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What Causes Inflammation In Lower Back

Symptoms Of Ankylosing Spondylitis

Understanding back pain: differentiating inflammatory from mechanical

The symptoms of AS can vary, but usually involve:

  • back pain and stiffness
  • pain and swelling in other parts of the body caused by inflammation of the joints and inflammation where a tendon joins a bone
  • extreme tiredness

These symptoms tend to develop gradually, usually over several months or years, and may come and go over time.

In some people the condition gets better with time, but for others it can get slowly worse.

Referred Pain To And From The Lumbar Spine

Pain in the area of the lumbar spine may be due to important problems that are actually unrelated to the back. Referred pain occurs when a problem in one place in the body causes pain in another place. The pain travels down a nerve.. Sources of referred pain to the low back may include abdominal aneurysm , tubal pregnancy, kidney stones, pancreatitis, and colon cancer. Clues to these maladies include pain that waxes and wanes over a short period, with frequent peaks of intense pain, weight loss, abnormalities found during abdominal exam, and trace amounts of blood in the urine. On the other hand, pain can be referred from the low back and be felt in another location, as is often the case with . For example, it is not rare for a patient with a slipped disc in the lower back to have pain in the back of the thigh, or in the calf or even the foot, and not have any low back pain. This situation requires a doctor to sort out the type of pain and to do the examination required to show that the pain is actually coming from the spine .

What Type Of Doctor Should I See For Back Pain

This depends on your condition or symptoms. If you have no obvious injury that would explain your pain, you may want to start by seeing a . This is a specialist in physical medicine who can diagnose back pain and determine whether nonsurgical treatments such as physical therapy may help. Depending on those findings, a physiatrist may also refer you to a , doctor or other type of back specialist, , for additional discussion.

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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.

How Is Spinal Arthritis Diagnosed

The 7 Best Natural Cures for Inflammation in the Lower Back

Your doctor may use some or all of the following diagnostic methods to confirm spinal arthritis:

  • Medical history and physical exam

  • Blood tests for genetic markers and/or RA antibodies

  • X-rays of the spine to locate the arthritic joint

  • MRI, CT scan, myelography, bone scan and/or ultrasound to zero in on the damage, detect nerve and spinal cord involvement or rule out other causes

  • Joint aspiration: testing of the synovial fluid inside a joint

To pinpoint the painful joint, your doctor may numb it with an injection and check whether the pain goes away.

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Symptoms Of Arthritis In The Back

Common symptoms of back arthritis may include:

  • Back pain especially within the lower back tends to be worse in the morning, particularly half-hour after waking up. The pain subsides with activity as the day progresses.

Back pain and Stiffness

While back pain may be a common symptom, not everyone with back arthritis experiences it. Stiffness, which occurs because the joint hardens, maybe a frequent complaint among those with back arthritis. It can inhibit you from doing simple activities, such as gardening or getting dressed. Both of those symptoms can be assisted significantly with physical therapy exercises for lumbar arthritis. Increasing your elasticity and range of motion can help reduce the pain. Your physiotherapist can achieve this with targeted movements that strengthen the muscles and take the strain off your joints.

Swelling and tenderness

Some people feel swelling and tenderness around the arthritic vertebrae. While this symptom isnt the most common, it can interfere with daily activities and cause an excellent deal of discomfort. As inflammation sets in, the world can swell. This causes tenderness thanks to pressure on the spine.

Nerve pain or numbness

Spine Inflammation Is More Common Than You Think And It Can Bring About A Variety Of Painful Back Conditions

Back inflammation can feel like this.

On this page

Youve likely heard the term inflammation. Beyond knowing that anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil treat it, you may not know much about this condition. As it turns out, it can be a substantial factor in causing , and if you treat back inflammation properly, you may feel better before you know it.

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Causes Of Chronic Lower Back Pain

Pain is considered chronic once it lasts for more than three months and exceeds the bodys natural healing process. Chronic pain in the low back often involves a disc problem, a joint problem, and/or an irritated nerve root. Common causes include:

Lumbar herniated disc. The jelly-like center of a lumbar disc can break through the tough outer layer and irritate a nearby nerve root. The herniated portion of the disc is full of proteins that cause inflammation when they reach a nerve root, and inflammation, as well as nerve compression, cause nerve root pain. The disc wall is also richly supplied by nerve fibers, and a tear through the wall can cause severe pain.

