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How To Help Lower Back

When Is Lower Back Pain An Emergency

How to Fix Lower Back Pain off to the Side

Most episodes of lower back pain eventually resolve on their own, but there are times when you should seek urgent medical attention. Some of these situations include:

  • Patient is a child
  • Pain is severe, constant, suddenly or progressively worsens, and/or doesnt go away
  • Pain interrupts sleep

While some situations may warrant immediate intervention, most cases are not urgent and can be scheduled at a time convenient for the patient.

Stretching And Exercising Your Lower Back

  • 1Take short walks each day. While complete bedrest might feel like the safest response to a lower back strain, it can actually worsen your back pain. Walk and move through your day as you normally do, stopping if anything worsens the pain.XResearch source
  • Walk 10 to 15 minutes a day at first and work up to more.
  • 2Perform press-ups twice a day. Lie on your belly in push-up position, with your palms on the floor. Relax the lower half of your body entirely. Press your hands to the floor and straighten your arms. Breathe, then slowly bend your arms and lower yourself to the floor.XResearch source
  • Be careful not to tighten or lift your hips as you do this exercise. Let your arms and shoulders do all the work.
  • Do this twice a day, 8-10 times. Go slowly, and take pauses if it is painful or tiring.
  • 3Arch your back for a gentle stretch. While standing, put your hands over the tops of your buttocks, look at the ceiling, and arch your back. Relax, then repeat.XResearch source
  • Do 8-10 reps of this in the morning and the evening when you do your other stretches.
  • Sleep On A Quality Mattress

    Lower back pain sufferers usually benefit from sleeping on a medium-firm mattress. However, your preferred sleep position also should influence your mattress selection. To maintain good posture, side sleepers should select a softer mattress. Back and stomach sleepers should choose a firmer mattress. If you have lower back pain, its a good idea to avoid sleeping on your stomach altogether.

    If your lower back pain doesnt improve after 4 to 6 weeks of home care using these suggestions, you should see your doctor. You also should contact your doctor right away if you have any red flags, including:

    • A history of cancer or a recent infection
    • A recent fall or other accident
    • Extreme fatigue
    • Signs of infection, such as fever, chills, sweats
    • Nerve problems, such as shooting pain, numbness or tingling
    • Changes in bowel or bladder function

    Other options for treating lower back pain may include physical therapy, pain management with cortisone injections or, in certain cases, surgery. Although lower back surgery can be beneficial for patients who are experiencing nerve problems and injured discs, its not typically recommended for patients with other types of lower back pain.

    Download the Virtua Health Guide to Back Pain, or call to request a consultation with a Virtua back pain specialist.

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    Whats The Best Position For Sleeping

    The best way to sleep is on your side with your knees bent. You may put a pillow under your head to support your neck. You also may put a pillow between your knees for added comfort. If you sleep on your back, put pillows under your knees and a small pillow under your lower back. Dont sleep on your stomach unless you put a pillow under your hips.

    Use a firm mattress. If your mattress is too soft, put a 1/2-inch plywood board under the mattress to add support.

    Is Your Job Causing Back Pain

    Pin on workout

    A job that involves pulling, lifting, or twisting with the low back can cause injury and low back pain. Even prolonged sitting in an awkward position can cause low back pain. Standing on your feet for hours on end? That can cause lower back pain too. The best way to prevent back pain is to know if you are at risk.

    Jobs That Can Cause Lower Back Pain

    • Airline crew
    • Surgeons
    • Office personnel

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    Symptoms Of Herniated Lumbar Disc:

    Lower back pain Leg pain Leg numbness or tingling Pain is worse from sitting Restricted trunk flexionSciatica pain

    Please note, a herniated disc DOESNT always cause pain, so you must get a proper diagnosis.

    IMPORTANT:

    Lower back pain is typically the first symptom of a lumbar disc herniation. Often this pain will last for a few days and then subside, but leg pain, numbness or tingling, and/or weakness of the lower extremity often follows.

    Typically the leg pain eventually travels below the knee and can even affect the ankle and foot.

    How long does the pain last?

    Most patients with a lumbar disc herniation will improve gradually over a period of days to weeks, with most patients being symptom free within 3 to 4 months.

    Exercise works.

    Patients that actively participate in an exercise program often report a significant reduction of pain and improved ability to perform their activities of daily living.

    Yoga: Stretching For Back Pain

    If back pain doesn’t go away in three months, there’s evidence that yoga can help. In one recent study, people who took 12 weeks of yoga classes had fewer symptoms of low back pain than people who were given a book about care for back pain. The benefits lasted several months after the classes were finished. The study suggests conventional stretching also works just as well. Make sure your instructor is experienced at teaching people with back pain and will modify postures for you as needed.

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    Get Enough Restorative Sleep

    Pain is a leading cause of insomniadifficulty with falling asleep and/or staying asleep. Inadequate sleep can also make your back pain worse. This vicious cycle makes it more difficult for you to get restorative sleep.

    See Restorative Sleep Brings Back Pain Relief

    Getting enough restorative sleep is needed for the bodys tissues to heal and recharge energy levels. If you have trouble sleeping, it is important to address pain or other factors that are causing it. Your doctor might recommend lifestyle changes, medications, or other treatments depending on what is disrupting your sleep.

    What Are The Most Effective Treatment Options

    How to Fix Your Lower Back Pain for Good

    Leons Notes:research

    With most bulging discs in the lower back, you want to try an extension based exercise program . This can reverse the direction of the bulge and push the fluid back into neutral alignment. Also, working to strengthen your core is important.

    Notes:

    Note: Always monitor your pain severity and location, if these exercises make you feel worse, stop doing them and try a different exercise or consult with your doctor.

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    Symptoms Of Low Back Pain

    Low back pain varies by person. It may be a dull ache or a sharp, stabbing pain. It could be acute or chronic . You may have pain in other parts of your body as well as your back.

    • Your pain goes down your leg below your knee.
    • Your leg, foot, groin, or rectum feel numb.
    • You have fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, or weakness.
    • You have trouble going to the bathroom.
    • Your pain was caused by an injury.
    • Your pain is so intense that you cant move around.
    • Your pain doesnt improve or gets worse after 2 to 3 weeks.

    When Should You See A Doctor About Lower Back Pain

    Back pain is common and often recedes quickly, but its important to talk with a doctor if:

    • The pain began with a specific injury
    • Pain continues or worsens for more than a few days
    • Pain is debilitating
    • Pain radiates to the legs or other parts of the body
    • You experience weakness or numbness in your lower body
    • There are signs of infection like redness, warmth, swelling, or fever
    • You have a personal history of cancer
    • You have other unexplained health changes like weight loss or urinary problems

    A doctor can review your symptoms and determine the appropriate next steps for testing, diagnosis, and treatment.

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    Low Back Pain Fact Sheet

    If you have had lower back pain, you are not alone. Back pain is one of most common reasons people see a doctor or miss days at work. Even school-age children can have back pain.

    Back pain can range in intensity from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp or shooting pain. It can begin suddenly as a result of an accident or by lifting something heavy, or it can develop over time as we age. Getting too little exercise followed by a strenuous workout also can cause back pain.

    There are two types of back pain:

    • Acute, or short-term back pain lasts a few days to a few weeks. Most low back pain is acute. It tends to resolve on its own within a few days with self-care and there is no residual loss of function. In some cases a few months are required for the symptoms to disappear.
    • Chronic back pain is defined as pain that continues for 12 weeks or longer, even after an initial injury or underlying cause of acute low back pain has been treated. About 20 percent of people affected by acute low back pain develop chronic low back pain with persistent symptoms at one year. Even if pain persists, it does not always mean there is a medically serious underlying cause or one that can be easily identified and treated. In some cases, treatment successfully relieves chronic low back pain, but in other cases pain continues despite medical and surgical treatment.

    Symptoms Of Lower Back Pain

    Can Mattress Toppers Cause Lower Back Pain?

    The symptoms of lower back pain can vary from person to person. It may come on suddenly, perhaps after youve lifted something heavy or moved in a way thats hurt your back. Or it may come on gradually over time or for no apparent reason. The pain can be mild or severe. Some people also have pain in the buttock or down one leg, sometimes as far as the calf or the toes. This is called sciatica.

    Most people with back pain symptoms have whats called non-specific back pain. This means theres no clear or specific cause . It means that often tests cant really help because no specific damage to the spine or muscles around it would show up on them. This might sound unsettling, but it means that theres no serious cause for the pain.

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    Low Back Pain Symptoms: Does Your Back Hurt

    Low back pain symptoms range from sharp and stabbing to a dull ache. The pains can be constant or intermittent and positional. Acute low back pain can appear suddenly after injury. Chronic back pain is defined as pain lasting more than three months. Consult a doctor if you have prolonged back pain longer than 72 hours.

    % 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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    Maintain Correct Posture During Activities

    To protect your lower back from injury, its important to maintain proper posture when performing physical activitiesespecially if you play sports or have a job that requires repetitive motions. Avoid slouching as much as possible and aim to keep your spine erect. When lifting, bend and straighten from the knees, not the waist. And be sure to move your hips when twisting from side to side.

    Find Relief Through Ice And Heat

    Quick Lower Back Pain Relief With 3 Easy Steps

    Break out that bag of frozen peas for the first 48 hours after the pain sets in, and put it to use for 20 minutes a session, several sessions per day. After those two days are behind you, switch to 20-minute intervals with a heating pad.

    Localized cooling shuts down capillaries and reduces blood flow to the area, which helps ease the swelling, says Lisa DeStefano, DO, an associate professor at Michigan State Universitys College of Osteopathic Medicine in East Lansing. Cold also thwarts your nerves ability to conduct pain signals. Heat, on the other hand, loosens tight muscles and increases circulation, bringing extra oxygen to the rescue.

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    Take Action: Prevent Injuries

    Good posture can help prevent back pain.

    • Try not to slouch when standing and sitting
    • Sit up straight with your back against the back of your chair and your feet flat on the floor if possible, keep your knees slightly higher than your hips
    • Stand tall with your head up and shoulders back
    • If you can, switch between standing and sitting so youre not in the same position for too long
    • Find out how to have good posture while sitting at a computer

    When Is Not Helpful

    Back pain is one of the most common reasons why people visit a health care provider. The good news is that the pain often goes away on its own, and people usually recover in a week or two. Many people want to stay in bed when their back hurts. For many years, getting bed rest was the normal advice. But current studies recommend no bed rest at all and stress that staying in bed longer than 48 hours not only wont help but it may, in fact, actually delay your recovery. Heres why:

    Staying in bed wont help you get better faster.If youre in terrible pain, lying down for a day to help ease the distress may seem like a good idea, but moderating your activities and staying active in a limited way is a more effective way to control your symptoms. Research suggests that if you can find comfortable positions and keep moving, you may not need bed rest at all.Research shows that:

    • Lying down longer than a day or two day isnt helpful for relieving back pain.
    • People can recover more quickly without any bed rest.
    • The sooner you start moving, even a little bit, or return to activities such as walking, the faster you are likely to improve.

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    How Is Back Pain Diagnosed

    Your health professional will first assess your back pain. They may ask questions including:

    • When did your back pain begin?
    • What activities were you doing differently to normal before your back pain started?
    • How would you describe the pain? Is there tingling or numbness?
    • What makes the pain better or worse?

    If your pain doesnt settle after a few weeks or starts getting worse, ask your doctor or other health care professional about other management options. You may be referred for tests if there is reason to suspect a more serious cause for your back pain.

    In most situations, imaging such as X-ray, CT or MRI scans are not helpful unless there is an obvious injury or strain.

    Unnecessary tests can be expensive, and many investigations will show changes in your spine that reflect the normal passage of time, rather than damage to your spine.

    A Closer Look At Pinched Nerve In The Lower Back

    Pin on how to fix lower back pain

    The lumbar or lower back spine consists of five pairs of nerves. Each pair innervates or supplies sensation to specific parts of the lower extremities. Heres a quick overview of the five lumbar spinal nerves:

    • L1 The L1 contributes to the movement of the hip muscles. This nerve pair also supplies sensation to the genital and groin region.
    • L2, L3, and L4 These three nerve pairs control the hip and knee movements. Also, they provide sensation to the inner side of your legs and the front side of the thighs.
    • L5 The pair controls movements of the hips, knees, toes, and feet. In addition, the L5 nerve pair supplies sensation to the outer side of the legs and the uppermost part of each foot.

    In some cases of lumbar pain, the nerve pinching occurs at the sciatic nerve, which comprises five nerves, namely L4, L5, and S1 to S4.

    Unfortunately, when bones, muscles, and blood vessels compress or pinch any of the nerve pairs, you experience searing pain and other notable symptoms such as:

    • Paresthesia or pins and needles sensation
    • Weakness or numbness of the lower back, butt, and leg muscles
    • Searing or stabbing pain that spreads from the lower back to the toes
    • Painful sensations that get worse every time you move your lower extremities

    If you have a rare case of sciatica pain or if your condition has significantly progressed into nerve damage, you might experience additional symptoms. Two examples include urinary incontinence and pain on both sides of the lower body.

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