Referred Pain To And From The Lumbar Spine
Pain in the area of the lumbar spine may be due to important problems that are actually unrelated to the back. Referred pain occurs when a problem in one place in the body causes pain in another place. The pain travels down a nerve.. Sources of referred pain to the low back may include abdominal aneurysm , tubal pregnancy, kidney stones, pancreatitis, and colon cancer. Clues to these maladies include pain that waxes and wanes over a short period, with frequent peaks of intense pain, weight loss, abnormalities found during abdominal exam, and trace amounts of blood in the urine. On the other hand, pain can be referred from the low back and be felt in another location, as is often the case with . For example, it is not rare for a patient with a slipped disc in the lower back to have pain in the back of the thigh, or in the calf or even the foot, and not have any low back pain. This situation requires a doctor to sort out the type of pain and to do the examination required to show that the pain is actually coming from the spine .
What Structures Make Up The Back
The lower backwhere most back pain occursincludes the five vertebrae in the lumbar region, which supports much of the weight of the upper body. The spaces between the vertebrae are maintained by round, rubbery pads called intervertebral discs that act like shock absorbers throughout the spinal column to cushion the bones as the body moves. Bands of tissue known as ligaments hold the vertebrae in place, and tendons attach the muscles to the spinal column. Thirty-one pairs of nerves are rooted to the spinal cord and they control body movements and transmit signals from the body to the brain.
Other regions of vertebrate are cervical , thoracic , and sacral and coccygeal segments.
How To Treat A Pulled Back Muscle In 8 Steps
A pulled back muscle can begin as a sudden, sharp pain when lifting or bending. Or it may appear gradually, getting progressively worse over several days. This common injury ranges from a minor inconvenience to an intense source of pain. It can take several weeks, and in some cases a few months, to heal.1
A pulled muscle is the common term for a strained muscle.2 A strain is a muscle or tendon injury that happens when the tissue stretches or tears. When a ligament stretches or tears, its called a sprain. Back pain, often due to a pulled muscle, is one of the most common issues health professionals treat.2 In most cases, you can manage and treat symptoms at home. But if the pain is unbearable or makes it difficult to move, see a doctor.
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What Type Of Doctor Should I See For Back Pain
This depends on your condition or symptoms. If you have no obvious injury that would explain your pain, you may want to start by seeing a . This is a specialist in physical medicine who can diagnose back pain and determine whether nonsurgical treatments such as physical therapy may help. Depending on those findings, a physiatrist may also refer you to a , doctor or other type of back specialist, , for additional discussion.
What Causes Back Muscle Pain
Some of the most common triggering factors for pain in the lower back include:
- Muscle overuse. If you have recently been performing activities that rely heavily on the usage of muscles in the lower back, there is a chance that these muscles may have been subject to overexertion and start to hurt as a result.
- Injuries to the lumbar spine, especially those that affect the soft tissue in this region
- Weak muscles. When the muscles that are responsible for holding your upper body in an upright position become weak, they cannot provide adequate support and, in an effort to keep supporting your back, they may strain in trying to do so.
- Poor posture. Maintaining an improper posture for prolonged periods of time, whether it happens while sitting or standing, can shift the distribution of weight in your upper body onto the lower portion of your back. As a result, your lumbar spine has to carry an increased weight, which may result in muscles in this region becoming strained.
- Muscle spasms tend to be a side-effect of other lower back issues, such as an injury, weak muscles, or even poor posture. When a spasm occurs, it is usually a signal that the affected muscle has been under increased strain and is unable to uphold the weight that is placed upon it.
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Initial Treatments For Low Back Muscle Strain
Infographic:Lower Back Pain
Most cases of a pulled back muscle are treated using standard self-care or non-invasive treatments. Some typical first-step treatments for a pulled low back muscle include:
- Anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen reduce inflammation, which often contributes to pain. Anti-inflammatory medicines are available over-the-counter or with a prescription.
- Over-the-counter pain medicines, such as acetaminophen, minimize pain by interfering with the way the brain interprets pain signals. Acetaminophen may also be included as an active ingredient in prescription medications, such as in combination with an opioid.
- Muscle relaxants may be prescribed on a short-term basis to reduce muscle spasm. Most muscle relaxants do not affect muscles directly, but rather dampen pain receptors in the central nervous system. These medications have many side effects, and muscle relaxants also carry risk of addiction.
- Ice packs reduce inflammation that can occur shortly after a muscle is injured. Typical recommendations include applying a cold or ice pack for 10 – 20 minutes at regular intervals throughout the day, and using a towel or other barrier between the ice and the skin to prevent an ice burn.
