The Universal Guide To Lower Back Pain: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know Straight From The Experts
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If youve ever had lower back pain stop you from doing what you want, youre not alone. Lower back pain is one of the most common medical problems in the world. It is a leading reason why people visit a doctor, affecting more than 80% of adults at some point in their lives. According to the Global Burden of Diseasea significant study published in the Lancet medical journallower back pain is also a leading cause of disability.
While severe lower back pain can cause worry, pain severity is not always an indication something is seriously wrong. Photo Source: Shutterstock.
You may not be able to prevent lower back pain, especially as you age and your back loses some strength and resilience. Fortunately, there are many ways you can get relief, no matter the cause of your back pain.
Why Your Back Hurts When You Plank And How To Fix It
Planks are a great way to work your stomach muscles, but if done incorrectly they might hurt your back. These are three common reasons why your back hurts when you plank and what you can do to fix it!
It kind of feels like pinching right here.
How come that one hurts my back?
its difficult to find one single exercise that works as many muscles as efficiently as planks dowhat happens when planks hurt? 5 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD BE PLANKING
Reason #1: Pelvis tilted too far forward : I would say that 95% of the time this one is the cause of back pain while planking.
Reason #2: Hips too low to the ground :let their pelvis drop too much towards the floor.
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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What Is Back Pain
Back pain refers to pain that you may feel in your back or spine. It is a very common problem: 1 in 6 Australians report having back problems, and 4 out of 5 experience it sometime in their life. While both men and women report that they experience back problems, it is more commonly reported by people 25 years and older.
Back pain can be grouped into different categories. Lower back pain refers to pain felt in the lower part of the spine . Back problems can also affect the upper back , the neck as well as the tailbone .
People experience back pain in different ways. Some people say it feels like a sharp pain other people report aches or spasms. You may feel stiff, or find it hard to turn or bend in certain directions. In some cases, such as sciatica, pain can travel down one or both your legs.
Back pain can impact you physically and mentally. People suffering from back pain may feel irritable or short-tempered. They may worry about whether the pain will control their life and may experience feelings of helplessness.
Sleeping And Lower Back Pain
Regular low back pain can cause a person to sleep more lightly than they normally would and wake up more frequently during the night, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
Thankfully, by learning the best sleeping positions for your back, you can feel immediate relief.
To make things simple, lets start with the biggest dos of how to sleep with lower back pain
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So What Should You Do To Treat Lower Left Back Pain
In my experience, most people can find relief for their lower back pain on their own with the right treatments and prevention techniques.
If you do seek mainstream medical advice for your lower back pain, youll most likely have to undergo a physical exam as well as other tests, such as x-rays, ct scans or an MRI.
In most cases, doctors will prescribe a pill for pain relief or suggest you take over-the-counter pain relievers like NSAIDs. These drugs can have serious side effects.
For the vast majority of people with left lower back pain, there are safe and natural treatment options available.
The following list of treatments has helped thousands of people around the world escape lower left back pain and these methods could help you, too.
Pain In Lower Left Side Of Stomach And Back Causes Treatment Remedies
Pain is an unpleasant subjective sensation which is capable of causing significant discomfort. Pain in any part of the body can also often disable a person can disrupt his/ her daily routine activities.
Stomach pain, for the matter, is one of the most common complaints with which people present to the clinic. It also accounts for the maximum number of leaves for both children as well as adults. Similarly, back pain is also one of the most commonly occurring complaints especially among the adult population. According to a study, an estimate of about 60-80% population experience back pain at least once in their lifetime.
Back pain can be due to a cause within the back or spinal cord or it may be referred from adjacent body structures in presence of some disease or infirmity. Stomach pain and back pain can be acute or chronic, depending entirely upon the onset, duration and progress of the patients complaints.
Plenty of genetic as well as environmental factors play a role in the development of pain in lower left hand side of stomach and back.
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Common Sources Of Lower Left Back Pain
Lower left back pain is typically caused by either of the following sources:
Most cases of lower back pain stem from minor injuries, such as a strained lower back muscle or ligament. While a muscle strain is minor and will heal within a few days or weeks, the pain may be severe and incapacitating.
Understanding possible causes of lower back pain, along with typical characteristics and symptoms, can help patients in consulting with their doctors for an accurate diagnosis and treatments.
Not All Bending Is The Same
Research shows that how you achieve your position on the bike can make a difference. In the traditional cycling position you are dealing with two different types of flexion : flexion of the hip and flexion of the lumbar spine.
Flexion of the hip is the narrowing of the angle between your thigh and your trunk. Flexion of the lumbar spine involves bending the spine itself. Notice the difference in the images below. Peter Sagan achieves the position by flexing more at the hip, whilst Jan Ullrich flexes more from the spine.
Its the second position in particular thats associated with lower back pain in cyclists.
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You Must Maintain A Neutral Spine At All Times
As you can see in the picture above, this guy is finishing his Deadlift by extending his lower back. Needless to say, forcefully hyperextending the spine while holding onto a heavy external load definitely isnt the best way to alleviate lower back pain.
While its easy to spot in this still picture, a preponderance of lifters make this exact mistake as its difficult to catch yourself doing it.
