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What Can Make Your Lower Back Hurt

How To Tell If Your Lower Back Pain Is Muscle

How to Fix Your Lower Back Pain for Good

by Dr. Don DuffAug 20, 2019

The low back is a fairly complicated structure, so its no wonder the majority of peopleexperts estimate up to 80% of usexperience pain in this area of our bodies at some point in our lives. In fact, back pain is one of the most common reasons for visits to the doctors office.

The key to relieving back pain is understanding the cause. But diagnosing the of a patients pain isnt always a straightforward exercise. It could be muscle, joint, or disc-related in some cases, it may even arise from issues unrelated to the back. So how can you tell if your back pain is muscle- or disc-related, or attributable to something else entirely? Well cover all the possibilities in this post.

How Are Back Injuries Treated

Your doctor will examine you to check whether the nerves from your spinal cord are working properly. Make sure you tell them if you have any problems with going to the toilet.

Most minor back injuries get better by themselves within 6 weeks. Usually you will not need any other tests or treatment. The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists recommends that an x-ray for low back pain is only needed if you have other significant symptoms such as problems with bladder and bowel control, severe pain or weakness or numbness in one or both legs. For further information, visit the Choosing Wisely Australia website.

The most important thing you can do is to continue to stay active. A common myth is that bed rest will cure back pain. In fact, bed rest slows down the recovery period and can add to your pain.

Simple pain relief, such as paracetamol or anti-inflammatories, may help. You can talk to your doctor or pharmacist, or call healthdirect for advice on 1800 022 222.

You can help ease injuries to your back by:

  • using cold compresses for 20 minutes at a time every 3 to 4 hours for the first day these will ease pain and swelling
  • using warmth after the first day showers, baths or hot moist towels can help ease pain and help recovery
  • avoiding activities involving bending, lifting and twisting until you feel better

Depending on your job, you may need time off work to allow your back to heal.

What Are Some Complementary Alternative And Emerging Treatments For Lower Back Pain

In some cases, doctors suggest therapies that are not considered standard of care. They probably wont be covered by insurance, but they may be worth considering. Examples include:

Platelet-rich plasma . PRP treatments use a small sample of your own blood that has concentrated amounts of blood building blocks known as platelets. Your doctor then injects the PRP directly into a damaged disc. The theory is that PRP injections use your own healing system to accelerate improvement of injured tendons, ligaments, muscles, and joints. PRP treatment has a longer track record in knee osteoarthritis, but a recent review article in the Journal of Spine Surgery suggests it may have a useful role for back pain, too. PRP needs a lot more research before it can be considered a proven technique.

Stem cells. In this emerging treatment, your doctor injects stem cells harvested from your hip into the intervertebral disc or discs causing your pain. Doing so may lessen pain and the degenerative effects of aging, though, like PRP, more research is needed before stem cells for lower back pain could eventually become the standard of care.

Acupuncture. Your doctor probably doesnt perform acupuncture , but may support you trying it as a complementary therapy. Acupuncture involves careful insertion of fine, sterile needles into specific points on your body. This may stimulate the release of your natural pain-killing chemicals.

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What Exercises Can I Do To Strengthen My Back

Always stretch your back and body before you exercise. For a gentle stretch, lay on your back with your knees bent. Slowly raise your left knee to your chest and press your lower back into the floor. Hold for 5 seconds. Relax and repeat the exercise with your right knee. Do 10 of these exercises for each leg.

In addition to back exercises, its important to stay active in general. Swimming and walking are good exercises to improve your overall fitness.

Chronic Conditions That Cause Back Pain

Pin on Physical Therapy

Conditions that can lead to chronic low back pain include spinal stenosis, spondylitis, and fibromyalgia. Spinal stenosis is narrowing of the normal spinal canal through which the spinal cord passes. Spondylitis is chronic inflammation of the spine. Fibromyalgia is a muscle disorder that features chronic muscle pain and tenderness.

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What Is Low Back Pain

The low back, also called the lumbar region, is the area of the back that starts below the ribcage. Almost everyone has low back pain at some point in life. Itâs one of the top causes of missed work in the U.S. Fortunately, it often gets better on its own. When it doesn’t, your doctor may be able to help with several effective treatments.

Find Back Pain Relief: Lighten Your Bags

Carrying an overstuffed purse, briefcase, or handbag can strain the low back. If you must carry a heavy load, consider using a wheeled briefcase instead. By reducing the amount of weight you’re carrying, you reduce the amount of pressure on the spine. Help keep your kids’ backs healthy by making sure their backpacks are not overloaded. A heavy backpack could mean future back pain for your little ones.

