Why Is Lower Back Pain Such A Common Problem
The bottom part of your back typically has just five vertebrae fewer than your neck and mid-back. And these vertebrae do a lot of heavy lifting! Your lower back is where your spine connects to your pelvis, bearing the weight of your upper body. This area experiences a lot of movement and stress, which may lead to wear, tear and injuries.
When Should I See A Doctor If I Have Lower Back Pain
In many cases lower back pain stops on its own. But if it doesnt, here are some guidelines on when you may want to start seeking professional help:
- If the pain lasts four weeks or longer
- If the pain keeps getting worse as time goes by
- If you are experiencing other symptoms, such as fever, major weight loss or weight gain, loss of function or weakness in extremities, bladder problems, etc.
When To Seek Immediate Treatment For Severe Lower Back Pain
A lot of cases of low back pain do not require immediate care, but anyone ought to see a doctor right away if severe low back pain is a result of injury, or if pain is accompanied by any of the following signs:
- Severe, continuous abdominal pain .
- Fever and chills.
- Inexplicable current weight loss.
- Substantial leg weakness.
- Abrupt bowel and/or bladder incontinence either difficulty passing urine or having a defecation, or loss of control of urination or bowel movement .
In cases where immediate treatment is a required, physicians will investigate possible serious causes of the pain, including any kind of spine infection, growth or fracture.
Normally, more youthful individuals are most likely to experience pain in the back from a lower back muscle pressure or from within the disc space itself such as a lumbar disc herniation or lumbar degenerative disc condition.
This article information a description of common signs and their possible causes in more youthful adults. The next page information common reasons for lower back pain in adults older than age 60.
Symptoms: Severe or aching pain in the lower back that begins after activity, unexpected motion, or raising a heavy things.
These lower back pain signs include any mix of the following:
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How To Know If You Have Arthritis On The Spine
About 80% of back pain is acute, and this type of back pain usually lasts less than seven days. Pain that lasts longer than seven days is considered chronic, and one of the most common causes of chronic back pain is spinal arthritis. If you are experiencing persistent pain or stiffness in your back, especially in your lower back, you could be one of the 50 million American adults with arthritis of the spine.
Or You Could Be Dying What Are The Odds That Back Pain Is Something Scary
Of course there are cases of low back pain that have alarming causes, but its reassuringly rare. Once in a while back pain is a warning sign of cancer, autoimmune disease, infection, or a handful of other scary culprits.7 Over the age of 55, about one in twenty cases turns out to be a fracture, and one in a hundred is more ominous.8 The further you are from 55, the better your odds.
But how can you tell? It can be tricky. This is a concise, readable guide to symptoms that need better-safe-than-sorry investigation with your doctor. In other words, this article explains the difference between dangerous and just painful as clearly as possible. Tables, checklists, and examples ahead.
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You Have Unexplained Weight Loss
If you experience sudden weight loss that can’t be explained by diet and lifestyle changes, then you should always pay attention to what your body is telling you. This is especially true when the unexplained weight loss is accompanied by back pain. See your doctor to rule out the possibility of a more severe condition, such as an infection or tumor.
Inflammatory Lower Back Pain
Although comparatively few patients have low back pain due to a systemic inflammatory condition, the problem can be life long and can impair function significantly. The good news is that treatments can help essentially all patients, and can lead to major improvements.
Seronegative spondyloarthropathies are a group of inflammatory diseases that begin at a young age, with gradual onset. Like other inflammatory joint diseases, they are associated with morning stiffness that gets better with exercise. Sometimes fusion of vertebrae in the cervical or lumbar regions of the spine occurs. Drugs called TNF-alpha blocking agents, which are used for rheumatoid arthritis, are also used to treat the stiffness, pain, and swelling of spondyloarthropathy, when the cases are severe and not responsive to traditional medications
People who have spondyloarthropathy have stiffness that is generally worst in the morning, and have decreased motion of the spine. They also can have decreased ability to take a deep breath due to loss of motion of the chest wall. Its important for the physician to look for problems with chest wall expansion in patients with spondyloarthropathy.
