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What Is Lower Back Pain Caused By

What Is The Outlook For People With Lower Back Pain

What are the top 3 causes of lower back pain?

The outlook depends on the cause of pain. Most people with back strains and sprains recover and do not have long-term health issues. But many people will have another episode within a year.

Some people have chronic back pain that doesnt get better after several weeks. Older people with degenerative conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis may have symptoms that get worse over time. Surgery and other treatments are effective at helping people with a range of injuries and conditions live pain-free.

Reflexes And Motor And Sensory Testing

Testing knee and ankle reflexes in patients with radicular symptoms often helps determine the level of spinal cord compromise. An altered knee or ankle reflex alone does not suggest the need for invasive management because this finding is generally transient and fully reversible.8

Weakness with dorsiflexion of the great toes and ankle may indicate L5 and some L4 root dysfunction. Sensory testing of the medial , dorsal and lateral aspects of the foot may also detect nerve root dysfunction.1

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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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

How Are Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms Treated

Low Back Pain Pictures: Symptoms, Causes, Treatments

Treatment depends on the size of the aneurysm. Aneurysms that are less than five centimeters in diameter have a low risk of rupturing and may not need treatment right away. Your healthcare provider may recommend watchful waiting, which includes:

  • Getting ultrasounds every few months to make sure the aneurysm isnt getting bigger.
  • Making lifestyle adjustments, such as exercising, not smoking, eating a healthy diet, avoiding alcohol and maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Taking medication to lower your blood pressure.

No known medication, supplement or other treatment can shrink an aneurysm once it has formed. The goal of the measures above is to keep your aneurysm from growing and identify which people have a high risk of rupture, meaning they would benefit from surgery to treat their AAA.

Surgery for abdominal aortic aneurysm

Aneurysms that are larger than five centimeters across or that show signs of rupturing need surgery. Depending on the size, location and complexity of your aneurysm, your healthcare provider may recommend:

After either type of aneurysm repair, its critical that you continue to follow up with your provider for surveillance of your repaired aorta. This again can be done with ultrasound or CT.

What are the risks of surgery?

Minimally invasive surgery has a lower chance of complications than open surgery, but risks still include:

  • Bleeding.

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What Causes Lumbar Strain

Injury can damage the tendons and muscles in the lower back. Pushing and pulling sports, such as weight lifting or football, can lead to a lumbar strain. In addition, sports that require sudden twisting of the lower back, such as in tennis, basketball, baseball, and golf, can lead to this injury.

Certain risk factors can increase the risk for this injury. The risk factors are:

  • Severe lower back curvature
  • Weak back or belly muscles
  • Tight hamstrings

What Research Is Being Done

The mission of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke is to seek fundamental knowledge of the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease. NINDS is a component of the National Institutes of Health , the leading supporter of biomedical research in the world.

As a primary supporter of research on pain and pain mechanisms, NINDS is a member of the NIH Pain Consortium, which was established to promote collaboration among the many NIH Institutes and Centers with research programs and activities addressing pain. On an even broader scale, NIH participates in the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee, a federal advisory committee that coordinates research across other U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agencies as well as the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.

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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:

Ways To Ease Low Back Pain

What causes lower back pain & when should I be worried?

Just because it’s possible to inherit low back pain doesn’t mean the matter is completely out of your control. “It’s how we’re born and how we take care of ourselves,” Wisneski says.

If you sit in an uncomfortable chair all day, work a jackhammer, or regularly twist your body into uncomfortable positions, your lower back will suffer for it. Smoking — the bad habit that increases the risk of dozens of diseases — can also lead to backaches. One study found that smokers are nearly a third more likely to have low back pain compared to nonsmokers.

Try these five tips to prevent or ease lower back pain:

  • If you smoke, get help to kick the habit.
  • Practice good posture whenever you sit or stand. When lifting something, lift with your knees, not with your back.
  • Do exercises to strengthen the muscles that support your back — especially the abdominals, hips, back, and pelvic area. Developing strong core muscles can make a big difference in how you feel. “When my abs are in good shape and I’m well worked out, I’m the least susceptible,” Snyder says.
  • Fight the urge to crawl into bed whenever your lower back acts up. “Our bodies are meant to be used,” Wisneski says. “If you have pain, sometimes you develop a âdisease of disuse.â”
  • See your doctor and get treated for low back pain early on, so you can stay moving and keep active.

Show Sources

Gunnar Andersson, MD, PhD, professor and chairman emeritus, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago.

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Whats The Outlook For People With Back Pain And Cancer

Less than 10 percent of spinal tumors actually start in the spine, according to the Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Even if a spinal tumor is present and causing lower back pain, the tumor isnt always cancerous.

If the lower back pain is related to metastatic cancer, its important to talk to your doctor about your treatment outlook. When cancers start to spread, this may indicate a poorer prognosis.

