Can Your Mattress Cause Lower Back Pain
Because it is a principal means of supporting the body during sleep, a mattress can play an important role in preventing or reducing lower back pain.
Proper spinal alignment demands a mattress that is in good condition and doesnt sag excessively. Research supports using a medium-firm mattress to combat lower back pain, although the most appropriate firmness can vary based on a persons weight, body shape, sleeping position, and individual comfort preferences.
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Ask About Prescription Medications
If your back pain hasnt resolved itself within four to six weeks, make an appointment with your doctor, who will examine your back and ask you to sit, stand, bend, walk, and lift your legs to see how your pain is affecting your mobility. Youll likely be asked to rate your pain on a scale of one to 10, and they may do imaging tests, like an X-ray or MRI. Then, he or she may recommend one of the following prescribed therapies:
- Muscle relaxants: Medications like cyclobenzaprine or baclofen can help relieve painful back spasms. If you go this route, just know that side effects can include fatigue and dizziness.
- Topical pain medications: These creams and ointments, like Voltaren gel, are meant to be rubbed directly on to the area thats hurting you.
- Cortisone shots: If other treatment measures fail, your doctor may recommend an injection of cortisone, a potent anti-inflammatory. There are risks, including thinning of nearby bone, and relief typically lasts just a few months, tops.
What Are The Warning Signs Of A Serious Problem
Very rarely back pain or pain that travels down the leg is a sign of a serious problem.
If you have any of the following symptoms, you should seek urgent medical attention:
- difficulty controlling or passing urine
- loss of control of your bowels
- numbness around your back passage or your genitals
- serious weakness in your legs so you find standing really difficult
- severe and ongoing back pain that gets worse over several weeks.
The above symptoms could potentially be linked to a rare but serious condition that needs urgent medical attention.
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What Other Symptoms Might Occur With Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain symptoms depend on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Back pain due to infection or inflammation may be accompanied by a fever whereas, back pain due to fibromyalgia may include symptoms such as insomnia and fatigue. The range of symptoms that may occur with lower back pain include:
- Pain through the buttocks and down one leg to below the knee
- Redness, warmth, or swelling of the back
- Sleep disturbances
What Are The Potential Complications Of Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain can lead to various complications depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. The good news is that most cases can be alleviated or minimized by physical therapy, basic self-care measures, and the treatment plan outlined by your doctor. However, your back pain may become chronic and overwhelming, affecting your quality of life. Research into the diagnosis and treatment of back pain is ongoing, so contact your healthcare professional for the most effective treatments.
Over time, lower back pain can lead to complications including:
- Absenteeism from work or school
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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.
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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Right Side Pain In The Lower Back From Internal Organs Causes And Treatments
A constant dull ache in your right lower back or sharp, agonizing back pain could also come from inflammation or disease in an internal organ below your ribs. The lower right side of your back includes the right kidney, which is located towards your back, just below the rib cage.
Part of your stomach, intestines, and colon are also located on the right side of your abdomen and, usually, if you have any digestive problems, the digestive-related pain may also be felt on the lower right side of your back.
Women also have part of their reproductive system on the right side of their body. For example, ovarian cyst on the right ovary can also be a source of pain in women in the lower part of their back.
The Importance Of An Accurate Diagnosis
The physician will need to take a careful medical history and do a physical exam to look for certain red flags that indicate the need for an X-ray or other imaging test. In most cases, however, imaging such as X-ray, MRI , or CT scan is unnecessary.
There may also be certain clues in a patients medical history. Low back, nonradiating pain is commonly due to muscle strain and spasm. Pain that radiates into the buttock and down the leg may be due to , a condition in which a bulging disc presses on the sciatic nerve, which extends down the spinal column to its exit point in the pelvis and carries nerve fibers to the leg. This nerve compression causes pain in the lower back radiating through the buttocks and down one leg, which can go to below the knee, often combined with localized areas of numbness. In the most extreme cases, the patient experiences weakness in addition to numbness and pain, which suggests the need for quick evaluation.