To ensure that you dont make this same mistake, adhere to the following guidelines:
Finally, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, its important to remember that maintaining a neutral spine is of the utmost importance for all exercises!
Apply Heat To The Pulled Back Muscle
Try applying heat directly to the area that is strained or sprained right after the ice. This is a powerful way to double-shock your back muscles out of the pain-spasm cycle.
Apply 20 minutes of ice followed by 20 minutes of heat and repeat up to three times.
This should provide some relief from even severe lower back pain.
There are many ways to apply heat, including a long hot shower, ultrasound, heating pad, and pain cream.
If you want the gold standard in heat for pain relief, try a far infrared heating pad, which produces heat that penetrates much deeper than the superficial heating a standard heating pad offers.
As heat is applied, your back muscles relax and circulation increases again as your body sends fresh blood supply to cool the area back to normal. Repeat heat treatments as necessary.
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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:
How Is Lumbar Strain Diagnosed
In addition to a complete medical history and physical exam, diagnostic procedures for low back pain may include the following. However, during many initial assessments and exams, specialized tests aren’t usually recommended.
- X-ray. A diagnostic test that produces images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film.
- Computed tomography scan . This is an imaging test that uses X-rays and a computer to make detailed images of the body. A CT scan shows details of the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. A CT scan shows detailed images of bones, muscles, fat, and organs.
- Magnetic resonance imaging . A diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body.
- Radionuclide bone scan. A nuclear imaging technique that uses a very small amount of radioactive material, which is injected into the bloodstream to be detected by a scanner. This test shows blood flow to the bone and cell activity within the bone.
- Electromyogram . A test to evaluate nerve and muscle function.
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How Is Back Pain Treated
Acute back pain usually gets better on its own. Acute back pain is usually treated with:
- Medications designed to relieve pain and/or inflammation
- analgesics such as acetaminophen and aspirin
- non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen may be sold over the counter some NSAIDS are prescribed by a physician
- muscle relaxants are prescription drugs that are used on a short-term basis to relax tight muscles
- topical pain relief such as creams, gels, patches, or sprays applied to the skin stimulate the nerves in the skin to provide feelings of warmth or cold in order to dull the sensation of pain. Common topical medications include capsaicin and lidocaine.
Exercising, bed rest, and surgery are typically not recommended for acute back pain.Chronic back pain is most often treated with a stepped care approach, moving from simple low-cost treatments to more aggressive approaches. Specific treatments may depend on the identified cause of the back pain.
What Are Some Other Causes Of Lower Back Pain
The shape of your spine, and well as spinal diseases, are other culprits in lower back pain. Depending on a range of factors, your doctor may look for:
Abnormal spinal curvature. A normal spine resembles a gently curved letter S when seen from the side. Abnormal curves include:
- Lordosis, in which the spine curves too far inward at the lower back
- Kyphosis, in which the spine is abnormally rounded in the upper back
- Scoliosis, in which the spine curves from side to side, often in a C shape
Normal and abnormal curves of the spineArthritis. There are more than 100 types of arthritis, many of which can cause lower back pain. The most common types include osteoarthritis , rheumatoid arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis.
Cauda equina syndrome . Compression of the bundle of nerves that forms below the spinal cord in the lumbar spine. It is a rare but serious disorder that requires immediate medical attention and possibly emergency surgery. CES got its name from the fact that the fanned-out bundle of nerves resembles the base of a horses tail.
Discitis or osteomyelitis.Both infections of discs and bone can cause severe pain and require prompt medical attention.
Spinal tumors. When cells divide and multiply unchecked, the result is a tumor. Both benign and malignant tumors can cause lower back pain. They can either originate in the spine or metastasize there, meaning theyve spread from somewhere else in the body.
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How Is Lumbar Strain Treated
Specific treatment for a lumbar strain will be discussed with you by your healthcare provider based on:
- Your age, overall health, and medical history
- Extent of the injury
- Your tolerance for specific medicines, procedures, and therapies
- Expectation for the course of the injury
- Your opinion or preference
- Ice packs and/or heat and compression applied to the back
- Stretching and strengthening exercises
- Education regarding the use and wearing of appropriate protective equipment
Medicines, such as anti-inflammatories and spinal injections, may also be used to relieve pain and inflammation.
What Are The Most Common Lower Back Surgery Procedures
Spine surgery is not necessary for most people who have lower back pain. If you do need it, your doctor will recommend an appropriate procedure to address your specific symptoms and medical situation. Common spine surgeries include:
Spinal Fusion. Two or more vertebrae are permanently fused together to limit excess spinal motion. Your surgeon will use a combination of bone, bonelike material, screws, plates and rods to hold the vertebrae together so they can heal into a single unit. Spinal fusion may be done to correct spinal deformities or to increase the spines stability in severe cases of spinal osteoarthritis or herniated discs.
Laminectomy and laminotomy. Laminectomy is a surgery in which your surgeon removes the back portion of one or more vertebrae to create more space for the spinal cord or other nerves. In people with severe arthritis, bone spurs within the spinal canal can grow large enough to press on the spinal cord, causing pain and limiting mobility. In a similar surgery known as laminotomy, your surgeon will remove a small piece of bone called the lamina from the back of the vertebra.
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