Bony Encroachment Causes Lower Back Pain
Bony encroachment: Any condition that results in movement or growth of the vertebrae of the lumbar spine can limit the space for the adjacent spinal cord and nerves. Causes of bony encroachment of the spinal nerves include foraminal narrowing , spondylolisthesis , and spinal stenosis . Spinal-nerve compression in these conditions can lead to sciatica pain that radiates down the lower extremities. Spinal stenosis can cause lower-extremity pains that worsen with walking and are relieved by resting . Treatment of these afflictions varies, depending on their severity, and ranges from rest and exercises to epidural cortisone injections and surgical decompression by removing the bone that is compressing the nervous tissue.
What Are Other Uncommon Causes Of Low Back Pain
Infection of the cartilage and/or bone of the spine
Infection of the discs and bone is extremely rare. These conditions lead to localized pain associated with fever. The bacteria found when these tissues are tested with laboratory cultures include Staphylococcus aureus and Mycobacterium tuberculosis . TB infection in the spine is called Pott’s disease. These are each very serious conditions requiring long courses of antibiotics. The sacroiliac joints rarely become infected with bacteria. Brucellosis is a bacterial infection that can involve the sacroiliac joints and is usually transmitted in raw goat’s milk.
Aneurysm of the aorta
In the elderly, atherosclerosis can cause the weakening of the wall of the large arterial blood vessel in the abdomen. This weakening can lead to a bulging of the aorta wall. While most aneurysms cause no symptoms, some cause pulsating low back pain. Aneurysms of a certain size, especially when enlarging over time, can require surgical repair with a grafting procedure to repair the abnormal portion of the artery.
What Is Back Pain
Lower back pain is extremely common, especially in adults between the ages of 30 and 50, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke . Discomfort in the lower back can be chronic or ongoing. It can also be a sudden and brief condition known as acute pain.
Causes of lower back pain include:
Treatment options for lower back pain range widely according to the cause of the condition. Read on to learn more.
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Precautions When Taking Nsaids
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can increase the chance of serious gastrointestinal complications such as ulcers, bleeding, inflammation, and perforations. People who take NSAIDs such as naproxen and ibuprofen, may have a higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke than people who do not take these medications. People with kidney disease, or those who have had coronary artery bypass graft surgery, should not take NSAIDS.
What Is Low Back Pain
Low back pain may be dull and aching or sharp and stabbing. The pain may be mild or severe, and you may feel tingling or burning. You may also have pain in your legs.
You may feel stiff, and it may be hard to stand up straight or move your lower back. Low back pain can make it hard to do your daily activities.
- Acute low back pain lasts for 4 weeks or less
- Subacute low back pain lasts between 4 weeks and 12 weeks
- Chronic low back pain lasts for 12 weeks or longer
Often, it is hard to know the exact cause of low back pain. There are many possible causes. One possible cause is a strain or tear in the muscles or ligaments that support your back. Low back pain can also be caused by a muscle spasm in your back.
Your health care professional may talk with you about your history of low back pain and may do a physical exam. Both can help rule out any serious conditions that may be causing your low back pain .
Drugs For Back Pain Beware
This brings us full circle, as if youre taking one medication, such as a statin, that makes your back hurt, you may then end up taking a prescription painkiller for relief. Its a vicious cycle that often results in increased intake of prescription drugs, and with it the risk of addiction, overdose and other side effects. Consider
- NSAIDs, including even over-the-counter options like aspirin, are notorious for being hard on your gastrointestinal tract, leading to potentially fatal side effects such as bleeding in your digestive tract, ulcers and perforation of your stomach or intestines.
- All prescription NSAIDs, including Celebrex, ibuprofen and naproxen, can increase your risk of a deadly heart attack or stroke. Celebrex, in particular, has been found to pose unacceptably high heart attack risks.
- Opioid painkillers stimulate pleasure-perceiving areas in your brain, leading to an initial rush of euphoria that some people find impossible to resist. Along with developing physical dependence on the drugs, some people also become quickly addicted. Prescription drug overdoses now cause more overdose deaths than cocaine and heroin combined and their numbers are on the rise.
- If you take too much acetaminophen which is extremely easy to do if you take multiple over-the-counter medications you could suffer from fatal liver damage. Acetaminophen products may also cause fatal skin reactions, according to a new warning from the US Food and Drug Administration .
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.
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Is It Possible To Prevent Low Back Pain
Avoiding injury to the low back is a method of preventing low back pain. Additionally, conditioning exercise programs designed to strengthen the lumbar area and adjacent tissues can help to minimize risk of injury to the low back. Specific programs to relieve and prevent back pain can be designed with the help of physical therapists and other treating health care professionals.
What Is The Prognosis For Low Back Pain
The outlook for low back pain absolutely depends on its precise cause. For example, acute strain injuries generally heal entirely with minimal treatment. On the other hand, bony abnormalities that are irritating the spinal cord can require significant surgical repair and the outlook depends on the surgical result. Long-term optimal results often involve exercise rehabilitation programs that can involve physical therapists.
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Opioids Have Serious Side Effects And Risks
Over time, your body gets used to opioids and they may stop providing pain relief as well. To get the same relief, you may need to take more and more. Higher doses can cause serious side effects, including:
- Breathing problems and a slow heart rate, which can be deadly
- Confusion and mental disturbances, like moodiness or outbursts of temper
Nerve Irritation And Lumbar Radiculopathy Causes Lower Back Pain
Nerve irritation: The nerves of the lumbar spine can be irritated by mechanical pressure by bone or other tissues, or from disease, anywhere along their paths — from their roots at the spinal cord to the skin surface. These conditions include lumbar disc disease , bony encroachment, and inflammation of the nerves caused by a viral infection . See descriptions of these conditions below.
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When Should I See A Doctor If I Have Lower Back Pain
In many cases lower back pain stops on its own. But if it doesnt, here are some guidelines on when you may want to start seeking professional help:
- If the pain lasts four weeks or longer
- If the pain keeps getting worse as time goes by
- If you are experiencing other symptoms, such as fever, major weight loss or weight gain, loss of function or weakness in extremities, bladder problems, etc.
How To Explain Your Pain
Now that you know the difference between acute and chronic pain, lets drill down a bit more. The cause of your pain will for the most part determine the type of pain you are experiencing. Describing your symptoms accurately is important because it helps your healthcare provider choose the best treatment for your pain.
Nociceptive pain and neuropathic pain are the two most common types of pain.
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Precautions When Taking Tylenol
Acetaminophen can cause liver damage with high, frequent, or long-term dosing. Do not take acetaminophen if you:
Have a history of liver disease
Drink more than three alcoholic beverages per day
Are allergic to acetaminophen or any other of the ingredients listed
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, ask your doctor before using acetaminophen
Are taking any other medication containing acetaminophen. This may cause permanent liver damage
Path To Improved Health
The goal of chronic pain treatment is to increase function and quality of life. Different types of medicines help people who have different types of pain. For instance, short-acting medicines treat pain that comes and goes. Long-acting medicines treat constant pain.
The most common medicines are listed below. Each one may have side effects. These can range from mild to severe. Its important to follow your doctors orders on how to use your pain medicine. If you have questions about side effects or about how much medicine to take, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
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Best Bets For Back Pain
Judicious use of pain relievers can help you keep doing your usual daily activities, which aids recovery from back pain.
When your back is bothering you and you don’t want to take prescription drugs, over-the-counter solutions and physical therapies can help relieve symptoms.
At this moment, about 10% of men have a backache, and up to 90% will have a backache at some point in their lives. Most flare-ups of low back pain get better over time, often within a few weeks. Pain control is important because it allows you to stay active, which assists in your recovery. For over-the-counter pain relievers, you have two options: acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs .
But pain relievers are only one tool to help you recover from, and prevent, low back pain, according to Dr. Jeffrey N. Katz, professor of medicine and surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and editor of the Harvard Special Health Report Low Back Pain: Healing Your Aching Back. Dr. Katz suggests you also include these steps in your back-care plan:
Soothe with cold or heat. In the first few days, when pain is most intense and may be accompanied by inflammation, apply cold compresses for 15-minute periods. After a few days, switch to warm compresses to relax the affected muscles and enhance blood flow to the area. This simple approach can reduce reliance on pain relievers.
Can Lower Back Pain Be A Sign Of Something Serious Like Cancer
Lower back pain can be related to cancer. In fact, it is one of the first symptoms of prostate cancer when it metastasizes and creates lesions. Almost any cancer can spread to the back and some, like sarcoma, can originate in the back. Be cautious, especially if you are experiencing other symptoms besides lower back pain. Talk to your doctor if you have additional symptoms or concerns.
How Can I Relieve Back Pain At Home
You can manage back pain at home with over-the-counter medications, natural remedies, or very light exercise techniques. Medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen, acetaminophen, or aspirin can alleviate pain. Natural remedies like turmeric or ice can reduce inflammation. Or, you can try stretching, walking, or other light exercise. However, you should consult a doctor before starting new physical activity to avoid injuring yourself further.
When To See A Doctor
People who take medicine for chronic pain should have regular check-ups with their doctor. Contact your doctor right away if you have severe or abnormal side effects. This includes if you have an unplanned reaction. The doctor will tell you what you should do. Seek help if you think you are dependent on or addicted to a drug.
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Treating Nociceptive Pain With Opioids
If the pain is still not adequately controlled, opioid therapy may be recommended until the pain is controlled. Prolonged use of opioids is ill advised due to the many health risks associated with them.
Sadly, the long-term use of opioids increased significantlydespite the numerous serious risks associated with themduring the past few years.
In 2017, more than 191 million opioid prescriptions were dispensed to Americanswith wide variation across states. To avoid unnecessary risks without a justified benefit, it is important for that you and your doctor establish pain goals. For example, experiencing less pain rather than NO pain may be a reasonable goal to set.
How Is Low Back Pain Treated
There are many treatment options for acute, subacute, and chronic low back pain.
- Medicine: Your health care professional may suggest a medicine to reduce pain and swelling or to relax your muscles.
- Most medicines are taken by mouth, but some are given as a shot or through an IV tube in your arm.
- Some medicines are available over the counter, and for some you need a prescription.
Low back pain often improves in 4 weeks or less. In some cases, it may take 12 weeks or more for low back pain to improve. For many people, low back pain improves without specific treatment.
The tables below list some treatments for acute low back pain and subacute low back pain . The tables also list what researchers have found about how well the treatments work to reduce pain. For some of the treatments, there is also research on how well the treatments help you return to your daily activities.Nonmedicine Treatments for Acute and Subacute Low Back Pain
|Acetaminophen||A type of medicine to reduce painNote: Acetaminophen is different from NSAIDs in that it only reduces pain and does not reduce swelling.||Acetaminophen does not appear to reduce pain, but more research is needed to know this for sure.|
What about other treatments that are not listed in this summary?
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What Are The Best Natural Ways To Treat Lower Back Pain
Turmeric is a popular natural remedy for lower back pain. The roots anti-inflammatory properties may reduce joint pain and inflammation. Use caution if you’re taking prescription medications known to thin blood. They could interact with this supplement. Another natural treatment is applying ice directly to the affected area to reduce swelling.
Back Pain As Side Effect Of Taking Medication
As many new prescription drugs come to market to treat everything from cholesterol to erectile dysfunction, one of the biggest concerns for both patients and practitioners who prescribe these medications are side effects. Some medications do a great job at controlling a specific problem, but are so toxic that they cause others problems. One lesser known side effect of certain medications that is commonly overlooked is back pain. When I say back pain, I am referring to pain that is derived from bones, muscles, joints, discs, and nerves that originate and are part of the vertebral column. Patients commonly take medications to treat back pain, but perhaps a surprise to some, there are many medications that have the potential to cause back pain!
For example, commonly prescribed statin drugs, which are used to treat cholesterol, can cause muscle and joint pains along with numbness or tingling in the extremities. Verapamil, which is used to treat high blood pressure and chest pain also has been reported to cause back pain in a small percentage of patients.
From doing a little research, these are some of the most commonly prescribed medications that list a possible side effect of back pain. I have included the primary reason for taking the medication in parentheses. The mechanism of action and reason for the side effect is poorly understood for many of these. This is not an inclusive list.
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Chronic Or Acute Pain
- Acute pain starts suddenly and lasts for up to 6 weeks.
- Chronic or long-term pain develops over a longer period, lasts for over 3 months, and causes ongoing problems.
If a person has both occasional bouts of more intense pain and fairly continuous mild back pain, it can be hard for a doctor to determine whether they have acute or chronic back pain.
Back pain usually resolves with rest and home remedies, but sometimes medical treatment is necessary.
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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