A persistent shooting or tingling pain may suggest lumbar disc disease. A pain that comes and goes, reaching a peak and then quieting for a minute or two, only to reach a peak again, may suggest an altogether different cause of back pain, such as a kidney stone.
When tumor or infection are suspected, the doctor may order blood tests, including a CBC and sedimentation rate .
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What Are Some Less Invasive Or Noninvasive Back Pain Treatments
Your doctor has a wide range of treatments that may help your lower back pain. In general, expect your doctor to take a stepped care approach. That means starting with simple, low-cost treatments and moving to more aggressive approaches later. Keep in mind that many treatments take time to reach their full effect.
Medications. When over-the-counter pills and topicals dont do enough to relieve back pain, your doctor may recommend a prescription drug. Examples include:
- Antiseizure medication, such gabapentin or pregabalin, for nerve-related pain
- Muscle relaxants, such as baclofen or carisoprodol
- Prescription NSAIDs, such as celecoxib, diclofenac, or fenoprofen
- Opioids, such as oxycodone or hydrocodone, on a short-term basis.
Physical therapy . PT for lower back pain involves passive and active therapies to help the patient build core muscle strength, improve spinal flexibility and range of motion, correct posture and more. Your physical therapy sessions may include:
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation
Injections. An epidural steroid injection or a selective nerve block may provide short-term pain relief when lower back pain causes sciatica symptoms, such as leg pain.
How Long Does Lower Back Pain Usually Last
Lower back pain can be categorized as acute, subacute or chronic. Acute episodes of lower back pain usually last from a few days to 4 weeks and subacute lower back pain lasts between 4 to 12 weeks. However, according to the National Institutes of Health, about 20 percent of people with acute back pain go on to develop chronic back paindefined as pain that lasts 12 weeks or longer. Even in these cases, there are many different treatment options to help relieve lower back pain symptoms.
When your back is really killing you, you might worry something is seriously wrong. The same goes for back pain that seems unending. The good news is that while back pain is a major inconvenience, it is rarely an urgent medical issue. In fact, most of the time you dont have to treat it. Back pain usually resolves on its own unless you have a major underlying issue.
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Surgery For Lower Back Pain
Because the vast majority of patients recover from their low back pain with little help from a doctor, the rationale behind choosing surgery must be convincing. Eighty percent of patients with sciatica recover eventually without surgery.
Severe progressive nerve problems, bowel or bladder dysfunction and the cauda equina syndrome make up the most clear-cut indications for back surgery. Back surgery will also be considered if the patients signs and symptoms correlate well with studies such as MRI or electromyogram .
In the most serious cases, when the condition does not respond to other therapies, surgery may well be necessary to relieve pain caused by back problems. Some common procedures include:
- Discectomy, such as a or removal of a portion of a
- a bone graft that promotes the vertebrae to fuse together
- removal of the lamina to create more space and reduce irritation and inflammation
References and useful links
- 1, 2. Excerpted from Low Back Pain Fact Sheet, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health
- Low Back Pain Fact Sheet, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health. Reviewed, July 26, 2003.
- Deyo RA, Weinstein JN, Low Back Pain, N Engl J Med, Vol 344, No. 5, Feb 1, 2001, pp 363-370.
Stretch #3 Lumbar Rotation
This is the first stretch in the series that is progressive assuming the previous movements were tolerable.
Laying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat, put your knees and feet together as if you had a mermaid tail. Next, take a deep breath in a and as you exhale slowly drop your knees to the side, inhale bringing the legs back up to the starting position and exhale again as you drop them to the other side.
You do not need to have your knees touch the floor, work within your own pain-free range of motion.
Working this movement side to side creates a rotational motion in the lumbar spine and can help reduce tension if you are trying to fix lower back pain at home. This is a great exercise because it is an unassisted stretch that targets the low back which can be a difficult area to alleviate pain on your own.