Massage Therapy For Low Back Pain

Studies have shown that massage treatments can help relieve chronic low back pain. Massage treatment can restore people to their usual activities of daily living and lessen pain. Massage therapy is limited, and would not be the most effective solution for patients with spinal complications, injuries, or disk problems since massage focuses on the release of muscle tension and not on the structure of the spine itself.

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Lower Back Pain Causes

Nonspecific low back pain means that the pain is not due to any specific or underlying disease that can be found. It is thought that in some cases the cause may be an over-stretch of a ligament or muscle. In other cases the cause may be a minor problem with a disc between two spinal bones , or a minor problem with a small facet joint between two vertebrae. There may be other minor problems in the structures and tissues of the lower back that result in pain. However, these causes of the pain are impossible to prove by tests. Therefore, it is usually impossible for a doctor to say exactly where the pain is coming from, or exactly what is causing the pain.

To some people, not knowing the exact cause of the pain is unsettling. However, looked at another way, many people find it reassuring to know that the diagnosis is nonspecific back pain which means there is no serious problem or disease of the back or spine.

How Common Is Lower Back Pain

Back Pain: Causes, Treatment, and When to See a Healthcare ...

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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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.

Pain Medications To Treat Back Pain

A wide range of medications is used to treat both acute and chronic low back pain. Analgesic medications are specially formulated to relieve pain. They include over-the-counter acetaminophen and aspirin, as well as prescription opioids such as codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can also be used to relieve pain and inflammation. Over-the-counter NSAIDS include ibuprofen, ketoprofen, and naproxen sodium. Several others, including a type of NSAID called COX-2 inhibitors, are available only by prescription.

There are also many topical creams or sprays that can dull and soothe low back pain. These are applied to the skin and thus stimulate localized nerves to provide feelings of warmth or cold in order to dull the sensation of pain. Topical analgesics can reduce inflammation and increase blood flow.

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Should I See A Chiropractor For My Back Pain

Spinal manipulation is used by chiropractors and osteopathic physicians to treat low back pain in selected patients. Spinal manipulation applies hand pressure to areas of the low back to relax irritated muscle and lessen the intensity of the pain.

Traction, using pulleys and weights to lengthen and stretch the spine can result in temporary relief. Both techniques will not treat any underlying causes of back pain, but rather offer a temporary relief from lower back pain.

When Is Lower Back Pain An Emergency

Causes Of Lower Back Pain

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.

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What Complications Are Associated With Sciatica

Most people recover fully from sciatica. However, chronic pain can be a complication of sciatica. If the pinched nerve is seriously injured, chronic muscle weakness, such as a drop foot, might occur, when numbness in the foot makes normal walking impossible. Sciatica can potentially cause permanent nerve damage, resulting in a loss of feeling in the affected legs. Call your provider right away if you lose feeling in your legs or feet, or have any concerns during your recovery time.

What Can I Expect If I Have Been Diagnosed With Sciatica

The good news about sciatic pain is that it usually goes away on its own with time and some self-care treatments. Most people with sciatica get better without surgery, and about half of these recover from an episode fully within six weeks.

Be sure to contact your healthcare provider if your sciatica pain is not improving and you have concerns that you arent recovering as quickly as hoped.

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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.

Chronic Low Back Pain Of No Specific Origin

Back Pain: Causes and Symptoms, (How To Get Rid of Back Pain)

Low back pain is defined as pain, tightness, and stiffness between the lower end of the rib cage and the buttocks. “Chronic” means the pain has lasted for twelve weeks or longer, and “no specific origin” means the pain cannot be traced to any specific cause, incident, or injury.

Most susceptible are individuals who perform heavy physical work, especially when there is ongoing anxiety, depression, and emotional stress at the same time. The longer the stress and back pain continue, the more difficult it is to ease the symptoms and return the patient to normal functioning.

Treatment involves nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and sometimes opioid medications for pain, though both have risks when used long term. Antidepressants may also be tried, along with psychological counseling.

Corticosteroid injections for the back are effective for some patients, and fusion surgery is sometimes attempted. Lifestyle changes in the form of improved diet, exercise, and stress management are very helpful in most cases.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: lower back pain, unintentional weight loss, back pain that shoots to the butt, fever, involuntary defecation

Symptoms that always occur with chronic low back pain of no specific origin: lower back pain

Symptoms that never occur with chronic low back pain of no specific origin: thigh numbness, buttocks numbness, lower back pain from an injury

Urgency: Primary care doctor

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When To Get Help

If your back pain is disrupting your daily life, impacting your ability to care for your children, go to work, or you find yourself taking pain medicine regularly, then its time to take to your doctor. He or she can identify the underlying cause of your back pain and will help you to put a plan in place to help you mitigate your discomfort and resume your normal activities.

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