Change It Up After A Day Or Two Of Rest
After 24 to 72 hours, you may consider:
- Switching from ice to heat therapy. Place a heat pack or electric heating pad against your back. The warmth will increase blood flow to the injured area and may soothe your strained muscles and connective tissues.1 Heat therapy can also reduce stiffness so you can more easily get up and exercise. Apply heat therapy for up to 20 minutes at a time with 2 hours of rest in between. When using a heating pad, always follow the directions carefully to reduce the risk for a burn.
- Gentle exercises and stretches. Dont stay immobile for too long. Your muscles could become weaker, leading to more pain and stiffness. Get up and walk around, even if for just a few minutes at a time. Incorporate gentle stretching exercises into your day to restore your mobility and protect your back against future injury.
Some pain and stiffness are usually expected for a week or two as your muscles heal. If your symptoms dont improve or continue to interfere with daily activities, contact your health care provider.
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Lower Back Pain Caused By Infection
Infections of the spine are not common, but they do occur. The doctor will ask about the usual signs and symptoms of infection, especially when back pain is accompanied by fever and/or chills. Dialysis patients, IV drug users, and patients who have recently had surgery, trauma, or skin infections are at risk for infections of the spine. Infections of the spine can be caused by a number of agents, most commonly bacteria. Doctors will first test for the presence of bacteria, then give antibiotics.
How Common Is Lower Back Pain
Two out of every three adults suffer from low back pain at some time. Back pain is the #2 reason adults visit a doctor and the #1 reason for orthopedic visits. It keeps people home from work and interferes with routine daily activities, recreation, and exercise. The good news is that for 9 out of 10 patients with low back pain, the pain is acute, meaning it is short-term and goes away within a few days or weeks. There are cases of low back pain, however, that take much longer to improve, and some that need evaluation for a possible cause other than muscle strain or arthritis.
Symptoms may range from muscle ache to shooting or stabbing pain, limited flexibility and/or range of motion, or an inability to stand straight.
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How To Treat Low Back Pain
Thereâs a lot you can do to feel better while your body heals. To get relief:
Apply heat and cold to your lower back. Heating pads or cold packs can ease pain. Start with cold for about 48 hours, then switch to heat. Donât put a heating pad or cold pack right on your skin or leave it on for more than 20 minutes.
Use over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen. They can make you feel better, but donât use them for more than 10 days without talking with your doctor.
Move gently. You may need to take it easy for the first day or two after you notice pain. But donât stay inactive for too long. Avoiding movement for a long time can actually make low back pain worse. It can make you more stiff and make your muscles weaker. Gentle movement helps blood flow to your back. It also builds strength, which can lower your odds of more back problems.
Ask your doctor about physical therapy, especially if your back pain is severe or you arenât sure how to move or exercise safely.
The Best Treatment For Sciatica
An herniation of a disc in one or more of the spinal canal is typically the cause of sciatica. A physical therapy or exercise program that includes stretching, strength training, and low-impact aerobic exercises is generally the best option for you. As an alternative, you could also take a short course of medications with a prescription or over-the-counter. If you have sciatic-like shooting pain or other symptoms associated with it such as numbness, weakness, or tingling in the legs, you should consult a Chiropractor. The use of spinal manipulation techniques and other natural practices by Chiropractor assists you in relieving pressure on your sciatic nerve. However, the use of a chiropractic can be ineffective in the treatment of all forms of sciatica. If you are interested in chiropractic care, you should consult with a doctor first.
What Are The Risk Factors For Developing Low Back Pain
Anyone can have back pain. Factors that can increase the risk for low back pain include:
Age: The first attack of low back pain typically occurs between the ages of 30 and 50, and back pain becomes more common with advancing age. Loss of bone strength from osteoporosis can lead to fractures, and at the same time, muscle elasticity and tone decrease. The intervertebral discs begin to lose fluid and flexibility with age, which decreases their ability to cushion the vertebrae. The risk of spinal stenosis also increases with age.
Fitness level: Back pain is more common among people who are not physically fit. Weak back and abdominal muscles may not properly support the spine. Weekend warriorspeople who go out and exercise a lot after being inactive all weekare more likely to suffer painful back injuries than people who make moderate physical activity a daily habit. Studies show that low-impact aerobic exercise can help maintain the integrity of intervertebral discs.
Weight gain: Being overweight, obese, or quickly gaining significant amounts of weight can put stress on the back and lead to low back pain.
Genetics: Some causes of back pain, such as ankylosing spondylitis , have a genetic component.
Smoking: It can restrict blood flow and oxygen to the discs, causing them to degenerate faster.
Backpack overload in children: A backpack overloaded with schoolbooks and supplies can strain the back and cause muscle fatigue.
When Will My Lower Back Strain Feel Better
Recovery time depends on how serious your low back strain is. Mild cases may resolve in a couple of days. It can take many weeks for more serious strains. Remember that everyone heals at a different rate.