syndrome is one of the forms of spondyloarthropathy. It is a form of arthritis that occurs in reaction to an infection somewhere in the body, and it carries its own set of signs and symptoms. The doctor will look for:
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All Of The Worst Possible Causes Of Back Pain And Their Major Features
None of these are common. All of them usually cause serious symptoms that are easy to take seriously. Some of them can fly under the radar in early stages, but usually not for long. The names of the conditions link to carefully chosen articles from good sources.The worst possible causes of back pain
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Finucane LM, Downie A, Mercer C, et al. International Framework for Red Flags for Potential Serious Spinal Pathologies. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2020 Jul 50:350372. PubMed #32438853
Signs That Its Time To Call A Doctor For Your Back Pain
Most people have experienced back pain at some point in their lives. It’s actually the leading cause of disability worldwide and the most common reason people call out of work. Back pain can come in many different forms, ranging from a dull ache that lasts only a few days to severe pain that lasts for weeks.
Depending on the intensity of the pain, there are many treatments you can try at home to help. But how do you know when it’s time to stop home remedies and see a physician?
If any of the following applies to your back pain, then it’s time to make an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible.
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General Health And Lifestyle Issues
If youre a woman, lower left back pain may be a symptom of a gynecological disorder.
And, if youre overweight , this could be the culprit behind any pain you have in the left side of your lower back.
Generally speaking, weight loss and a healthy diet and lifestyle can significantly reduce lower back pain.
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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What Structures Make Up The Back
The back is an intricate structure of bones, muscles, and other tissues that form the back, or posterior part of the bodys trunk, from the neck to the pelvis. At the center is the spinal column, which not only supports the upper bodys weight but houses and protects the spinal cord the delicate nervous system structure that carries signals that control the bodys movements and convey its sensations. Stacked on top of one another are about 30 bones the vertebrae that form the spinal column, also known as the spine. Each of these bones contains a roundish hole that, when stacked in line with all the others, creates a channel that surrounds the spinal cord. The spinal cord descends from the base of the brain and extends to just below the rib cage.1
Starting at the top, the spine has four vertebral regions:
- Seven cervical or neck vertebrae
- Twelve thoracic or upper back vertebrae
- Five lumbar vertebrae , known as the lower back
- The sacrum and coccyx, a group of bones fused together at the base of the spine.
What Are The Symptoms Of Low Back Pain
Low back pain is classified as acute and chronic. Acute low back pain lasts from a few days to a few weeks. Most acute low back pain will resolve on its own. Chronic low back pain lasts for more than 3 months and often gets worse. The cause of chronic low back pain can be hard to find. These are the most common symptoms of low back pain. Symptoms may include discomfort or pain in the lower back that is:
- Protruding or herniated disk
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Risk Factors For Spinal Arthritis
If you are experiencing back pain that has been diagnosed as spinal arthritis, you may be wondering what caused the condition. In many cases, the exact cause of spinal arthritis is unknown. However, one common cause is general wear and tear, as the cartilage between the facet joints gradually breaks down, leading to pain and inflammation. Some forms of spinal arthritis may even be hereditary. Other possible risk factors for spinal arthritis include:
- Injury or trauma to the joint
- The existence of other medical conditions, such as diabetes, Lyme disease, or gout
What Are The Causes Of Chronic Back Pain
According to the study, the lower back pain is the leading cause of disability. Now, the question is what causes chronic back pain. Before talking about the causes of chronic back pain, it would be better to know about the structure of the human back.
*All individuals are unique. Your results can and will vary.
The structure of human back is very complex. It consists of muscles, ligaments, disks, bones, and tendons. It there is any sort of problem with any of these components, then a person is likely to suffer from the back pain. Due to a complex structure of a human back, there are many people who also suffer from chronic back pain syndrome. Here are some of the common causes of chronic back pain.
