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What Is My Lower Back Pain

Can Lower Back Pain Be Related To Weather

What’s Causing My Lower Back Pain – Understanding More

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.

Back Pain Quiz #: Did The Pain Occur Overnight

If your answer to this question is yes, your back pain is probably related to a recent activity during which you made a false move or during which you spent too much time in a position that your back did not like.

You have been playing sports without warming up, you have been gardening, doing odd jobs, changed your mattress or office chair: in other words, your back pain is related to a very specific event that happened yesterday or the day before.

Your back pain is related to a specific event that took place yesterday or the day before. It is likely to be a muscle pain of the following type: lumbago

What Is The Outlook For People With 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.

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Fractures And Lower Back Pain

are often very difficult pain problems and indicate the possible presence of . In patients with severe osteoporosis, spinal fractures can occur with no early warning and no significant trauma the patient does not have to fall to fracture a vertebrae.

Patients with spinal compression fractures experience spasms and, often, very high pain levels.

In patients with low back pain where the cause is difficult to determine, especially for elderly patients with osteoporosis, a fracture in the sacrum may be the cause of the pain. A standard X-ray or bone scan may not show a sacral fracture. Imaging techniques such as CT scan or MRI can often reveal these fractures.

It is very important that patients with acute lumbar compression fractures be tested for osteoporosis. A bone density study is needed, unless the patient has no other osteoporosis risk factors and has had a very high impact fracture. Studies have shown that many patients with fractures in the U.S. are discharged from hospitals with no plans for management of their bone density problems, which then are left to worsen.

Although pain can be very intense, it is best for patients with lumbar fracture to resume activity as soon as possible. This is especially true for elderly patients, who can too easily become weakened, and develop other complications, if mobility is reduced for too long. may be needed for pain control, for as brief a period as possible.

Can Back Pain Be Prevented

Low Back Pain Help in 24 Hours

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

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When To Get Medical Help And Advice

Nine out of 10 people find their lower back pain improves within four to six weeks. You may find that you feel better sooner than this, in a few weeks. But contact your GP if the pain is severe, getting worse over time or isnt improving after four to six weeks. Also, contact your GP urgently if you feel unwell or have a high temperature. And if you have had cancer or osteoporosis, your GP may want to check that there isnt a more serious cause.

Seek medical attention right away if you:

  • have numbness or tingling around your bottom or genitals
  • cant control when you pee or cant go at all
  • lose control of your bowels
  • are unsteady when you walk, your legs feel weak or your foot is dropping or dragging

These may be signs that the nerves at the bottom of your spine are being squashed. This is called cauda equina syndrome and needs urgent treatment.

When To See A Doctor

Even though it’s common, most cases of back pain tend to clear up without the need to see a doctor.

You should see your doctor if your pain:

  • is really bad
  • lasts for a long time
  • stops you from working or doing the things you enjoy
  • affects your everyday activities
  • gets worse.

You should also see your doctor if you have any changes in sexual function, for example, being unable to get an erection.

If the pain is causing you significant problems and stops you from getting on with normal life and work activities, your doctor will examine you and ask you questions.

These questions will help predict how likely it is that you need further help with your back pain. If you do need further support, your doctor will make a referral to physiotherapy so that you can have treatment early, to help with the pain and return to normal activities.

Its natural to want to know what has caused your back pain. However, specialists may not be able to tell you for certain what has caused your back pain, even after carefully assessing you.

If youre concerned about the cause of your back pain, it can help to talk openly about any worries with a healthcare professional, as reducing any fear may help speed up your recovery.

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When Are Diagnostic Tests For Lower Back Pain Necessary

Many patients do not need X-rays in the first few weeks of pain because their pain will end up resolving. Many more do not need CT scans or MRI imaging, which are overly sensitive and often reveal abnormalities not related to the patients pain. These forms of imaging can be extremely useful, however, if a person has chronic or severe pain, and/or neurological symptoms. Blood tests may be ordered if an infection or tumor is suspected.

When Is Lower Back Pain An Emergency

How to Fix Your Lower Back Pain for Good

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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Your Pain Extends To Other Body Parts

If you’re experiencing severe back pain that is coupled with pain in other areas such as shooting pain down your leg then you should see a doctor. This could be a sign that you have sciatica, a form of pain that affects the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back and through the buttocks before branching down each leg. This condition usually results from a herniated disk. A doctor will be able to offer a variety of ways that you can relieve this pain.

