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.
How Can I Prevent Low Back Strain
Here are some tips to help you avoid low back strain:
- If you feel any low back pain during physical activity, stop.
- If you feel low back pain within a day of stepping up your workout, take it easy for a few days.
- Get your back in shape. Exercise and stretch your back muscles regularly.
- Avoid sleeping on your stomach. Sleep on your back or your side, and wedge a pillow under or beneath your legs.
- When picking up something heavy, bend at the knees, not at the waist.
- Lose weight if you are overweight.
- Adopt good posture. Sit straight in chairs, with your back against the chair’s back.
Common Causes Of Chronic Back Pain
Chronic back painis usually age-related, but can also result from a prior injury. The mostcommon causes include:
- Arthritis of the spine the gradual thinning of the cartilage inside the spine
- Spinal stenosis narrowing of the spinal canal that may lead to nerve pain
- Disc problems, such as a herniated or bulging disc
- Myofascial pain syndromeunexplained muscle pain and tenderness
In some cases, its difficult to pinpoint the cause of chronic back pain.If your doctor has exhausted all diagnostic options, its time to seek asecond opinion from a back pain specialist, recommends Nava. Itsimportant not to make rushed decisions or undergo extensive medicalprocedures until the origin of the pain is found. Not only may they nothelp they could make the pain worse, warns Nava.
If the source of the pain is not known or cant be treated, your bestoption may be to work with your doctor on reducing the flare-ups and makingthe pain manageable with nonsurgical treatments.
Also Check: What Dr To See For Lower Back Pain
Support Your Body In A Warm Pool
The buoyancy of the water lets you enjoy the benefits of exercise with less pain. Exercising in water also helps regulate the functioning of nerves and muscles, relieving pain.14
If you prefer warmer pools, look into water exercise classes and hydrotherapy pools. Water therapy exercises are often done in water that is about 83 degrees to 88 degrees. Hydrotherapy pool temperatures are often more than 90 degrees.
See Water Therapy Exercise Program
What To Do About Lower Back Pain
It is prudent for you to visit your doctor if you have been experiencing recurring and persistent low back pain. The doctor will carry out examinations on you and recommend the right treatment procedure for you. There are two major treatment options for lower back pain. We have the surgical treatment and non surgical treatment options. Surgical treatment for lower back pain can only be carried out in severe cases with evidence of structural changes that require corrective surgical measures and where nerves are badly damaged or wearing out rapidly. Non surgical option is whereby the physician will try to alleviate the pain without any surgery. Non surgical treatment is administered in a number of ways which includes pain medication, application of heat or ice, manual manipulation, exercises and therapeutic massage.
Read Also: What Should You Do When Your Lower Back Hurts
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:
The Back Bones Connected To The Heel
The back bone may not be directly connected to the heel however, it is connected via the nerve supply.
The structures that make up the heel contain nerve branches that are rooted all the way up in the lower back. And that nerve branch is responsible for both sending and receiving signals between the foot and the spine .
This nervous system wiring is, in fact, one massive network, so if our S1 nerve becomes irritated in the lower back, for example, it can affect any structure down the legthe hip, knee, ankle, heel, and so on.
Interestingly, with an irritated nerve in the back, you may or may not have pain in the back. In fact, the only warning sign you may have is that heel pain, perhaps plantar fasciitis, that just wont subside. This is why its so critical to have your back checked when the heel pain warning sign first appears.
The longer you wait, the more damage that can be done, and treating a small issue is much easier than cleaning up the mess a much bigger issue can cause. Ignoring your heel pain could lead to not only chronic back problems and more issues but also, for example, Achilles tendon or calf muscle tears.
Read Also: Can Back Pain Go Away On Its Own
Relieving Your Back Pain
When you are suffering from an ache or struggling to get lower back pain relief, it may seem difficult to take a proactive approach to the matter. However, alleviating such aches may be largely within your control. If you make some simple changes in habit and lifestyle, you might be pleasantly surprised by the results. At North Texas Medical Center, we take great pride in helping our community achieve better health. If you are suffering from backache, call us at , or contact us online today.
Ques : How Do You Sleep With A Tight Lower Back
Ans: Sleeping positions have a major role to play in your lower back stiffness. It can create as well as cure the pain.
The three best sleeping positions with a tight lower back are:
- Stomach sleeping
- Back sleeping with pillows placed under the knees.
- Side sleeping with pillows placed between the legs.
Don’t Miss: Are Epidural Injections For Back Pain Safe
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.
When To Get Medical Help And Advice
Nine out of 10 people find their lower back pain improves within four to six weeks. You may find that you feel better sooner than this, in a few weeks. But contact your GP if the pain is severe, getting worse over time or isnt improving after four to six weeks. Also, contact your GP urgently if you feel unwell or have a high temperature. And if you have had cancer or osteoporosis, your GP may want to check that there isnt a more serious cause.
Seek medical attention right away if you:
- have numbness or tingling around your bottom or genitals
- cant control when you pee or cant go at all
- lose control of your bowels
- are unsteady when you walk, your legs feel weak or your foot is dropping or dragging
These may be signs that the nerves at the bottom of your spine are being squashed. This is called cauda equina syndrome and needs urgent treatment.