Degenerative disc disease. At birth, intervertebral discs are full of water and at their healthiest. As people age over time, discs lose hydration and wear down. As the disc loses hydration, it cannot resist forces as well, and transfers force to the disc wall that may develop tears and cause pain or weakening that can lead to a herniation. The disc can also collapse and contribute to stenosis.

See Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease

Facet joint dysfunction. There are two facet joints behind each disc at each motion segment in the lumbar spine. These joints have cartilage between the bones and are surrounded by a capsular ligament, which is richly innervated by nerves. These joints can be painful by themselves, or in conjunction with disc pain.

See Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

Best Vitamins And Minerals

How to Fix Your Low Back Pain (INSTANTLY!) – Dr. Berg

When it comes to inflammation control, these are the 2 most important vitamins and minerals.

Its been proven if you lack one or both of these, your chances of suffering from chronic inflammation are almost double.

1. Vitamin D

A number of studies have linked low levels of vitamin D with increased levels of chronic pain.

One 2009 study looked at the vitamin D levels of people with chronic pain who were using opioid painkillers.

Those who had a deficiency of vitamin D needed almost twice as high a dose of medication to control their pain.

Make sure you get the natural form of Vitamin D, which is Vitamin D3.

2. Magnesium

Magnesium deficiency is becoming a widespread problem around the world. Vegetables contain less and less Magnesium each year and its very easy to become Magnesium deficient.

From personal experience, I can tell you that using Magnesium oil has worked wonders for me and my family with any kind of muscle pain and even restless leg syndrome.

The most absorbed type of Magnesium is called Transdermal magnesium, which gets in your body through your skin and is better absorbed than oral Magnesium supplements.

The best Transdermal supplement I know is this one you can read all about Magnesium oil benefits in this post.

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When To See A Specialist For Lower Back Pain

If you’re experiencing lower back pain that’s not responding to rest and self-care, it’s time to consider seeing a spine specialist.

“A spine specialist will likely perform a physical exam as well as one or more imaging scans to diagnose the root cause of your lower back pain. Depending on your diagnosis, he or she will then design a treatment plan aimed at alleviating your pain and preventing it from disrupting the everyday activities you enjoy,” says Dr. Palmer.

Next Steps:

How Do You Know If Joint Problems Are Causing Your Low Back Pain

Only a doctor can diagnose you with a joint disorder like arthritis. If your doctor thinks you may have a joint disorder, theyâll take your health history and do a physical exam.

Other symptoms, like swollen joints or morning stiffness, can be a sign that your back pain is from a condition that affects your joints rather than muscle strain. Your doctor may also recommend tests like X-rays and blood tests to see whatâs going on.

It can be helpful to keep a journal about your pain. Jot down when it hit and what you were doing before and when it came. Youâll also want to write down whether you had any other symptoms that day. This can help your doctor figure out the cause of your pain and come up with a treatment plan.

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Rheumatoid Arthritis Of The Spine

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, meaning that the immune system turns on itself. It attacks synovium the lining of the joints. Although rheumatoid arthritis is more common in other joints, it can also affect the spine, specifically the cervical region . Rheumatoid arthritis of the spine is not caused by wear and tear, so its considered an inflammatory arthritis. It may cause back pain even when these joints are not in use. It tends to affect women more than men.

Home Remedies And Lifestyle

Lower back inflammation stock illustration. Illustration of spine

There are a variety of home remedies and lifestyle changes that can be added to your arthritis management techniques. These are often very helpful in reducing pain so youll live a full, active life.

See your doctor if you feel any of the following:

  • Pain thats sharp, stabbing, and constant.
  • Pain that causes you to limp.
  • Pain that lasts quite 2 hours after exercise or gets worse at night.
  • Pain or swelling that doesnt get better with rest, medication, or hot or cold packs.
  • Large increases in swelling or your joints sense hot or red.

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Surgery For Spinal Arthritis

Surgery may be recommended for spinal arthritis if other treatments dont sufficiently relieve pain. The goals of the surgery may include:

  • Stabilizing the spine by fusing several segments together in a procedure called spinal fusion

These surgeries can be performed as open procedures or with a minimally invasive approach. There are pros and cons to each method. The surgeon will review and discuss the options before the operation.