Back Pain Lasting For Months

If you have had back pain for months, a dull, permanent pain, you dont know exactly where it is located And if you are over 40 years old, if you have a lifestyle or a job that requires you to work hard , you may be suffering from degenerative disc disease: DDD is one of the most common causes of back pain. A trauma to one or more intervertebral discs that causes back pain that is bearable in terms of intensity, even if painful and permanent.

You should have already seen a doctor a long time ago: I dont want to push you to consult a doctor, but the best way to treat back pain is to know its origin, and this is done through medicine.

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What Is The Treatment For Chronic Nonspecific Low Back Pain

Initial treatment is similar to sudden-onset attacks. That is, aim to keep as active as possible. Also, painkillers can help. In addition to the painkillers listed above, your doctor may advise a course of an antidepressant medicine in the tricyclic group – for example, amitriptyline. Tricyclic antidepressants have other actions separate to their action on depression. They are used in a variety of painful conditions, including back pain.

Also, a national guideline , referenced below) recommends one or more of the following treatments should be considered. Each of these treatments has some evidence from research trials to suggest that they will help to ease symptoms in some people :

  • Structured exercise programme. This means a programme of exercise supervised by a professional such as a physiotherapist. This is likely to be in a group setting. Exercises may include aerobic activity, movement instruction, muscle strengthening, posture control and stretching. It typically consists of up to eight supervised sessions over 8-12 weeks with encouragement to keep on doing the exercises at home between sessions.
  • Manual therapy. Typically this includes several sessions of massage, spinal mobilisation and/or spinal manipulation. With spinal mobilisation the therapist moves the joints of the spine around in their normal movement range. In spinal manipulation, the therapist moves joints beyond the usual range of movement.
  • A course of acupuncture. It is not clear how this may work.

What Exactly Is The Lower Back Anyway

How to Effectively Treat Lower Back Pain

Your lower back is known as the lumbar region of the spine. It has a lot of heavy lifting to do: The lumbar spine carries the weight of your entire upper body, plus biomechanical stresses that occur with movement.

The lumbar spine has five vertebraebackbones. Each vertebra has a large disc cushiony gel wrapped in a tough membrane on its front side that acts as a shock absorber. Each vertebra also has two cartilage-lined facet joints on its back side. Working together, discs and facet joints allow the spine to safely bend and twist.

Your lower back also includes ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Ligaments are strong bands that hold the vertebrae and discs together. Tendons attach muscles to the vertebrae. These structures help limit excessive movement that could harm the spinal cord.

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You’ve Been In Pain For Over A Week

Most back pain will subside after a few days, but if you’ve been experiencing pain for over a week, then it’s time to call a doctor. Your doctor will perform any examinations or tests required to help get to the bottom of your pain before it could become a bigger problem. As is the case with many health conditions, prevention and addressing problems early is key.

How Is Lumbar Strain Diagnosed

In addition to a complete medical history and physical exam, diagnosing low back pain may include the following. However, specialized tests aren’t often required.

  • X-ray. A diagnostic test that produces images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film.
  • CT scan. This is an imaging test that uses X-rays and a computer to make detailed images of the body. It shows details of the bones, muscles, fat, and organs.
  • MRI. This test uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to make detailed images of organs and structures in the body.
  • Radionuclide bone scan. A nuclear imaging technique that uses a very small amount of radioactive material, which is injected into your blood to be detected by a scanner. This test shows blood flow to the bone and cell activity in the bone.
  • Electromyogram . A test to evaluate nerve and muscle function.

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Surgery For Lower Back Pain

Because the vast majority of patients recover from their low back pain with little help from a doctor, the rationale behind choosing surgery must be convincing. Eighty percent of patients with sciatica recover eventually without surgery.

Severe progressive nerve problems, bowel or bladder dysfunction and the cauda equina syndrome make up the most clear-cut indications for back surgery. Back surgery will also be considered if the patients signs and symptoms correlate well with studies such as MRI or electromyogram .

