Symptoms Of Low Back Pain
While different conditions present pain in a variety of ways, common low back pain symptoms include:
- Stiffness that makes walking or standing difficult
- Deep dull pain felt in the thigh, butt, and groin area that travels up and down the spine
- Dull aching pain that may worsen when sitting
- Muscle spasms, from mild to severe
- Skin thats sore to the touch
Can Back Pain Be Prevented
Recurring back pain resulting from improper body mechanics may be prevented by avoiding movements that jolt or strain the back, maintaining correct posture, and lifting objects properly. Many work-related injuries are caused or aggravated by stressors such as heavy lifting, contact stress , vibration, repetitive motion, and awkward posture.Recommendations for keeping ones back healthy
Press Up With Hips Off Center
The press ups with hips of center is simply a press up with your hips moved to one side or the other. To do this, prop onto your elbows and shift your hips to one side. Most often, people benefit from moving their hips away from the painful side.
Once your hips are off to one side, perform a press up. You may notice that you are not able to press up as far as you did with the regular press up, but still, try to press up as far as possible. Perform 10 repetitions of the press up with your hips off center, and monitor your pain for centralization. If your symptoms persist, you may need to take the next step in the progression: lumbar side glide in standing.
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Side Sleeping In The Fetal Position
Rather than side sleeping straight, curling up with your knees reduces pressure on the spine. If you have a herniated or bulging disc, a condition where the rubbery tissue between the spinal vertebrae slips out of place, sleeping in the fetal position can relieve your symptoms. Curling up opens the space between your vertebrae, reducing the tension on your discs.
Lumbar Side Glide In Standing
If the press up with hips off center failed to offer significant relief or centralize your symptoms, you should then try the lumbar side glide exercise.
This exercise is done standing about a foot from a wall with your painful side away from the wall. Lean your shoulder against the wall with your elbow tucked into your ribs, and slowly push your pelvis underneath your ribcage.
Perform 10 repetitions of the side glide, and watch for changes in your pain. If your pain continues or fails to centralize, try the next exercise: the lumbar flexion rotation stretch.
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Medication From The Store
There are two kinds of over-the-counter pain relievers that frequently help with back pain: nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and acetaminophen. Both have some side effects, and some people may not be able to take them. Talk to your doctor before taking pain relievers. And don’t expect medication alone to solve your pain problem. Studies show you’ll probably need more than one type of treatment.
How Does Jogging Help Low Back Pain
One of the most common causes of low back pain is weak core muscles.
Jogging uses a complex combination of muscles, ligaments, and of course your skeletal system, giving a full body workout. This whole body workout helps strengthen muscles especially core muscles, which can help decrease your pain! So, when done correctly, jogging can help:
- Reduce overall pain
- Increase function
- Improve your state of mind
In addition to overall pain reduction and strengthened core muscles, cardio workouts can help you lose weight, decrease insulin resistance, and lower your blood pressure too!
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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 .
Get Up And Stay Moving
Its tough to stay moving when your lower back is constantly aching, but its an important part of recovery. Staying active prevents your back muscles from tensing up and your lower back pain from getting worse. Where do you start?
Even if you have to start slow, itll be worth it. Begin with a five-minute walk each day, then progress until youre at a normal activity level.
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Standing Lower Back Extension Stretch
Instead of putting your hands on your hips, reach your arms and hands straight above your head. Or, you can put your hands behind your head . Then complete steps 3 to 4 as noted above.
This modification can help open tight chest muscles, prevent shoulder hunching and extend the upper spine. You can also perform this stretch while seated by extending your upper back gently over the chair.
Who Should I See For Lower Back Pain
Your primary care physician knows you best and should be your first contact for lower back pain. If he or she is unable to diagnose or treat the issue, you may get referred to a specialist, such as a rehabilitation physician . These specialists practice a comprehensive approach to lower back pain, and can diagnose and treat a variety of conditions that have lower back pain as a symptom.
Later, you may get referred to a physical therapist, a chiropractor or another practitioner depending on the nature of your back pain. The good news is that surgery is rarely needed for lower back pain. Only about one in ten patients needs lower back surgery, Chhatre says.
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Find Relief Through Ice And Heat
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.
Gently Stretch Your Joints And Soft Tissues Through Yoga
Yoga is an effective way to stretch your back, improve the health of muscles and joints, enhance distribution of healing nutrients through blood circulation, and increase the flexibility of the spine.12
When you start, perform the stretches slowly and advance only if you feel comfortable without pain. Gradually, you will be able to add more stretches to your routine. An ideal time for yoga is early morningto help loosen your spine and also reduce stiffness and aches in your back.
