Who Should I See For Lower Back Pain
Your primary care physician knows you best and should be your first contact for lower back pain. If he or she is unable to diagnose or treat the issue, you may get referred to a specialist, such as a rehabilitation physician . These specialists practice a comprehensive approach to lower back pain, and can diagnose and treat a variety of conditions that have lower back pain as a symptom.
Later, you may get referred to a physical therapist, a chiropractor or another practitioner depending on the nature of your back pain. The good news is that surgery is rarely needed for lower back pain. Only about one in ten patients needs lower back surgery, Chhatre says.
Persistent Low Back Pain
Nonspecific low back pain is classed as chronic if it lasts for longer than six weeks. In some people it lasts for months, or even years. Symptoms may be constant. However, the more usual pattern is one in which symptoms follow an irregular course. That is, reasonably long periods of mild or moderate pain may be interrupted by bouts of more severe pain.
Massage For Lower Back Pain
Massage has been proven as one of the effective means for alleviating lower back pain. Massage can provide effective pain relief and healing of low back pain caused by strains and tensions of the back muscles. There are two major types of massage used in treatment or reduction of lower back pain. They are:
Quadratus Lumborum Muscle Massage to Relieve Lower Back Pain
This type of massage for lower back pain helps a lot in reduction and elimination of adhesions and contractures habouring in the QL muscles. This state can be caused by repetitive strainious injuries, bending frequently, other traumatic injuries that cause damage to muscles and structures found in the iliolumbar part or the lower back through accident or slip and fall and healing state after traumatic muscle strains.
Gluteus Medius Massage
Request your physiotherapist to give more time in performing these two types of massage. You will experienced a great relief from back pains if performed well.
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Can Lower Back Pain Be Related To Weather
If you feel like your lower back pain worsens on days when its cold or the weather is changing, you are not imagining things. Back pain can indeed be related to barometric pressure and outdoor temperature. Changes in pressure can sometimes cause pain in arthritic joints, including the spine. Muscles and joints in general react to the environment, which can make them stiffer and more likely to suffer an injury.
Can Lower Back Pain Be A Sign Of Something Serious Like Cancer
Lower back pain can be related to cancer. In fact, it is one of the first symptoms of prostate cancer when it metastasizes and creates lesions. Almost any cancer can spread to the back and some, like sarcoma, can originate in the back. Be cautious, especially if you are experiencing other symptoms besides lower back pain. Talk to your doctor if you have additional symptoms or concerns.
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Pulled Back Muscle And Lower Back Strain
Lower back strain, also referred to as a pulled muscle, is caused by damage to the muscles and ligaments of the lower back. Watch:Lower Back Strain Video
The lower spine, also called the lumbar spine, depends on these soft tissues to help hold the body upright and support weight from the upper body. If put under too much stress, the low back muscles| or soft tissues can become injured and painful.
While a pulled back muscle or strain may seem like a minor injury, the resulting pain and muscle spasms can be surprisingly severe.
How Are Back Injuries Treated
Your doctor will examine you to check whether the nerves from your spinal cord are working properly. Make sure you tell them if you have any problems with going to the toilet.
Most minor back injuries get better by themselves within 6 weeks. Usually you will not need any other tests or treatment. The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists recommends that an x-ray for low back pain is only needed if you have other significant symptoms such as problems with bladder and bowel control, severe pain or weakness or numbness in one or both legs. For further information, visit the Choosing Wisely Australia website.
The most important thing you can do is to continue to stay active. A common myth is that bed rest will cure back pain. In fact, bed rest slows down the recovery period and can add to your pain.
You can help ease injuries to your back by:
- using cold compresses for 20 minutes at a time every 3 to 4 hours for the first day these will ease pain and swelling
- using warmth after the first day showers, baths or hot moist towels can help ease pain and help recovery
- avoiding activities involving bending, lifting and twisting until you feel better
Depending on your job, you may need time off work to allow your back to heal.
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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 TRIA Neck and Back Strengthening Program may be right for you? Schedule a consultation.