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 Treatments For Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain usually gets better with rest, ice and over-the-counter pain relievers. After a few days of rest, you can start to get back to your normal activities. Staying active increases blood flow to the area and helps you heal.

Other treatments for lower back pain depend on the cause. They include:

  • Medications: Your provider may recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or prescription drugs to relieve pain. Other medications relax muscles and prevent back spasms.
  • Physical therapy : PT can strengthen muscles so they can support your spine. PT also improves flexibility and helps you avoid another injury.
  • Hands-on manipulation: Several hands-on treatments can relax tight muscles, reduce pain and improve posture and alignment. Depending on the cause of pain, you may need osteopathic manipulation or chiropractic adjustments. Massage therapy can also help with back pain relief and restore function.
  • Injections: Your provider uses a needle to inject medication into the area thats causing pain. Steroid injections relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Surgery: Some injuries and conditions need surgical repair. There are several types of surgery for low back pain, including many minimally invasive techniques.

Your Back Pain Gets Better With Exercise

Chronic Low Back Pain : Understanding lower back structures and treatment approaches

Most people who have back pain will want to lay down, sit, or stop moving in order to get some relief. This is a typical feature of mechanical back pain. However, inflammatory back pain tends to get better when youre more active.

If you find that exercise helps relieve your back pain or notice that your pain gets worse when youve been sitting all day, there is a better chance that you have an inflammatory condition.

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When To Consult A Doctor About Possible Kidney Problems

Consulting a physician helps patients know whether they have kidney problems or common low back pain. They also help determine the main cause of the pain and prescribe different treatments or pain relief options. Talk to a doctor about the possible kidney pain if:

  • Theres a constant dull aching pain or sharp flank pain.
  • The location of the pain changes.
  • The pain spreads to the lower abdomen or the inner thighs.
  • The back pain is accompanied by other symptoms like fever and chills, nausea and vomiting, cloudy or dark-colored urine, painful urination, bloody urine, and small kidney stones in the urine.

How To Ease Back Pain

Which treatment you and your doctor will decide on will depend on the type of joint problem you have and how serious it is.

For example, if you have rheumatoid arthritis and show signs of joint damage, your doctor may recommend a prescription medication like a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug. You may hear it called a DMARD. DMARDs ease inflammation and help keep your joint damage from getting worse.

Many of the things that can ease back pain caused by other problems can help with joint problems, too. Talk to your doctor about:

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications . These medications target inflammation and pain, which is why theyâre often recommended for back problems. You can get many NSAIDs over the counter. You may be able to use them with other types of medication for joint pain.

Exercise. Gentle activities, like water aerobics, tai chi, or yoga, can really help ease low back pain from joint problems. Any movement that doesnât cause more pain is helpful. Talk to your doctor or a physical therapist if youâre not sure where to start or how to exercise safely.

Squashing stress. Stress and anxiety make low back pain worse. But easing stress through talk therapy, mindfulness training, or other methods can ease pain and improve your quality of life. Your doctor can talk over stress-busting techniques with you.

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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.

Less Common Causes Of Low Back Pain

Acupuncture Alleviates Lower Back Pain and Inflammation

While considerably less common, low back pain may also be caused by:

Infection. Also called osteomyelitis, a spinal infection is rare but can cause severe pain and is life threatening if untreated. It can be caused by surgical procedures, injections, or spread through the blood stream. Patients with a compromised immune system are more susceptible to developing an infection in the spine.

Tumor. Most spinal tumors start in another part of the body and metastasize to the spine. The most common tumors that spread to the spine start from cancer in the breast, prostate, kidney, thyroid, or lung. Any new symptoms of back pain in a patient with a known diagnosis of cancer should be evaluated for possible spinal metastasis.

Autoimmune disease. Back pain is a possible symptom associated with autoimmune conditions, such as ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, crohns disease, fibromyalgia, and others.

This list includes the more common causes of back pain, but there are many more. Finding the optimal treatment for low back pain usually depends on obtaining a correct clinical diagnosis that identifies the underlying cause of the patients symptoms.

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