should see a doctor for lower back pain that is severe, does not seem to be getting better, or occurs alongside other concerning symptoms, such as tingling or numbness down the legs.
People with lower back pain should seek immediate medical attention if they also have any of the following symptoms:
- difficulty walking or moving the legs
- loss of bowel or bladder function
- loss of sensation in the legs
- very severe pain
A doctor can help a person identify potential causes of lower back pain and recommend appropriate treatment.
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Understanding The Lower Back
The lower back is also called the lumbosacral area of the back. It is the part of the back between the bottom of the ribs and the top of the legs.
Most of the lower back is made up from muscles that attach to, and surround, the spine. The spine is made up of many bones called vertebrae. The vertebrae are roughly circular and between each vertebra is a disc. The discs between the vertebrae are a combination of a strong fibrous outer layer and a softer, gel-like centre. The discs act as shock absorbers and allow the spine to be flexible.
How Are Back And Neck Pain Managed
Acute back pain usually gets better without special treatment. Using acetaminophen or ibuprofen as directed will decrease pain and help you rest. Surgery and special exercises are generally not used with acute pain.
For severe, disabling, or chronic back and neck pain, rehabilitation programs can be designed to meet your needs. The type of program will depend on the cause and the type and severity of your pain, injury, or disease. Your active involvement is key to the success of rehab programs.
The goal of back and neck rehab is to help you manage disabling pain. It’s also important to return you to your highest level of functioning and independence, and improve your quality of life. The focus of rehab is on easing pain, improving movement. It also focuses on limiting any additional damage, and increasing your functional ability.
To help reach these goals, back and neck rehab programs may include:
- Exercise programs to improve range of motion, increase muscle strength, improve flexibility and mobility, and increase endurance
- Help with assistive devices that keep you independent
- Education and counseling
- Gait and movement retraining
- Stress management
- Ergonomic assessments and work-related injury prevention programs
- Job counseling
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Prevent It In The First Place
Do exercises to strengthen the core muscle mass supporting your back, as well as your stomach, back, and hip muscles. Stay clear of any type of workout that triggers you to extend your back to the point of discomfort. Bend at the knees when raising a hefty things, and also keep it close to your body with your knees somewhat bent as you hold it. Practice excellent stance: Dont slump when you sit, as well as make use of the muscles in your shoulders and abdominal areas to maintain your back in a neutral setting.
People with back pain often likewise experience clinical depression. Dealing with clinical depression can minimize the discomfort due to the fact that the same chemical messengers in the brain affect your mood and exactly how you perceive pain. The antidepressant duloxetine is FDA-approved for treating chronic lower back pain. A word of caution: The medicine can trigger rare yet serious adverse effects, consisting of reduced blood pressure as well as risk of liver failure.
Reasons For Chronic Lower Neck And Back Pain
Pain is taken into consideration chronic when it lasts for greater than 3 months and surpasses the bodys all-natural healing procedure. Persistent pain in the low back typically includes a disc trouble, a joint problem, and/or an aggravated nerve root. Typical causes include:
Back herniated disc. The jelly-like center of a back disc can break through the difficult external layer as well as irritate a close-by nerve root. The herniated portion of the disc teems with proteins that trigger inflammation when they reach a nerve origin, and inflammation, along with nerve compression, create nerve origin pain. The disc wall surface is additionally highly supplied by nerve fibers, and also a tear via the wall surface can cause extreme pain.
Degenerative disc illness. At birth, intervertebral discs teem with water as well as at their healthiest. As people age over time, discs lose hydration and wear down. As the disc loses hydration, it can not stand up to pressures also, and also transfers force to the disc wall surface that might establish splits and also create pain or weakening that can cause a herniation. The disc can additionally fall down as well as contribute to constriction.