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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.
Stretch Your Hamstrings Twice Daily
One often overlooked contributor to lower back pain is tight hamstrings. If your hamstring muscleslocated in the back of your thighsare too tight hamstrings your lower back and sacroiliac joints will be stressed, leading to more pain. Hamstring stretching should be done carefully and at least twice per day for 15-30 seconds each time.
There are many gentle stretching exercises that should not hurt.
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Is It Muscle Strain Or Sciatica
Back pain that occurs after excessive exercise or heavy lifting is frequently a strain injury. However, occasionally these activities cause disc injury and rupture or herniation. When a herniated disc irritates the sciatic nerve, it can cause back pain and, in some people, leg pain.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a form of nerve pain caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is a large nerve that runs down through the buttocks and extends down the back of the leg. Pressing on or pinching of the sciatic nerve causes shock-like or burning low back pain. Sometimes people feel as if the pain radiates down through the buttocks and down one leg, sometimes even reaching the foot.
When To See A Doctor
People can often treat back pain with home remedies and some patience. However, a person should speak to a doctor about chronic or severe back pain.
A doctor may recommend physical therapy, medication, or other treatments. People who have existing health conditions or who take regular medications should speak to a doctor before trying any herbs or supplements.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration do not monitor supplements for purity or quality, so it is essential to research reputable companies first.
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Does Laying On The Hard Floor Help Lower Back Pain
Some people find laying on the floor supports their back and keeps their spine neutral, but this doesnt work for everyone. The floor is too solid for side sleepers, but it might be okay for some back and stomach sleepers. If youre planning on sleeping on the floor, still use pillows so your head and neck are supported.
Tips To Strengthen Your Back
Flexion and extension exercises are commonly used to prevent low back pain. Be sure to review with the doctor any program you are considering.
Easy Low Back Exercises
- Ankle Pumps: Lie on your back and move ankles up and down.
- Heel Slides: Lie on your back and bend then straighten the knees one at a time.
- Wall Squats: With your back flat against a wall, sit like you would in a chair with your knees lined up over your ankles. Gently press against the wall, keeping your abdominal muscles tight. Hold for five seconds.
- Single Knee to Chest Stretch: Lying down with back flat, pull your knee into the chest.
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When Is Lower Back Pain An Emergency
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.
Stretches To Ease Lower Back Pain
My back is killing me. These five words are said by co-workers, family, friends, almost every person we regularly come in contact with will say them sooner or later. In fact, a study performed at the University of North Carolina found that more than an overwhelming 80 percent of people will experience an episode of back pain at some point in their life. As people age, often the spine will experience degenerative changes. As these changes occur, there is less space between the vertebrae, which can increase back pain. When the spine is flexed, pressure is off-loaded. Because of this, a flexion based program is often used to help relieve symptoms of lower back pain. Here are four stretches for lower back pain that almost everyone can do.
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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.
Alternative Back Pain Treatments To Try Before Choosing Surgery
If you deal with back pain, you know it can make you feel miserable. Whether its persistent low back pain or spasms, an aching neck, or sciatic nervepain shooting down your legs, chronic back pain can sideline you from work and your favorite activities.
Unfortunately, back pain is quite common. Eight in 10 people deal with some type of back pain during their lives. Low back pain in particular is responsible for 2.6 million visits to the emergency room each year and is the leading cause of disability worldwide.
Despite a wealth of research in recent years about how to treat back pain, too many patients still receive unnecessary and often excessive treatment. Instead of being urged to continue to work and stay active, which has been shown to be effective, patients often are told to take time off to rest, referred for scans and surgery, and prescribed painkillers, including opioids.
Fortunately, there are many alternative treatments for back pain, many of which are easy to do at home and affordable, with no doctors prescription necessary.
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Injections For Low Back Pain Relief
Epidural steroid injections are a commonly used short-term choice for treating low back pain and sciatica. These injections work by reducing inflammation to relieve pain. Injections are intended for short-term use and should not be utilized for an extended period of time as they may worsen pain in the long run.
For those with chronic pain or sever spinal injury, a nerve block may be utilized to prevent nerve conduction in a certain area. This essentially blocks all feeling from nerves. Nerve blocks are typically only used in extreme cases of severe pain.
Can Lower Back Pain Be Related To Weather
If you feel like your lower back pain worsens on days when its cold or the weather is changing, you are not imagining things. Back pain can indeed be related to barometric pressure and outdoor temperature. Changes in pressure can sometimes cause pain in arthritic joints, including the spine. Muscles and joints in general react to the environment, which can make them stiffer and more likely to suffer an injury.