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How Long Is Too Long To Suffer From Back Pain
Nothing makes a long day even longer than having to deal with back pain. If you’re suffering from lower back pain, even simple tasks like picking up a bag of groceries can feel overwhelming.
What’s more, the cause of your lower back pain may be more complicated than the actual twisting or lifting that brought it on in the first place and preventing future pain means getting to the source of what caused it.
“If you wait to do something about lower back pain until it’s become debilitating, you’ve waited too long,” says Dr. Hosun Hwang, spine specialist at Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital. “Most people’s back pain dissipates in about a week or two, but if your pain is long-term or chronic, it’s time to see a spine specialist.”
How Do You Treat Lower Back Pain
In general, the goals of treating lower back pain are to correct any physical problem, improve symptoms, and prevent future problems. The exact way doctors accomplish these goals will depend on the underlying cause of lower back pain. Doctors often start with conservative treatments first including:
- Corset braces that wrap around the back and stomach to support and stabilize the lower back
- NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen and naproxen , which can help relieve pain and swelling
- Other medications, including muscle relaxants, narcotic pain relievers, and antidepressants, which can help with certain types of nerve pain
- Physical therapy to strengthen core and back muscles, restore function, and teach you how to protect your back. Physical therapists can also teach you how to ease lower back pain with specific lower back pain stretches.
- Rest, ice or heat therapy can relieve pain and reduce swelling due to minor injuries
- Topical pain relievers
When conservative treatments fail, doctors may recommend corticosteroids, either orally or as an injection. If lower back pain persists for six months to a year , it may be time to consider surgery for lower back pain. Surgery is also an option when doctors can identify a specific cause of lower back pain that will respond to it. Examples include disc replacement and spinal fusion.
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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.
When Are Diagnostic Tests For Lower Back Pain Necessary
Many patients do not need X-rays in the first few weeks of pain because their pain will end up resolving. Many more do not need CT scans or MRI imaging, which are overly sensitive and often reveal abnormalities not related to the patients pain. These forms of imaging can be extremely useful, however, if a person has chronic or severe pain, and/or neurological symptoms. Blood tests may be ordered if an infection or tumor is suspected.
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Mechanical Lower Back Pain
Because it represents 97% of cases, mechanical low back pain deserves to be discussed first. To determine the factors that bring out the pain, the doctor will consider the following causes of mechanical low back pain:
- Muscle strain.
- Spondylolisthesis .
- Osteoarthritis .
- Spinal stenosis .
Low back pain that gets worse with sitting may indicate a herniated lumbar disc . This is because certain positions of the body can change the amount of pressure that an out-of-place disc can press on a nerve. This is one reason we suggest to people with low back pain to periodically get up and stretch or walk around rather than continually stay sitting. Acute onset, that is, pain that comes on suddenly, may suggest a herniated disc or a muscle strain, as opposed to a more gradual onset of pain, which fits more with osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, or spondylolisthesis.
Simple Stretches To Relieve Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain can be a debilitating and painful condition.
Fortunately, staying physically active may be the most effective and cost-efficient way to soothe or prevent it.
Here are 8 simple stretches to relieve lower back pain.
Although its origin varies, changes in the lumbar, or lower back, structure due to musculoskeletal damage are considered to be the main cause .
Your musculoskeletal system is made up of bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissues that provide form, support, stability, and movement to your body.
Other muscles that play an important role in maintaining the normal curvature of your spinal column are reported to be associated with lower back pain. These include the hip flexor and hamstring muscles .
Minor lower back pain normally gets better on its own within a few days or weeks. It can be considered chronic when it persists for more than three months .
In either case, staying physically active and regularly stretching can help reduce lower back pain or prevent it from returning .
The remainder of this article provides eight stretches for lower back pain, all of which you can do in the comfort of your own home with minimal or no equipment.
Summary Lower back pain is an incredibly common condition that can be relieved or prevented with regular exercise and stretching.
The knee-to-chest stretch can help lengthen your lower back, relieving tension and pain.
To perform the knee-to-chest stretch:
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