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What Makes Your Lower Back Hurt

Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy

How to Fix âLow Backâ? Pain (INSTANTLY!)

Some people experience pelvic pain during pregnancy. Pelvic pain can affect one or both sides of the lower back.

This pain may also affect the perineum or radiate to the thighs. It may become worse while a person is walking, standing up, or rolling onto their side.

A person may be able to reduce pelvic pain during pregnancy by:

  • doing exercises that strengthen the pelvic floor
  • avoiding standing for too long
  • getting plenty of rest

People can also try applying ice or heat packs to help ease the pain.

OTC acetaminophen is generally safe to take during pregnancy. However, it is advisable to consult a doctor before taking any medications while pregnant.

When To Contact A Medical Professional

  • Back pain after a severe blow or fall
  • Burning with urination or blood in your urine
  • History of cancer
  • Loss of control over urine or stool
  • Pain traveling down your legs below the knee
  • Pain that is worse when you lie down or pain that wakes you up at night
  • Redness or swelling on the back or spine
  • Severe pain that does not allow you to get comfortable
  • Unexplained fever with back pain
  • Weakness or numbness in your buttocks, thigh, leg, or pelvis

Also call if:

  • You have been losing weight unintentionally
  • You use steroids or intravenous drugs
  • You have had back pain before, but this episode is different and feels worse
  • This episode of back pain has lasted longer than 4 weeks

Which Lifestyle Factors Contribute To Lower Back Pain

There are three major lifestyle factors that may affect your chances of developing lower back pain:

  • Multiple studies have established a link between smoking and lower back pain. Smoking raises inflammation inside the body and hinders the body from healing itself.
  • Obesity is also associated with several types of chronic pain, including lower back pain. In people with high body mass index , the stress on the spine increases, contributing to even more wear and tear.
  • Your level of physical activity can also play a role in your lower back health. While a sedentary lifestyle could increase your risk of developing lower back pain, so can excessive or strenuous physical activity. Check with your doctor if you are unsure about your ideal level of physical activity.

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Bulging Or Herniated Disc

The jelly-doughnut-looking cushions between our vertebrae are subject to injury and overall wear and tear. As we age, they dehydrate, become stiff, and sometimes balloon out and irritate neighboring nerve roots. Traumatic accidents and sudden movements can also put too much pressure on a disc and cause it to rupture, protrude, and create pain. While herniated disc symptoms vary, people can experience shooting pain down their legs.

Just hearing the words bulging disc can sound scary for some people because many assume that it means that they need back surgery. But Dr. Rifkin says this isnt often the case in fact, a disc abnormality doesn’t always mean trouble.

Most back pain is not about , he says. If you did spine MRIs on 100 patients over the age of 50, many would have disc problems, but no pain. So it is important to realize that surgery is only indicated for a relatively small proportion of back pain.

Home Remedies For Lower Back Pain When Sitting

Why does my lower back hurt when I run?

In addition to improving your posture when sitting, try these at-home remedies for lower back pain:

  • Change your position. Consider a standing desk or one thats ergonomically designed to help you maintain good posture by allowing you to adjust the height of your monitor.
  • Apply ice.Cold helps reduce inflammation that may be affecting your back. Leave the ice pack on for about 20 minutes, and then remove it. You can do this every hour or so.
  • Use a heating pad. After any inflammation is under control , many people find heat soothing. It also promotes healing by bringing blood to your back.
  • Take over-the-counter medication.Pain relievers like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can reduce discomfort and swelling.
  • Use a support. Placing a rolled-up towel or special lumbar pillow at the base of your spine while sitting will help you remember to sit up straight and provide you with some stability.
  • Get a massage. This can help loosen and relax tight muscles.
  • Consider yoga.Yoga is known for its ability to stretch and strengthen the body. Many programs allow for modification of the poses as needed.

There are several exercises that will help strengthen your lower back. Try these three stretching exercises to help make your back stronger and better toned:

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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 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:

Rare And Unusual Causes

Rare and unusual causes of dull lower back pain may include the following.

  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm : This is a life-threatening enlargement of the aorta, the main blood vessel supplying blood to the abdomen. It can cause pain throughout the abdomen or lower back. While gradual expansion may cause a dull pain, sudden leakage or rupture is associated with severe, often sharp pain, and signs of shock.
  • Tumors: Cancer may originate in another part of the body and spread to the back. Chronic low back pain can be a symptom of testicular, ovarian, or colon cancer. Tumors can also be benign but otherwise affect structures of the lower back, causing pain.

This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

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Diagnosing Lower Back Pain

To diagnose lower back pain, a doctor will first do a physical exam. Theyll look at how well you move and if your back has any visible issues.

Then theyll take a medical history. This will cover your symptoms, any recent injuries, previous back issues, and the severity of your pain.