Not ready for an intensive physical therapy program? Start with physical therapy.
What’s The Average Recovery Time For Low Back Pain
There are two types of lower back pain: acute and chronic back pain. Acute lower back pain lasts a few days to a few weeks, and it tends to resolve itself within a few days with proper self-care. In some cases, it may take up to a few months for the symptoms to disappear completely. Chronic lower back pain lasts for up to 12 weeks or longer.
However, there is no standard time frame for lower back pain recovery since the causes of back pain are so diverse. Recovery time may vary depending on the following factors:
The nature of the injury
Cause of the pain
The extent of the injury
Type of treatment used for the injury
The activities a patient is involved in
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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.
Exercise For Lower Back Pain
There are a number of exercise therapy you can undertake for faster recovery from lower back pain. But it is important that you inquire from your therapist on which type of exercise to perform depending on your condition. Some exercises are extreme and can cause more harm rather than helping. Let your doctor recommend which ones are good for you. Here are some of the exercise that helps in reducing and treatment of lower back pain.
- Hamstring â This is whereby you pull your legs as you sit or lay on your back, then you straighten them.
- Back Flex â In this exercise for lower back pain you will push your body off the floor as you keep your hips on the floor.
- Hip Flex â In this exercise for lower back pain you keep your abdominal muscle tight and you slowly lean forward until you feel a stretch in your groin and hip.
- Lumbar Arc â here you will lie down, fit your hips until your spine is lined with the floor and your buttock and abdomen muscle tight.
- Half Sit Up â In this type of exercise for lower back pain, sit on the floor, put your legs in rectangular position and your heels in a hip width position and apart on the ground, your tip toes should point up cross your arms on your chest and keep your upper part in a straight posture and leaning a little bit backwards. Then slowly bend backwards and do not roll backwards and also ensure that your head is kept straight and up.
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When To See Your Doctor
Typically, taking breaks while moving and exercising eases your lower back pain. However, if your condition doesn’t improve, it’s time to see your doctor. It is also advisable to see a doctor if your pain lasts for more than 24 to 48 hours. The following are signs you need to see your doctor:
Fever associated with back pain
Pain doesn’t get better after taking medication at home
The pain and muscle spasms in your spine are interfering with your everyday activities
You are experiencing numbness, tingling pain, and weakness in your legs and buttocks
You are experiencing bladder and bowel problems
Symptoms Of Lower Back Pain
Sometimes a pain may develop immediately after you lift something heavy, or after an awkward twisting movement. Sometimes it can develop for no apparent reason. Some people just wake up one day with low back pain.
Although nonspecific back pain is sometimes called simple back pain, simple does not mean that the pain is mild. The severity of the pain can range from mild to severe. Typically, the pain is in one area of the lower back but sometimes it spreads to one or both buttocks or thighs. The pain is usually eased by lying down flat. It is often made worse if you move your back, cough, or sneeze. So, nonspecific low back pain is mechanical in the sense that it varies with posture or activity.
Most people with a bout of nonspecific low back pain improve quickly, usually within a week or so, sometimes a bit longer. However, once the pain has eased or gone it is common to have further bouts of pain from time to time in the future. Also, it is common to have minor pains on and off for quite some time after an initial bad bout of pain. In a small number of cases the pain persists for several months or longer. This is called chronic back pain .
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Looking At Two Kinds Of Back Pain
Lets talk about the most common forms of back pain: acute and subacute . Most of these cases are due to harmless causes. We lump them into the mechanical back pain diagnosis, which includes muscle spasm, ligament strain, and arthritis. A handful will be due to potentially more serious causes such as herniated discs , spondylolisthesis , a compression fracture of the vertebra due to osteoporosis , or spinal stenosis . Rarely, less than 1% of the time, we will see pain due to inflammation , cancer , or infection.
When someone with acute low back pain comes into the office, my main job is to rule out one of these potentially more serious conditions through my interview and exam. It is only when we suspect a cause other than mechanical that we will then order imaging or labs, and then things can go in a different direction.