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Running And Lower Back Pain

Running is an activity that involves repetitive stress and impact, sometimes for a long duration. People who have an underlying lower back problem can find running or jogging makes their pain worse or leads to additional types of pain, such as sciatica .

When running or jogging leads to more or additional back pain, it is important to know when to seek treatment and what types of treatment to expect.

Lumbar Sprain Or Muscle Strain Could Be To Blame

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Your lower spine is supported by a network of soft tissues, including muscles, tendons, and ligaments. If you feel irritation, muscle spasms, or tightness across your lower back, hips, or buttocks when walking, the tissues may be damaged. This can lead to lumbar sprain or muscle strain.6

What are the Symptoms of Lumbar Sprain and Muscle Strain?

When you sprain or strain your lumbar spine, the soft tissues in your back can become aggravated and inflamed. The pain can range from slight to debilitating. Depending on the extent of the injury, you may experience:

  • Muscles spasms
  • Stiffness or soreness in your lower back
  • Restricted range of motion
  • Tightness in lower back muscles
  • Pain that radiates from your back to your buttocks7

Possible Causes Of Lumbar Sprain And Muscle Strain

You can strain your lower back by pulling or twisting your lower back muscles suddenly or awkwardly. Chronic strain can occur if you overuse muscles in a repetitive fashion.

Remember the old saying, Lift with your legs, not with your back? You can also experience muscle strain by lifting something improperly or by putting too much stress on your back muscles.

Lumbar sprain can occur when one or more ligaments in your back are stretched beyond their normal range.

This can happen after a fall, an unexpected twist, or a forceful blow to your body.

Excessive activity from aerobic exercise or low-impact exercise can cause a sprain. Displaying incorrect form while exercising can also be troublesome.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Lower Back Pain

Symptoms of lower back pain can come on suddenly or appear gradually. Sometimes, pain occurs after a specific event, such as bending to pick something up. Other times, you may not know what caused the pain.

Pain may be sharp or dull and achy, and it may radiate to your bottom or down the back of your legs . If you strain your back during an activity, you may hear a pop when it happened. Pain is often worse in certain positions and gets better when you lie down.

Other symptoms of lower back pain include:

  • Stiffness: It may be tough to move or straighten your back. Getting up from a seated position may take a while, and you might feel like you need to walk or stretch to loosen up. You may notice decreased range of motion.
  • Posture problems: Many people with back pain find it hard to stand up straight. You may stand crooked or bent, with your torso off to the side rather than aligned with your spine. Your lower back may look flat instead of curved.
  • Muscle spasms: After a strain, muscles in the lower back can spasm or contract uncontrollably. Muscle spasms can cause extreme pain and make it difficult or impossible to stand, walk or move.

Lower Back Pain: What Could It Be

Do you have lower back pain? You are not alone. Anyone can experience lower back pain at any time, even if you dont have a prior injury or any of the risk factors. It is not always serious and can often get better on its own. But in some cases pain is your bodys way of telling you that something isnt right.

Learn more about lower back pain and what causes it from rehabilitation physician Akhil Chhatre, M.D., who specializes in back pain in the Johns Hopkins Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

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What Are The Signs Of A Back Injury

Signs you may have injured your back include:

  • pain or tenderness
  • pain that worsens with movement, coughing, sneezing or laughing
  • stiffness or difficulty moving
  • swelling
  • pain that radiates down one or both legs

However, back pain has many causes. It could be caused by a disease such as osteoarthritis or osteoporosis, your age, physical fitness, smoking, being overweight, or the type of work you do.

It is important to find out the cause of your symptoms so they can be treated properly.

How Is Lumbar Strain Treated

10 Tips For Lower Back Pain To Help You Feel Better Faster

Treatment will depend on your symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.

Treatment may include:

  • Ice packs or heat and compression applied to the back
  • Exercises
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises
  • Learning how to use and wear appropriate protective equipment

Medicines, such as anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, and spinal injections, may also be used to ease pain and inflammation.

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Do Hemorrhoids Cause Back Pain

From a scientific perspective, the link between hemorrhoids and back pain is dubious. Some have speculated that hemorrhoids require so much blood that they drain blood from other sources. Such instances they claim may cause back pain in muscular regions of the back due to a lack of blood flow.

The other possible connection between hemorrhoids and back pain is the location. People often complain of hemorrhoid pain near the tailbone because hemorrhoids grow near their tailbone. Such growths can cause sufferers to equate hemorrhoids pain with tailbone pain, thus establishing a back pain connection. Again, both connections are dubious and not scientifically founded.