Once the back pain is gone, your doctor will probably want you to start a regular exercise routine. This will get your back muscles stronger and more limber. It will help you recover, and reduce your odds of low back strain in the future. Your doctor will probably want you to take up low impact sports, like swimming or using a stationary bike.
Whatever you do, don’t rush things. Don’t try to return to your previous level of physical activity until:
- You can move as easily — without stiffness — as you did before your injury.
- You feel no pain when you bend, twist, walk, run, and jump.
If you start pushing yourself before your low back strain is healed, you could end up with chronic back pain and permanent injury.
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Back Spasms: Symptoms Treatment And More
Do you feel a sudden tightness in your back or pain in your back muscles in the morning?
Did you overexert yourself at the gym, or could it just be the way you slept?
Sleeping in an awkward way, training too hard at the gym, bending, lifting, or standing can sometimes cause a back spasm.
Back pain is one of the most common medical problems in the United States it can occur from both extreme exertion and doing innocuous tasks, and the worst part is your likelihood of experiencing it increases with age.
Almost 65 million Americans have recently experienced back pain, hitting the country with $12 billion a year in health care costs.
Sometimes it may resolve on its own, as long as you take it easy in the meantime, and sometimes, you may need to see a doctor for proper treatment.
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Some Other Medical Conditions Which Are Lead To Back Pain
- Cauda equina is a bundle of spinal nerve roots which arises from the lower end of the spinal cord.
- This syndrome produces dull pain in the lower back & upper buttocks & numbness in the buttocks, genitalia & thighs.
- Cancer of the spine:
- When an occurring tumor in the spine is pressed against a nerve is given to result in back pain.
- Infection of the spine:
- When you feel to fever & tender or warm area on the back which occurs due to an infection of the spine.
- Other infections:
- The other infection includes Pelvic inflammatory disease, and bladder & kidney infections which lead to back pain.
Symptoms of back muscle injury
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Ways To Treat Chronic Back Pain Without Surgery
Back pain is considered chronic if it lasts three months or longer. It cancome and go, often bringing temporary relief, followed by frustration.Dealing with chronic back pain can be especially trying if you dont knowthe cause.
First What Is A Muscle Spasm
In general, muscle spasms can occur when a muscle involuntarily and forcibly contracts and is unable to relax. Muscle spasms can involve part or all of a muscle, and in some cases may involve several muscles in a muscle group.
The pain associated with muscle spasms can vary from burning, to sharp stabbing, tightness, numbness, or severe pain. While some muscle spasms dont interfere with normal activities, others can be debilitating and last for days/weeks.
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Symptoms Of A Pulled Back Muscle
Symptoms of a pulled back muscle depend on where the injury is. The spine is divided into three major sections: the neck, upper back and shoulders, and lower back.
For a pulled muscle in the neck, you might experience:3
- Pain in the neck and upper back area
- Limited range of motion in the neck
- Stiffness in the neck
- Pain radiating to the shoulders or arms
Pulled muscles in the shoulders and upper back may cause:
- Pain in the area between the spine and shoulder blade
- Muscle spasms in the upper back
- Knots and tightness in the upper back and shoulders
- Pain when moving the shoulders
In lower back strain injuries, many people experience symptoms such as:3
- Aching and stiffness in lower back muscles
- Pain that worsens with movement
- Pain that radiates to the hips and legs
- Limited range of motion
- Muscle spasms in lower back area
- Pain when sitting, standing, or walking
% Of People Will Experience Back Pain At Some Time But There Are Ways To Find Relief
As people enter middle age, they are more likely to experience bouts of low back pain. In fact, according to the Harvard Special Health Report Men’s Health: Fifty and Forward, back pain affects about four in five Americans at some point in their lives and equally strikes men and women.
Age is often the culprit. Over time, the bones and joints in your lower back begin to change. Your discs tend to wear out and sometimes become fragmented. These structural alterations sometimes cause pain.
Another cause of low back pain, although it occurs less often, is a herniated disc. Sometimes, a disc pushes outside the space between the bones and compresses a nerve at the point where it branches off the spinal cord. When the sciatic nerve that leads into the buttocks and leg is affected, the pain is called sciatica.
Yet, most cases of low back pain stem from strain or sprain due to simple overuse, unaccustomed activity, excessive lifting, or an accident. In most cases the best move is to wait and see if the pain resolves on its own. If the pain does not improve after three to four days, then it’s time to see a doctor.
However, depending on the source of your back pain and its severity, you might try a few home remedies for low back pain to help ease the pain until your back returns to normal. Here are several options to consider:
Complementary therapies. Several types of complementary therapy may be helpful for relief from low back pain. These include:
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