But most of the time, were dealing with a relatively benign and yet really painful, disabling, and expensive condition. How do we treat this? The sheer number of treatments is dizzying, but truly effective treatment options are few.
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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Yoga For Lower Back Pain
Research has shown that yoga is a very effective tool to quickly recover from lower back pain. A yoga professional will guide on which type of pose to perform depending with the severity of your pain or injury. The following yoga poses can help you reducing and healing of your lower back pain.
- Two Knee Twist â In this yoga pose for lower back pain, you will bend your knees towards your chest as you lie on your back and bring your arms to a T-position. Then lower your knees to the floor on the right as you breath out. Lower your knees further from the right arm when a shoulder lifts and be in that position for about 2 minutes.
- Supine Hamstring Stretch â In this yoga pose for treating lower back pain, you will lie on your back and bend your right knee towards the chest and put a rope or a cloth around the ball of your foot. Then straighten your leg towards the ceiling. Hold that pose for about 5minutes and repeat it with the other legs and both legs.
- Legs Up The Wall â In this yoga pose for lower back pain you will scoot your buttock to the wall and start swinging your feet up the wall. This type of yoga pose for treating lower back pain helps in relaxing of the lower back muscles and drain out stagnant fluids from the feet and ankles. It is advisable to do this pose after a long drive or traveling by plane and after lifting heavy objects.
Diagnosis Of Lower Back Pain
Your physiotherapist or GP will usually be able to diagnose lower back pain from your symptoms and by examining you. Theyll want to rule out whether theres any underlying problem that could be causing your pain.
Your physiotherapist or GP will ask you lots of questions about your back pain. These may include when it started, how bad it is and if theres anything that makes it better or worse. They may press against your back to see if theres any tenderness and check for any deformities. They might ask you to move around too, to see if you have problems bending or extending your back.
Usually, further tests wont help. But if your symptoms indicate an underlying problem, your GP may recommend tests including:
They may also refer you to a specialist for further investigations.
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You Have Unexplained Weight Loss
If you experience sudden weight loss that can’t be explained by diet and lifestyle changes, then you should always pay attention to what your body is telling you. This is especially true when the unexplained weight loss is accompanied by back pain. See your doctor to rule out the possibility of a more severe condition, such as an infection or tumor.
What Does Low Back Strain Feel Like
Symptoms of low back strain include:
- Pain and stiffness in the back.
- Pain in the buttocks and the legs, often in the back of the thigh.
- Pain that worsens when bending, stretching, coughing, or sneezing.
Since some symptoms of low back strain are similar to those of more serious conditions, it’s important to get checked out by a doctor. Any numbness and weakness in your legs, or bowel and bladder problems, can be a sign of nerve damage — and that needs immediate medical attention.
To diagnose low back strain, your doctor will give you a thorough exam. You may also need X-rays, MRIs , and CT scans. These extra tests may only be needed if your pain doesn’t go away on its own or with conservative treatment.
More Advanced Care Options
Surgery When other therapies fail, surgery may be considered to relieve pain caused by worsening nerve damage, serious musculoskeletal injuries, or nerve compression. Specific surgeries are selected for specific conditions/indications. However, surgery is not always successful. It may be months following surgery before the person is fully healed and there may be permanent loss of flexibility. Surgical options include:
Implanted nerve stimulators
- Spinal cord stimulation uses low-voltage electrical impulses from a small implanted device that is connected to a wire that runs along the spinal cord. The impulses are designed to block pain signals that are normally sent to the brain.
- Dorsal root ganglion stimulation also involves electrical signals sent along a wire connected to a small device that is implanted into the lower back. It specifically targets the nerve fibers that transmit pain signals. The impulses are designed to replace pain signals with a less painful numbing or tingling sensation.
- Peripheral nerve stimulation also uses a small implanted device and an electrode to generate and send electrical pulses that create a tingling sensation to provide pain relief.