Hemorrhoids, under normal circumstances, should be seen by a doctor. When hemorrhoids begin bleeding and occur outside the body, a physician should be consulted. Anal bleeding can be a symptom of more serious issues such as colon or rectal cancers.

Over-the-counter medications can be helpful in treating most hemorrhoids. The over-the-counter creams relieve pain and reduce swelling. Other treatments help external hemorrhoids without the aid of a doctor. Treatments include adding more fiber to meals, drinking more water and the hemorrhoid creams to reduce itch-inducing inflammation. These treatments have also been shown effective in treating internal hemorrhoids.

Osteoarthritis Of The Hip

Age-related degeneration of the hip joint can cause pain in the lower back and stiffness in the hip.

Hip osteoarthritis causes stiffness and a significant decrease in the hips range of motion. This change can cause the hip to incline forward, disrupting the curvature of the lower spine. The inward curvature of the lower spine may become more pronounced, sometimes causing the lower spinal discs to bulge or herniate.12,13

This condition may over time cause degeneration of the spinal joints too, resulting in a more advanced problem called hip-spine syndrome.

Learn more about Hip Osteoarthritis on Arthritis-health.com

This list is not exhaustive of all possible causes of lower back and hip pain. If you experience pain and/or stiffness in your lower back and hip that does not resolve with self-care and affects your daily activities, talk to your doctor. A doctor can accurately diagnose the cause of your lower back problem and formulate a treatment plan for the underlying condition.

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Back And Rib Pain: Causes Of Upper To Middle Back And Rib Pain

Jenny Hills, Nutritionist and Medical Writer Health

Issues with your muscles, ligaments, or ribs in your back can often cause rib pain in the back. The middle and upper part of your spine is called the thoracic region and it helps to support your upper body. Irritation, inflammation, back rib injury, strained or pulled back muscles, or a herniated disc can all cause pain in ribs and back.

Back rib pain or middle back pain is less common than lower back pain. However, pain in your upper or middle back can cause a lot of discomfort in your day-to-day activities. Depending on the cause of mid-back pain, you may have dull aches and discomfort between your shoulder blades. Sometimes, the back pain can feel as sharp and jabbing discomfort that suddenly gets worse. Or, back muscle stiffness may make lifting your arms sore and painful.

There are many ways to get rid of back and rib pain without having to turn to painkillers. For example, hot or cold compresses can help to increase blood circulation and speed up the healing process. Or, you may have to improve your posture to ease nagging pain and prevent rib pain in your middle back. In many cases, stretching exercises strengthen and flex the strained muscles and ligaments in your middle back to relieve pain.

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Hot Or Cold Therapy For Low Back Pain

Are Your Lats Causing Low Back Pain?

Hot or cold packs may help ease pain and reduce symptoms. The soothing relief from heat, or the dulling relief from a cold pack, is only temporary and will not treat more serious causes of back pain. However, they may provide greater mobility for people with acute, subacute, or chronic pain, allowing them to get up and get moving.

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Can Hernias Cause Back Pain

The short answer is yes, hernias can cause back pain. Before we dive in any deeper, lets briefly talk about what exactly a hernia is. Hernias occur when an organ or piece of tissue pushes out of a muscle wall, resulting in pain and potential blood flow issues.

Hernias come in various forms, and can occur in many areas of the body. Here are a few of the most common types of hernias:

  • Ventral Hernias. These occur throughout the abdomen.
  • Inguinal Hernias. These occur in several areas surrounding the groin.

Both types can cause pain in the mid and/or lower back. The most difficult part is differentiating between hernias and other conditions that may be causing the pain.

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

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Back Pain Culprit: Your Bag

Although you may wear your purse, backpack, or briefcase over your shoulder, it is the lower back that supports the upper body — including any additional weight you carry. So an overstuffed bag can strain the lower back, especially if you carry it day after day. If you must tote a heavy load, consider switching to a wheeled briefcase.

Whats The Best Position For Standing

Can Stress Cause Lower Back Pain?

Maintain good posture while you stand. Keep your ears, shoulders, and hips in a straight line, with your head up and your stomach pulled in. Try not to slouch or arch your back. These put added pressure on your lower back. Wear shoes that are comfortable and provide support. If you stand for long periods, rest 1 foot on a low stool to relieve pressure on your lower back. Every 5 to 15 minutes, switch the foot youre resting on the stool.

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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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