In the most serious cases, when the condition does not respond to other therapies, surgery may well be necessary to relieve pain caused by back problems. Some common procedures include:

  • Discectomy, such as a or removal of a portion of a
  • a bone graft that promotes the vertebrae to fuse together
  • removal of the lamina to create more space and reduce irritation and inflammation

References and useful links

  • 1, 2. Excerpted from Low Back Pain Fact Sheet, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health
  • Low Back Pain Fact Sheet, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health. Reviewed, July 26, 2003.
  • Deyo RA, Weinstein JN, Low Back Pain, N Engl J Med, Vol 344, No. 5, Feb 1, 2001, pp 363-370.

Muscle Strain And Ligament Sprain

Low back pain- The most common causes of lower back pain

A low back sprain or strain can happen suddenly, or can develop slowly over time from repetitive movements.

  • Strains occur when a muscle is stretched too far and tears, damaging the muscle itself.
  • Sprains happen when over-stretching and tearing affects ligaments, which connect the bones together.

For practical purposes, it does not matter whether the muscle or ligament is damaged, as the symptoms and treatment are the same.

Common causes of sprain and strain include:

  • Lifting a heavy object, or twisting the spine while lifting
  • Sudden movements that place too much stress on the low back, such as a fall
  • Poor posture over time
  • Sports injuries, especially in sports that involve twisting or large forces of impact

While sprains and strains do not sound serious and do not typically cause long-lasting pain, the acute pain can be quite severe.

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Is Lower Right Back Pain Serious

Lower right back pain can vary in severity. You will probably have the best idea of your pain level and when you should see a physician.

  • Not serious: Mild pain may come on fairly suddenly after exercise and responds to rest and over-the-counter pain relievers.
  • Moderately serious: In some cases, an injury that at first seems minor can become worse over time. Back injuries can easily become chronic if not treated quickly.
  • Serious: If your back pain interferes with your normal activities and is becoming severe, you should see a physician as soon as possible.

Lower Back Pain Symptoms Diagnosis And Treatment

The lumbar spine, or low back, is a remarkably well-engineered structure of interconnecting bones, joints, nerves, ligaments, and muscles all working together to provide support, strength, and flexibility. However, this complex structure also leaves the low back susceptible to injury and pain.

Watch:Lumbar Spine Anatomy Video

This article presents a model for understanding symptoms, physical findings, imaging studies, and injection techniques to come to a precise diagnosis.

Once an accurate diagnosis of the cause of the lower back pain is attained, treatment options can be selected based on todays best medical practices.

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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.

Common Causes Of Lower Back Pain

Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain affects an estimated 80% of Americans at some point in their life.

It can come in different forms with varying severities. If you suffer from back pain, you know just how unenjoyable it can be.

There are several back pain solutions, and the treatment needed depends on the cause.

For a rundown of the most common causes of lower back pain, keep reading.

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Ready To Address Your Back Pain

The University of Maryland Spine Network can help you put your pain behind you. With convenient locations throughout the state, the UM Spine Network is home to the region’s leading spine surgeons and specialists that can help you identify the source of your pain and put an end to it for good.

Put an end to your back pain. Find a spine specialist near you.

In This Section:

What Type Of Mattress Is Best For People With Low Back Pain

Back pain is one of the top reasons that people begin to lose mobility in middle age. Pain can keep people from engaging in physical activity, making it more difficult for them to maintain a healthy weight and keep up their strength, stamina, and balance as they age. So treating and managing back pain that results from injuries or health problems is crucial for staying on the path of a healthy and active life.

Considering that most people spend roughly a third of their lives lying in bed, choosing the right mattress is essential for managing low back pain. It can make the difference in whether you can sleep at night and function the next day.

In the past, doctors often recommended very firm mattresses. But one survey of 268 people with low back pain found that those who slept on very hard mattresses had the poorest sleep quality. There was no difference in sleep quality between those who used medium-firm and firm mattresses.

Soft mattresses, on the other hand, can also be problematic. While a soft mattress that conforms to your body’s natural curves may help the joints align favorably, you might also sink in so deeply that your joints twist and become painful during the night.

If you want to find out whether a firmer mattress would feel better than the one you’re currently using, try putting a plywood board under your mattress to dampen the movement from the bedsprings, or try placing your mattress on the floor.

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