A physical exam and medical history are often enough for a doctor to determine the cause of your pain. However, they may also need to do an imaging test. Potential tests include:

  • X-ray, which can find broken or misaligned bones.
  • CT scan, which shows soft tissues such as the discs between vertebrae and potential tumors
  • myelogram, which uses dye to enhance the contrast in a CT scan or X-ray to help a doctor identify nerve or spinal cord compression

Is It A Mechanical Problem

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In many cases, the pain happens when parts of the back — the spine, joints, tissues, muscles, and the discs that cushion the spinal bones — are out of sync. If your back isnât feeling quite right, have your doctor check for:

Herniated or slipped discs: The bones of your spine are cushioned by discs, often referred to as âshock absorbers.â When they wear down, the soft tissue between them begins to squeeze out. This is when you start to feel it — especially if they rupture. It can happen if youâve had a sudden injury, or because of simple wear and tear.

Bulging discs: The stuff inside your discs âbulges,â but not as much as with a herniated disc. They often cause no symptoms on their own, but they can bring pain if the disc pushes up against a nerve root.

Degenerative disc disease: The discs that separate your vertebrae wear down. This sometimes causes the bones to rub together. Age is usually the reason, but sports and injuries can be culprits, too.

Inflammation and movement problems of the sacroiliac joint: This joint sits at the bottom of the spine, on either side of the pelvis. It transfers the weight of your upper body to your lower body. This can start to bother you after youâve been injured, if you have an infection, if you have arthritis, or if youâre pregnant. Abnormal movement, such as too much movement of the joint, can also cause long-term pain.

Osteoarthritis: This is when your cartilage and bone begin to break down and there is inflammation.

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Mechanical Low Back Pain Without Sciatica

About 80 percent of people will experience mechanical back pain. Mechanical means that the pain comes from the spine or its supporting structures. Sometimes, people experience sciatica with their low back pain. Sciatica is a general term to describe pain that travels from the back into the leg. Most of the time, it is unclear to doctors what exactly causes the episode of low back pain. However, it is most often due to a muscle strain, or an injured tendon or ligament. A slipped or herniated disc is also a possible cause. Fortunately, in any of these cases, initial treatment is the same. Pain usually goes away within 4-6 weeks, often sooner.

Can Stress Cause Lower Back Pain

Back pain is arguably one of the most common and frustrating symptoms that we experience regularly. From causing difficulty working to trouble sleeping, there is no doubt that lower back pain is a major hassle. In many cases, the inability to pinpoint a cause or inciting event for the pain can be the most irritating thing about it, second only to the discomfort that interferes with your daily life. Your first thought may be that you pulled a muscle or moved the wrong way, leading to a sore back. However, you may be surprised to find out that a large number of back pain cases are actually caused by stress and its associated behaviors. The knowledgeable team at Interventional Orthopedics of Atlanta, led by Dr. Christopher Williams, is dedicated to helping patients determine the underlying cause of their condition and get quick relief from their painful symptoms.

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Learn More About Lower Back Pain Symptoms And Tests For Athletes

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UPMC’s HealthBeat Blog:

After your exam and diagnostic tests for lower back pain, your doctor will review the results and develop the best treatment plan for you.

Lower back pain treatments for athletes and nonathletes may include:

  • An exercise program to strengthen your back and core muscles.
  • A weight loss program.
  • Therapy to improve your posture and how you move.
  • Over-the-counter drugs, like a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory or acetaminophen, to help relieve lower back pain symptoms.

If a structural issue such as osteoporosis is the cause of your lower back pain, your doctor may address that problem with changes in your diet and exercise.

How Common Is Lower Back Pain

Causes of Back Pain: What Causes 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 have overweight/obesity 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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Why Do I Get Lower Back Pain When Walking Or Standing For Long Periods

Back pain is never pleasant. However, when you know the root of the problem , you can look for ways to be mindful in attempts to reduce it.

On the other hand, sometimes you can feel pain from simply walking or standing for long periods of time. You may think youre doing everything right, yet the discomfort is still there, as a daily reminder that something is not right.

If your work duties or other responsibilities require you to walk or stand for extended time frames, what can you do to keep the pain at bay?

Arthritis Of The Spine

Arthritis of the spine the slow degeneration of the spinal joints is the most frequent cause of lower back pain. All of us experience wear and tear as we age, and it is normal for your lower back to start acting up as you get older. As the cartilage breaks down between the spinal joints, surrounding tissues may become inflamed. The inflammation and the thinning of cartilage increase friction in the joints, which may cause pain in the lower back.

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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.

What Does It Mean If Lower Back Pain Is Shooting Into Legs

How to Relieve Lower Back Pain IN SECONDS

Lower back pain can radiate to other parts of the body: up or down from its place of origin. Sometimes lower back pain can be on one side of the back, which is also normal.

If the pain is shooting from the lower back into one or both legs, it could be sciatica , but its not always the case. There are many parts in the lower back that may cause the pain to radiate into the legs, such as facet joints, sacroiliac joints, muscles or inflammation of the bursa.

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What Is Active Physical Therapy

Active physical therapy involves movement-based activities like: stretching, range of motion exercises, and targeted spine strengthening and conditioning exercises.

The movements and exercises are designed to address those underlying causes of chronic back pain so you can strengthen your back, condition your muscles and improve your mobility.

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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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:

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