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Signs: Chronic Lower Back Pain Worsened By Certain Positions And Motions
Signs may include any mix of the following:
- Low-level of constant lower back pain stressed by episodes of severe pain/muscle spasms lasting a few days to a couple of months.
- Persistent pain that can vary from unpleasant to severe.
- severe back pain intensified by sitting.
- Strolling, even running, might feel better than sitting/standing.
- Changing positions frequently relieves severe pain.
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.
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How Can You Prevent Lower Back Pain
While you cant stop aging or change your genetic makeup, lifestyle changes can help manage and prevent lower back pain. Having a healthy lifestyle may make you less likely to suffer an accidental injury, too.
Improve your physical fitness. People who are not physically fit are more likely to develop lower back pain because strong core muscles help support the lower back.
Stay active. People who lead sedentary lives may be more likely to injure themselves when they do exert themselves. As far as back health is concerned, its better to do a smaller amount of physical activity most days of the week than to sit all week and over-exert yourself on the weekends.
Lose weight if necessary. The more you weigh, the more pressure you have on your lumbar vertebrae. Being overweight or obese can put stress on the back and lead to lower back pain.
Lift heavy objects the right way. Be sure to squat while lifting so that your hips and knees do much of the work. Keep the load close to your chest while you lift.
Your legs, not your lower back, should be the main driver when you’re lifting something heavy.Make your workspace as ergonomic as possible. If you sit at a desk, make sure your chair has plenty of low-back support and your hips are at a right angle to the floor.
Dont use tobacco products. In addition to all the other health problems tobacco use causes, it can restrict blood flow and oxygen to the discs, causing them to degenerate faster.
What Can I Do For Low Back Pain At Home
If your lower back pain has just started, the best thing you can do is start a log. Record your symptoms, times, dates and which activities trigger the pain or make it worse or better. Take this information to your family physician if the pain doesnt resolve on its own. It will make diagnosing the cause much easier.
Once you know which motion or position causes your lower back pain, try to avoid it and see if you get better. Icing the painful spot can also help. And so can over-the-counter pain relievers that help reduce inflammation. Just remember that pain killers treat only the symptom pain and not its cause.
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The Big Three Signs That You Should Investigate For An Ominous Cause Of Persistent Low Back Pain
You shouldnt worry about low back pain until three conditions have been met:
The presence of the big three does not confirm that something horrible is going on. It only means that you need to check carefully.
Andy Whitfield as Spartacus
At his physical peak, not long before getting sick. The first sign of his cancer was steadily worsening back pain. He may have already been in pain at this time.
The story of actor Andy Whitfield is a disturbing and educational example of a case that met these conditions for sure the first two, and probably the third as well if we knew the details. Whitfield was the star of the hit TV show Spartacus . The first sign of the cancer that killed him in 2011 was steadily worsening back pain. Its always hard to diagnose a cancer that starts this way, but Whitfield was in the middle of intense physical training to look the part of historys most famous gladiator. Back pain didnt seem unusual at first, and some other symptoms may have been obscured. Weight loss could have even seemed like a training victory at first! It was many long months before he was diagnosed not until the back pain was severe and constant. A scan finally revealed a large tumour pressing against his spine.
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Severe Lower Back Pain Causes In Adults
Certain reasons for severe lower back pain tend to happen more often in more youthful individuals versus older grownups:
- Younger grownups are most likely to experience back pain from the disc area itself or from a back muscle strain or other soft tissue stress.
- Older grownups are more likely to deal with pain related to joint degeneration or from a compression fracture.
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Complete Guide To Low Back Pain
This article might ease your mind, but what about your back pain? If your pain is becoming chronic , or if you just keep having flare-ups, you may want to dive much deeper into the topic. There arent any easy answers for stubborn back pain, but there is evidence-based hope, and the PainScience.com back pain tutorial explores the topic extremely thoroughly. The main text is written for patients, but its also extensively referenced for keen readers and healthcare professionals. Read the introduction.