Also Check: What Are Some Good Stretches For Lower Back Pain
Heel Pain May Be A Warning Sign You Have A Back Problem
Heel pain can be intense, and despite resting the foot and trying a variety of other conservative measures to try to get relief, oftentimes it persists.
Have you tried it all over the past few months? Ice, pain relievers, calf stretching, braces, physical therapy, and so on? Are you considering, or have you already pulled the trigger on, steroid treatments despite the awful side effects?
Would it surprise you to hear that this persistent heel pain may actually be a warning sign that you have a problem in a seemingly entirely different part of your bodyyour lower back? So the key to relieving your heel pain likely lies in treating the lower back.
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.
Recommended Reading: Is Marijuana Good For Back Pain
S To Quickly Recover From A Pulled Back Muscle
Medically reviewed by Dr. Brian Paris, D.C on Nov. 6, 2018.
If you havent already, you probably will at some point experience a pulled back muscle. Theyre the most common cause of low back pain.
It could happen during a game of golf, while cleaning the garage, or even on the dance floor.
While we often tend to refer to any soft tissue pain in the back as a pulled back muscle, were really talking about two separate kinds of back injuries strains and sprains.
In this article, Ill show you the difference between those injuries and how to quickly recover from pulled back muscles without taking drugs like NSAIDs.
How Common Is Lower Back Pain
Around four out of five people have lower back pain at some point in their lives. Its one of the most common reasons people visit healthcare providers.
Some people are more likely to have lower back pain than others. Risk factors for lower back pain include:
- Age: People over 30 have more back pain. Disks wear away with age. As the disks weaken and wear down, pain and stiffness can result.
- Weight: People who are obese or carry extra weight are more likely to have back pain. Excess weight puts pressure on joints and disks.
- Overall health: Weakened abdominal muscles cant support the spine, which can lead to back strains and sprains. People who smoke, drink alcohol excessively or live a sedentary lifestyle have a higher risk of back pain.
- Occupation and lifestyle: Jobs and activities that require heavy lifting or bending can increase the risk of a back injury.
- Structural problems: Severe back pain can result from conditions, such as scoliosis, that change spine alignment.
- Disease: People who have a family history of osteoarthritis, certain types of cancer and other disease have a higher risk of low back pain.
- Mental health: Back pain can result from depression and anxiety.
Read Also: How To Lose Fat On Lower Back And Love Handles
Emotional Effects Of Lower Back Pain
Back pain affects everyone differently. In some situations, back pain can be become chronic, which means it lasts a long time. Some emotional factors may increase the risk of back pain becoming chronic, including:
- believing that physical activity isn’t helpful or having lots of bed rest
- emotional problems such as feeling depressed, anxious or stressed
- a lack of social support from family and friends
- not wanting to play an active role in your treatment
Although you may think your pain is a warning sign to stop you doing certain activities, its important that you keep active to overcome it. If you have any questions about keeping active, talk to your physiotherapist or doctor. They can reassure you that keeping mobile and being positive about managing your back pain are the keys to helping you recover. Exercise will also help to prevent back pain in future.
When Should I See My Doctor
Apart from the signs of a serious back injury, you should see your doctor if:
- your problems have not improved at all within a few days
- your problems have not improved completely within 6 weeks
Your doctor may be able to help you manage any pain and may refer you for physiotherapy or other investigations.
Don’t Miss: What Can Cause Lower Back Pain When Sitting
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.
What Is Lower Back Pain
Low back pain can result from many different injuries, conditions or diseases most often, an injury to muscles or tendons in the back.
Pain can range from mild to severe. In some cases, pain can make it difficult or impossible to walk, sleep, work or do everyday activities.
Usually, lower back pain gets better with rest, pain relievers and physical therapy . Cortisone injections and hands-on treatments can relieve pain and help the healing process. Some back injuries and conditions require surgical repair.
Don’t Miss: How To Get Rid Of Sharp Lower Back Pain
Using An Inversion Table For A Pinched Nerve
At a cost equivalent to a couple of visits to a chiropractor, an inversion table can naturally relieve low back pinched nerve pain, potentially avoiding the need for office visits and pills.
Inverting 2-3 times a day, at an angle of 60 degrees or more, helps release the muscles that contribute to pinched nerves, and allows the spine to decompress and stretch the tight muscles that support the spine.
Innova Inversion Table best value in 2020
Inverting 2 to 3 times per day, ideally to an angle of 60 degrees or greater, allows the spine to decompress and stretches the constricted and tight muscles that support the spine.
The spinal discs can re-hydrate with fluid and increase the space between each vertebra, creating more room for the nerves that pass through openings in the spinal column.
See the 4 best-value inversion tables for back pain in 2020.
Inversion Table Alternatives
If you are one of the people who feel an inversion table is not for them, there are great alternatives for inverting, that can produce the same effect.
Our top recommendations for inversion table alternatives are The Spinal Stretch , and non-powered orthopedic back stretchers.
The Spinal Stretch