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Is Lower Right Or Left Back Pain Worrisome
Pain on one side of the back is not particularly more worrisome than central pain. There are three main kinds of one-sided back pain:
Most of the anatomy of the low back and abdomen is symmetrical. Some of the guts are not symmetrical, and only some of those is a plausible cause of back pain on one side. Heres some of the key anatomy to consider:
The side of the pain on its own doesnt tell us much, and most of the one-sided sources of pain are viscera that usually cause abdominal pain instead of back pain, or in addition to it. In other words, the only reason to worry about right or left lower back pain is if it is otherwise worrisome: if you have other red flags or significant non-back symptoms.
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Concerned About Your Back Pain Symptoms We Can Help
Most back pain goes away on its own. But if your back pain has been lingering for more than two weeks without improvement, its been coming and going for some time, or if youre experiencing any alarming symptoms, dont delay the care you need. After all, its much easier to take care of yourself when you can move without pain.
Think PNBC may be right for you? Schedule a consultation.
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Is My Lower Back Pain Serious
If back pain symptoms persist after a few weeks, seeing a doctor to accurately diagnosis the cause of your back pain is a good first step. ReadLower Back Pain Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment
Each case of back pain is unique, but the information below can help you determine if your lower back pain is serious.
Is It Muscle Strain Or Sciatica
Back pain that occurs after excessive exercise or heavy lifting is frequently a strain injury. However, occasionally these activities cause disc injury and rupture or herniation. When a herniated disc irritates the sciatic nerve, it can cause back pain and, in some people, leg pain.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a form of nerve pain caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is a large nerve that runs down through the buttocks and extends down the back of the leg. Pressing on or pinching of the sciatic nerve causes shock-like or burning low back pain. Sometimes people feel as if the pain radiates down through the buttocks and down one leg, sometimes even reaching the foot.
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The Dangers Behind Lower Back Pain And Fever
Lower back pain is the most common reason stated for work-related absences. This type of pain will often have pronounced impact on overall performance and motivation. But because an achy back caused by occupational factors can often be resolved with a little rest, we tend to brush it off as a trivial problem.
But did you know that some cases of backache might require much more than a rest day? Those that come hand in hand with other symptoms of illness can be indicative of something far worse than just a typical case of a bad back. For instance, a fever coupled with back pain can spell a worlds worth of different conditions. Some of these might be easily remedied with medication and rest. Others could lead to potentially life-threatening complications in the long run.
If youve been having bouts of lower back pain that comes hand in hand with heightened body temperature, it might be time to act. Read on through to find out just what these symptoms might mean.
Of course, as always note that the information in this article is purely informative and should never be used in place of the advice of your treating physicians.
Diagnosing Cancer And Back Pain
A doctor will consider your symptoms and medical history when diagnosing potential lower back pain causes. Its important to include if you have a history of cancer or a family history of cancer.
Because cancer is a rare cause of lower back pain in those who dont already have cancer, a doctor may recommend other treatments before doing a full cancer work-up.
However, if pain persists after physical therapy or anti-inflammatory medications, a doctor may order imaging studies and blood testing. These tests can help identify if there are potential cancer markers that are causing the lower back pain.
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How Is Low Back Pain Diagnosed
A complete medical history and physical exam can usually identify any serious conditions that may be causing the pain. Neurologic tests can help determine the cause of pain and appropriate treatment. Imaging tests are not needed in most cases but may be ordered to rule out specific causes of pain, including tumors and spinal stenosis. Occasionally the cause of chronic lower back pain is difficult to determine even after a thorough examination.
Blood tests are not routinely used to diagnose the cause of back pain but might be ordered to look for signs of inflammation, infection, cancer, and/or arthritis.
Bone scans can detect and monitor an infection, fracture, or bone disorder. A small amount of radioactive material is injected into the bloodstream and collects in the bones, particularly in areas with some abnormality. Scanner-generated images can identify specific areas of irregular bone metabolism or abnormal blood flow, as well as to measure levels of joint disease.
Discography involves injecting a contrast dye into a spinal disc thought to be causing low back pain. The fluids pressure in the disc will reproduce the persons symptoms if the disc is the cause. The dye helps to show the damaged areas on CT scans taken following the injection.
Electrodiagnostics can identify problems related to the nerves in the back and legs. The procedures include: