How Is Lower Back Pain Diagnosed
Your provider will ask about your symptoms and do a physical exam. To check for broken bones or other damage, your provider may order imaging studies. These studies help your provider see clear pictures of your vertebrae, disks, muscles, ligaments and tendons.
Your provider may order:
- Spine X-ray, which uses radiation to produce images of bones.
- MRI, which uses a magnet and radio waves to create pictures of bones, muscles, tendons and other soft tissues.
- CT scan, which uses X-rays and a computer to create 3D images of bones and soft tissues.
Depending on the cause of pain, your provider may also order blood tests or urine tests. Blood tests can detect genetic markers for some conditions that cause back pain . Urine tests check for kidney stones, which cause pain in the flank .
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.
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.
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Understanding The Lower Back
The lower back is also called the lumbosacral area of the back. It is the part of the back between the bottom of the ribs and the top of the legs.
Most of the lower back is made up from muscles that attach to, and surround, the spine. The spine is made up of many bones called vertebrae. The vertebrae are roughly circular and between each vertebra is a disc. The discs between the vertebrae are a combination of a strong fibrous outer layer and a softer, gel-like centre. The discs act as shock absorbers and allow the spine to be flexible.
Remedies To Relieve Lower Back Pain Fast
We all want to know the best way to relieve lower back pain fast. At best, backache can be frustrating, perhaps draining. At its worst, this kind of discomfort can be utterly debilitating. If you have ever awakened with a terrible backache, you may have also learned how quickly such an ailment can derail your day, your week, or even several months or years.
Fortunately, there are remedies to combat that ache. From exercising to getting better sleep to reducing your stress levels, you can choose from a variety of strategies. The next time you have a backache , consider the following methods of back pain relief. Remember to discuss at-home back pain remedies with your doctor before you make use of them.
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Three: Get Consistent Chiropractic Care
Often the first sign of a problem is pain.
Pain is similar to a check engine light.
The body is not sure what is wrong, but it knows that something is off-kilter.
One of the best ways to avoid the check engine light turning on is getting the oil changed or rotating the tires.
This is the same belief behind getting regular Chiropractic care.
Did You Know
Typically, preventative or maintenance care with a chiropractor involves visiting about once per month to get your body checked.
This includes monitoring posture, muscle strength or spasm, and most importantly, ensuring the bones are aligned so the whole body can function correctly.
Chiropractic is best at making sure the body is both flexible and strong.
So when you want to prevent spinal pain, make sure to get a monthly check-up.
Chronic Lower Back Pain
When back pain continues for more than three months, it is considered chronic. Although for most people an episode of back pain is over by that time, in some cases it progresses and can have a major impact on ones ability to function. For some patients, physical therapy with local heat or ice application , combined with a home exercise program and education in proper positions for lifting and other movement techniques can make a major difference. Patients must learn to tolerate a certain degree of pain, or they may allow themselves to become more disabled than necessary. Patients at the Hospital for Special Surgery have had success with graded exercise to work through the pain, gradually increasing the exercise quota at each session so they can learn to tolerate more exercise in spite of the pain, and get back to work and activities. Read more detail on this topic in .
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We Need Make Our Default Choices More Back
Theres a pretty simple adage public health officials stick to: Make it easy for people to stay healthy, and make it hard for them to get sick.
When it comes to back pain in America, we make it easy for people to get sick and hard for them to stay healthy.
Theres a complete disconnect between what insurance providers will cover for people and what actually helps their back pain. Its still much easier to get your opioids or back surgery paid for by your insurance provider than to get a massage or exercise program reimbursed.
More states need to move in the direction of places like Oregon, where insurance payers are making the default options for people with back pain healthier by expanding access to, and coverage for, non-drug options.
For example, the Oregon Health Plan has ensured that alternatives like acupuncture and physical therapy are covered. Its also expanded access to treatment for the behavioral health factors that are associated with back pain by paying primary care clinics extra to be able to hire behavioral health specialists and meet patients who may not have had access to those services. Finally, its opened non-medication pain clinics, where people with low back pain can get a range of treatments as well as help to taper off their opioid prescriptions.
How To Prevent Lower Back Pain After Running
Sport & Activity
Here’s how you can identify the cause of your discomfort so you can manage symptomsand potentially treat it for good.
Running provides people with many physical and mental benefits but it’s tough to enjoy the exercise if you’re experiencing lower back pain after you run. Whether it’s a sharp pain or a dull ache, lower back pain can cause you to cut your run short.
It’s not uncommon to experience lower back pain from running, especially if you have weak core muscles. Or the pain after running could be the result of another underlying problem. While some causes of a runner’s lower back pain may require medical attention, most common aches and pains can be treated at home. And you can prevent lower back pain by getting stronger, improving your mobility and increasing your speed and distance gradually. A solid pair of well-fitting running shoes can also set a runner up for success.
Read on to find out how to identify the cause of your lower back pain after a run. Then, get tips on how to prevent and potentially even treat it for good.
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What Exactly Is The Lower Back Anyway
Your lower back is known as the lumbar region of the spine. It has a lot of heavy lifting to do: The lumbar spine carries the weight of your entire upper body, plus biomechanical stresses that occur with movement.
The lumbar spine has five vertebraebackbones. Each vertebra has a large disc cushiony gel wrapped in a tough membrane on its front side that acts as a shock absorber. Each vertebra also has two cartilage-lined facet joints on its back side. Working together, discs and facet joints allow the spine to safely bend and twist.
Your lower back also includes ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Ligaments are strong bands that hold the vertebrae and discs together. Tendons attach muscles to the vertebrae. These structures help limit excessive movement that could harm the spinal cord.
What Causes Low Back Pain
Injuries are a common cause of low back pain. Examples include a muscle strain or spasm, ligament sprain, joint problem, or a slipped disk. A slipped disk, or herniated disk, has to do with your spine. It occurs when a disk between the bones of your spine swells or bulges and presses on your nerves. Twisting while lifting often causes this. Many people who have a slipped disk do not know what caused it.
You may have low back pain after doing an activity you arent used to, such as lifting heavy furniture or doing yard work. Sudden events, such as a fall or a car wreck, can cause low back pain. You also may have low back pain from an injury to another part of your body.
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Don’t Rest An Achy Back
Doctors used to prescribe bed rest for back pain. But now we know that lying still is one of the worst things you can do. It can make back pain worse and lead to other complications. Don’t rest for more than a day or two. It’s important to get up and slowly start moving again. Exercise has been found to be one of the most effective ways to relieve back pain quickly. Try swimming, walking, or yoga.
Were Learning How Much Back Pain Is Mental And That Mind
So where does physical therapy usually a combination of guided exercises, mobilization, superficial heat or cold, and health advice fit into the back pain treatment picture?
In AHRQs read of the evidence, it didnt seem to work better than simple advice to remain active when it came to reducing pain and improving function.
Nowadays, though, there are also several different kinds of physical therapies that also integrate psychotherapy or cognitive behavioral therapy, often called multidisciplinary rehabilitation.
Multidisciplinary rehab takes the biopsychosocial view of back pain again, that the pain arises from the interplay of physical, psychological, and social factors. It can of course be tricky to disentangle whether mood disorders like anxiety or depression contribute to peoples pain, or whether they arise out of the pain, but either way, the biopsychosocial model views the physical as only one part of the equation. So these practitioners deal with whats going on inside the head as part of their back pain therapy helping patients get treatment for their depression or anxiety, or guiding them through cognitive behavioral therapy to improve their coping skills.
Perhaps not surprisingly, multidisciplinary therapy appears to work slightly better than physical therapy alone for chronic back pain in both the short and long term. Patients who get these more holistic treatments are also more likely to return to work.
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Rub On Medicated Creams
Skin creams, salves, ointments, or patches may help when your back feels stiff, sore, and tense. Many of these products contain ingredients such as menthol, camphor, or lidocaine that can cool, heat, or numb the affected area.
Put on creams right where you hurt. Ask someone to apply it if you have trouble reaching the spot.
âIt’s not going to be a mainstay at providing significant relief, but it can calm things down,â Ray says.
The Best Lower Back Inflammation Home Treatment
The first step in treating lumbar inflammation is natural pain relief.
As long as youre in pain, its very hard to be motivated to do anything else, if at all.
I hope you already know that taking NSAIDs is no solution.
Even if they temporarily relieve your pain, they wont actually cure the inflammation and the huge price you liver and kidneys will pay for it is not worth it.
Science has already proven that some foods and herbs are just as effective pain relievers as the common pain killers, without any side effects and risks.
Lets start with the ultimate anti-inflammation foods & herbs:
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Finding Lower Back Pain Relief
Nearly everyone will experience some form of back pain in his or her lifetime. The low back is the area behind the belly from the rib cage to the pelvis and is also called the lumbar region. Back pain is a major cause of missed work. Low back pain usually resolves on its own and is commonly the result of a strain injury. There are many treatments for low back pain.
At Risk for Lower Back Pain?
Low back pain can start in a person’s early twenties and continue on throughout adulthood. Studies have shown that up to 80% of the general population are affected by low back pain at some time during their lives. Learn to prevent lower back pain by knowing what activities could be putting you at risk.
Common Causes of Low Back Pain
- Manual materials handling
- Twisting of the trunk
- Bending the trunk to the side
- Excessive reaching
- Extreme tallness
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.
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*a Note On The Methods For This Installment Of Show Me The Evidence
Theres a mountain of research on low back pain. So I zeroed in on the highest-quality evidence: systematic reviews. These are syntheses of the research evidence that bring together all the highest-quality studies to come to more fully supported conclusions.
I found the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality , a federal agency that crunches the best available data on the effectiveness of health care interventions and had recently published a comprehensive 800-page systematic review of research on noninvasive treatments for low back pain. The AHRQ review covered 156 of the best back pain studies from 2008 to April 2015. I then searched for low back painrelated systematic reviews on PubMed Health, the government search engine that specializes in systematic reviews and meta-analyses, to cover the recent period left out of the AHRQ review .
To make sure I wasnt missing anything, I consulted the chronic and acute low back pain articles on UpToDate, , the Cochrane Library of systematic reviews, and guidelines.gov, and sometimes followed the footnotes in these reviews to other studies. Ramins book Crookedwas also an excellent source for thinking on back pain. Finally, I conducted interviews with nine back pain doctors and researchers, including authors of many of the systematic reviews referenced here.
Correction: A previous version of this article referred to John Sarnos medical specialty as psychiatry. Instead, it was rehabilitation medicine.
Tips For Dealing With Lower Back Pain
By Robert Greenleaf, MD, Spine Surgeon
Lower back pain is extremely common and one of the top reasons for missed workdays. Thats because the lower back supports the weight of the upper body and is subject to a lot of stress and strainespecially during everyday movements like lifting and twisting.
One of two things typically causes lower back pain: a sudden injury or the wear and tear of aging, arthritis and physical activity. No matter the cause of your lower back pain, here are 10 recommendations that can help you relieve it and prevent future problems.
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Exercises To Help Lower Back Pain
The exercises below are meant to strengthen and improve flexibility in your muscles to support your lower back. Lower back pain may be recurring or a one-time experience. Doing these back strengthening exercises daily will ease lower back pain and prevent future episodes by strengthening your abdominal, hip, and back muscles.
Knee to Chest Stretch
This stretch is an easy way to warm up for your workout.
âStep 1: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
âStep 2: Use both hands to pull one knee into your chest.
âStep 3: Tighten your abdominals and press your spine to the floor. Hold for 5 seconds.
âStep 4: Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
You can repeat this stretch 2 to 3 times in the morning and at night.
Lower Back Rotational Stretch
This is another easy stretch to get your muscles ready to move.
âStep 1: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
âStep 2: Keep your shoulders firmly on the floor, roll your bent knees to one side and hold for 5 to 10 seconds.
âStep 3: Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
You can repeat this 2 to 3 times in the morning and night.
Glute Bridges Exercise
This exercise aims to strengthen your glute and abdominal muscles.
âStep 1: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
âStep 3: Hold the position as long as you can, starting with 3 deep breaths. Then return to the starting position.