What Structures Make Up The Back
The lower backwhere most back pain occursincludes the five vertebrae in the lumbar region, which supports much of the weight of the upper body. The spaces between the vertebrae are maintained by round, rubbery pads called intervertebral discs that act like shock absorbers throughout the spinal column to cushion the bones as the body moves. Bands of tissue known as ligaments hold the vertebrae in place, and tendons attach the muscles to the spinal column. Thirty-one pairs of nerves are rooted to the spinal cord and they control body movements and transmit signals from the body to the brain.
Other regions of vertebrate are cervical , thoracic , and sacral and coccygeal segments.
When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider
- Can’t stand or walk
- Temperature over 101.0°F
- Frequent, painful, or bloody urination
- Severe belly pain
- Pain or numbness in your leg
- Pain in a new area of your back
- The pain isnt decreasing after more than a week
- Pain radiating down the leg.
- Pain that is accompanied by fever or chills, leg weakness, or loss of control of the bladder or bowels.
Tips To Strengthen Your Back
Flexion and extension exercises are commonly used to prevent low back pain. Be sure to review with the doctor any program you are considering.
Easy Low Back Exercises
- Ankle Pumps: Lie on your back and move ankles up and down.
- Heel Slides: Lie on your back and bend then straighten the knees one at a time.
- Wall Squats: With your back flat against a wall, sit like you would in a chair with your knees lined up over your ankles. Gently press against the wall, keeping your abdominal muscles tight. Hold for five seconds.
- Single Knee to Chest Stretch: Lying down with back flat, pull your knee into the chest.
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The Lumbar Spine What Can Go Wrong
The low back supports the weight of the upper body and provides mobility for everyday motions such as bending and twisting. Muscles in the low back are responsible for flexing and rotating the hips while walking, as well as supporting the spinal column. Nerves in the low back supply sensation and power the muscles in the pelvis, legs, and feet.
Most acute low back pain results from injury to the muscles, ligaments, joints, or discs. The body also reacts to injury by mobilizing an inflammatory healing response. While inflammation sounds minor, it can cause severe pain.
There is a significant overlap of nerve supply to many of the discs, muscles, ligaments, and other spinal structures, and it can be difficult for the brain to accurately sense which is the cause of the pain. For example, a degenerated or torn lumbar disc can feel the same as a pulled muscle both creating inflammation and painful muscle spasm in the same area. Muscles and ligaments heal rapidly, while a torn disc may or may not. The time course of pain helps determine the cause.
How To Soothe Low Back Pain
If youre suffering from lower back painespecially when its muscle- or bone-related, there are a few exercises and stretches you can do to soothe your pain.
One tool is the foam roller. You can use this amazing technique to loosen up and relaxing the muscles behind your pain. Think of foam roll as a deep tissue massage you can do on your own and for free.
Since youre a runner, youre likely to have tight hamstrings, which may make the inward curve in your lumbar spine worse. Rolling out the muscles of the back of your thighs may help release some of the stress off your lower back.
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Back Pain Culprit: Your Bag
Although you may wear your purse, backpack, or briefcase over your shoulder, it is the lower back that supports the upper body — including any additional weight you carry. So an overstuffed bag can strain the lower back, especially if you carry it day after day. If you must tote a heavy load, consider switching to a wheeled briefcase.
Skeletal Disease Or Injury
Skeletal disease or injury affecting the nerves on the right side of the back can lead to pain.
- Cartilage deterioration: This is wearing away of the cartilage at the ends of the bones, due to either age or disease.
- Bony growths: Small overgrowths of bones in the spine may crowd the spinal cord and cause pain and numbness or pinch other nearby structures. A general narrowing of the spinal canal is known as spinal stenosis.
- Scar tissue: This may form due to injury or the result of spinal surgery.
- Injury or disease of the discs: These are the “cushions” between each of the spinal vertebrae. A disc may be partly pushed out of place, causing pressure on a nerve. A disc may also rupture and lose some of its contents, causing pain and pressure on the surrounding nerves .
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Types Of Lower Back And Groin Pain:
1. Coming from your hip.
This type of groin pain is due to the hip referring pain into your groin. Often people feel deep groin pain which is originating from their hip. Because the hip is a relatively large joint it often refers pain into the lower back area and this can result in buttocks pain also. Treatment needs to be directed towards the hip joint in this instance. If you think that the cause of your pain is from your hip, then learn more about the causes of hip pain here.
2. Coming from your lumbar spine.
This type of groin pain is due to the lumbar spine referring pain into your groin. Each level of your spine refers through nerve connections to different parts of the body. It is your upper lumbar spine which will refer pain to your groin. You may or may not feel pain in the lower back also. Treatment needs to be directed towards the lower back in this instance. There are more articles on the causes of lower back pain here
3. Coming from your adductor muscles.
This type of groin pain is due to the location of the adductor muscles. When you strain or tear an adductor muscle or tendon you will feel pain anywhere from the midpoint of your inner thigh to deep under your pubic bone. Treatment needs to be directed to the damaged adductor muscle in this instance.
4. Coming from your sacro-iliac joint.
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.
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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Symptoms Of Low Back Pain
These might range from a dull ache to a stabbing or shooting sensation. The pain may make it hard to move or stand up straight. Pain that comes on suddenly is âacute.â It might happen during sports or heavy lifting. Pain that lasts more than 3 months is considered âchronic.â If your pain is not better within 72 hours, you should consult a doctor.
How To Avoid The Pain
Now that we understand a bit more about how a cough could suddenly throw you into a back spasm, we can learn how to prevent it from happening.
The strategies will differ based on what type of low back pain youve got, so its important you take a look at your symptoms and understand the root cause.
If you have flexion dysfunction, your strategy will be to avoid letting a cough pull you forward into flexion. The next time you feel a cough coming on, stand up tall through your spine and even go into a little bit of extension.
If youre sitting down, you can put your hands behind your low back and lean into them. Coughing from this position will help you avoid an exacerbation of your symptoms.
If compression dysfunction is giving you trouble, you want to avoid strong abdominal contractions when you cough. To help with this, place your hands on your hips and push your chest up. Allow your shoulders to shrug and try to cough from your upper back.
Assuming this position the next time you feel a coughing fit coming on will help reduce compression on any structures in your lumbar spine that are irritated and painful.
These simple postural adjustments will help prevent that irritating cough from causing big setbacks in your low back pain progress.
If you arent sure what type of low back pain youre dealing with, Ive created a simple assessment to help you discover the root cause .
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Lower Back Pain Causes: 8 Reasons For Sudden & Chronic Pain
Sometimes, you know exactly why your back is hurting. Maybe you lifted something awkwardly and felt the pain right away. Or maybe your doctor has been warning you for years that your bad posture would lead to lower back pain.
But other times, the source of back pain can feel like a mystery.
“Your lumbar spine, located in your lower back, plays a crucial role in supporting the weight of your upper body. It’s also responsible for everyday movements, such as bending, twisting and coordinating the muscles in your hips, pelvis legs and feet,” says Dr. Kenneth Palmer, orthopedic surgeon specializing in spine surgery at Houston Methodist. “Due to heavy use, the bones, muscles, ligaments, disks and nerves found in your lumbar spine are quite susceptible to both injury and wear and tear over time causing pain in the lower back.”
Lower back pain symptoms include:
- Dull ache in your hips and/or pelvis
- Muscle spasms or tightness
- Sharp, tingling pain that starts in your lower back and travels down one leg
- Pain that worsens with sitting and quickly improves while walking
- Pain that is noticeably worse in the morning
“Typically, a person experiences some combination of these symptoms, which can develop suddenly or over time. In some cases, lower back pain can feel like it comes and goes flaring up now and then, but generally getting progressively worse over time,” explains Dr. Palmer.
Speaking of the various causes of lower back pain…
How To Sit On A Chair
To sit on a chair safely:
To help your back and make sitting more comfortable:
- Try to get up and change position regularly
- Try to sit right back in the chair
- Put a rolled up towel in the small curve at the bottom of your spine
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Hot Or Cold Therapy For Low Back Pain
Hot or cold packs may help ease pain and reduce symptoms. The soothing relief from heat, or the dulling relief from a cold pack, is only temporary and will not treat more serious causes of back pain. However, they may provide greater mobility for people with acute, subacute, or chronic pain, allowing them to get up and get moving.
Treatment Of Neck And Lower Back Pain With Headache
In many cases, severe back or neck pain can be relieved with a little rest. In-store medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen may also be helpful with discomfort. If you have chronic back and neck pain, try several treatments before considering surgery. These include:
1. Over-the-counter medications
Inflammation is the bodys immune response to irritation or injury and is characterized by redness, heat, swelling and pain. To help with healing and pain relief, the use of over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, aspirin or ketoprofen is often recommended.
These drugs are called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and can effectively reduce inflammation and reduce pain. Long-term use of NSAIDs can cause digestive problems, so it is wise to consult your healthcare provider before using NSAIDs or any other medication.
In-store NSAIDs are intended for short-term use, so do not use one for more than a week unless recommended by your healthcare professional.
2. Ice, heat and other modalities
Applying ice or some other type of cold pack immediately after an injury can help reduce inflammation. After 48 hours, your doctor may recommend lower back pain as a long-term treatment to stimulate blood flow and healing in the injured area.
5. Do not stop moving
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How Is Acute Low Back Pain Treated
The goal of treatment is to relieve your pain and help you be able to do your regular activities. Most people with acute low back pain get better within 4 to 6 weeks. You may need any of the following:
- NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor’s order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
- Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor’s order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Read the labels of all other medicines you are using to see if they also contain acetaminophen, or ask your doctor or pharmacist. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly. Do not use more than 4 grams total of acetaminophen in one day.
- Muscle relaxers decrease pain by relaxing the muscles in your lower spine.
- Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
Learn Why Coughing Hurts Your Back And How To Fix It
Is lower back pain from coughing taking your cold from annoying to downright painful? Ill teach you why the two are connected and a simple trick to avoid the pain.
If youve struggled with low back pain, youve probably experienced this at one point or another. You go to sneeze or cough and all of a sudden your back pain flares up.
When youve got a cough from a cold or allergies, youre already not at operating at your best. Low back pain from coughing can take things over the edge and make your day miserable.
The bright side is, the pain can be avoided.
It just requires you to learn a bit about the nature of your back pain and incorporate some strategies to avoid exacerbating your symptoms.
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Workouts That Can Cause Low Back Pain
Most athletic injuries to the back are sprains of the ligaments or strains of the muscles surrounding the spine. Serious conditions or complications can have similar symptoms to those of a routine sprain or strain. The most common sports injuries occur after repetitive overuse of the spine either through twisting, compression, or flexion. High impact sports such as running, football, or volleyball can often cause low back pain. Sports like golf, in which repetitive twisting is often involved, can also cause low back pain.
Low Back Pain In Older Adults
While older adults can experience pain related to any of the conditions that also affect younger adults, individuals over age 60 are more likely to suffer from pain related to degeneration of the joints in the spine. Two of the most common causes of lower back pain in older adults include osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis.
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Muscle Strain Or Sciatica
Muscle strain is often the cause of back pain from heavy lifting or vigorous exercise. But sometimes itâs due to small jelly-filled disks meant to protect the space between vertebrae. When one of these disks bulges or breaks, it can push on a nerve. When itâs the sciatic nerve, pain runs from the buttock down one leg. This is sciatica.
Diagnosis And Treatment Of Acute Low Back Pain
BRIAN A. CASAZZA, MD, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Am Fam Physician. 2012 Feb 15 85:343-350.
Patient information: Handouts on this topic are available at and .
Most persons will experience acute low back pain during their lifetime. The first episode usually occurs between 20 and 40 years of age. For many, acute low back pain is the first reason to seek medical care as an adult. Pain can be moderate to severe and debilitating, causing anxiety. Many cases are self-limited and resolve with little intervention. However, 31 percent of persons with low back pain will not fully recover within six months,1 although most will improve. Recurrent back pain occurs in 25 to 62 percent of patients within one to two years, with up to 33 percent having moderate pain and 15 percent having severe pain.24
SORT: KEY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PRACTICE
Red flags are common in patients with acute low back pain and do not necessarily indicate serious pathology therefore, physicians should rely on a comprehensive clinical approach to evaluating red flags in these patients.
SORT: KEY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PRACTICE
Differential Diagnosis of Acute Low Back Pain
Differential Diagnosis of Acute Low Back Pain
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