Tuesday, April 16, 2024
HomeHurtWhy Did My Lower Back Start Hurting

Why Did My Lower Back Start Hurting

You’ve Been In Pain For Over A Week

How to Fix Lower Back Pain off to the Side

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.

What Can Cause A Tight Lower Back

Sports injuries, overtraining, and accidents can cause your back to feel tight. Even everyday activities such as sitting can cause tightness.

Often you develop tightness in the lower back to compensate for an issue in another part of the body. Tight hamstrings and gluteus muscles can also contribute to this tightness. Having poor posture or using incorrect form while lifting weights or having weak core muscles can also play a part.

There are several other factors that can lead to or complicate a tight lower back. These include:

  • sprains and strains

Youll typically see improvements within two to six weeks of doing daily exercises. You should see a doctor if:

  • your pain doesnt improve within a few weeks
  • you have intense pain while doing the exercises
  • the pain spreads to your legs

Also see a doctor if you experience any numbness, swelling, or severe pain. Your doctor can help to determine if any pain or tightness is being caused by an underlying condition.

There are many lifestyle changes you can practice to help prevent lower back pain. Here are a few guidelines and tips:

  • Adopt a balanced, healthy diet.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.

How Do I Stop My Lower Back From Hurting When I Walk

The posture you have when walking matters more than you think. Walking places a tremendous amount of weight on the spine, which can affect the support structure of the rest of the body. If you experience back pain when you walk, your posture may be the underlying cause.

So how do you stop your lower back from hurting when you walk? While the overarching answer can be different depending on the individual, improvements to your gait and general posture is an excellent start.

You May Like: Can I Go To The Er For Back Pain

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.

What Can Cause Lower Back Pain

Why Does My Back Hurt? Identifying the Cause of Back Pain

Most acute low back pain is mechanical in nature, meaning that there is a disruption in the way the components of the back fit together and move. Some examples of mechanical causes of low back pain include:

Congenital

  • Skeletal irregularities such as scoliosis , lordosis , kyphosis , and other congenital anomalies of the spine.
  • Spina bifida which involves the incomplete development of the spinal cord and/or its protective covering and can cause problems involving malformation of vertebrae and abnormal sensations and even paralysis.

Injuries

  • Sprains , strains , and spasms
  • Traumatic Injury such as from playing sports, car accidents, or a fall that can injure tendons, ligaments, or muscle causing the pain, as well as compress the spine and cause discs to rupture or herniate.

Degenerative problems

  • Intervertebral disc degeneration which occurs when the usually rubbery discs wear down as a normal process of aging and lose their cushioning ability.
  • Spondylosis the general degeneration of the spine associated with normal wear and tear that occurs in the joints, discs, and bones of the spine as people get older.
  • Arthritis or other inflammatory disease in the spine, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis as well as spondylitis, an inflammation of the vertebrae.

Nerve and spinal cord problems

Non-spine sources

Don’t Miss: Is Walking Bad For Lower Back Pain

Signs Your Back Pain Might Be An Emergency

In our 20s and 30s, normal back pain often can be attributed to factors of daily life, such as sitting too long, picking up children, or overdoing it while exercising.

In our 40s and older, work injuries and the beginnings of arthritis and degenerative conditions are more common.

Back pain is so common, in fact, that many patients shrug off symptoms that might indicate a medical emergency.

Approximately 80% of adults will experience back pain in their lives, so its important to be able to identify the severity of your symptoms and track how long the pain lasts.

If back pain can be associated with a specific activity, such as lifting or twisting wrong, and the pain goes away within 72 hours after resting and applying ice, its usually nothing to worry about. However, if pain creeps on gradually, appears suddenly, or doesn’t go away, you might have a more serious condition.

Chronic Low Back Pain Of No Specific Origin

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

You May Like: How To Relieve Muscle Strain In Lower Back

More Advanced Care Options

Surgery When other therapies fail, surgery may be considered to relieve pain caused by worsening nerve damage, serious musculoskeletal injuries, or nerve compression. Specific surgeries are selected for specific conditions/indications. However, surgery is not always successful. It may be months following surgery before the person is fully healed and there may be permanent loss of flexibility. Surgical options include:

Implanted nerve stimulators

  • Spinal cord stimulation uses low-voltage electrical impulses from a small implanted device that is connected to a wire that runs along the spinal cord. The impulses are designed to block pain signals that are normally sent to the brain.
  • Dorsal root ganglion stimulation also involves electrical signals sent along a wire connected to a small device that is implanted into the lower back. It specifically targets the nerve fibers that transmit pain signals. The impulses are designed to replace pain signals with a less painful numbing or tingling sensation.
  • Peripheral nerve stimulation also uses a small implanted device and an electrode to generate and send electrical pulses that create a tingling sensation to provide pain relief.

Exercise And Physical Therapy

How to Fix Your Lower Back Pain for Good

Aside from aging, prolonged inactivity is a significant factor in developing sciatica. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle or dont get a lot of physical exercise, your joints and muscles will stiffen and freeze up. This can make standing, walking, or even sitting down painful.

Inactivity isnt solely caused by lifestyle choices either its also a frequent consequence of traumatic injuries or conditions that force the patient to stay in bed. Even after recovery, any kind of movement will be painful since the spine isnt used to bearing the bodys weight anymore.

Physical exercise is one of the best ways to address chronic pain. However, older patients need to balance the need for physical exercise with their special considerations. In cases like these, physical therapy is a better alternative since medical staff will be close by to assist them.

Exercise and physical therapy are two of the most effective ways to alleviate mild-to-moderate sciatica. Your therapist will put you through a strict training regimen designed to loosen your joints and strengthen your muscles, allowing your spine to better support your weight. They may also recommend some exercises that you can follow at home.

Recommended Reading: What To Do For Severe Upper Back Pain

Age And Gender Issues

Age and gender are important factors to consider when diagnosing low back pain. In a young patient, a benign tumor of the spine called an osteoid osteoma may be the culprit. Inflammatory bowel disease in young people can be connected with spondylitis and sacroiliitis . Low back pain from disc disease or spinal degeneration is more likely to occur as people get older. Conditions such as abdominal aneurysm or multiple myeloma are also considered in older individuals.

Osteoporosis and fibromyalgia are much more common triggers of back pain in women than in men. Osteoporosis is a progressive decrease in bone density that leaves the bones brittle, porous and prone to fracture. Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder that causes widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and multiple tender points in the neck, spine, shoulders, and hips.

Unexplained Acute Low Back Pain

Unexplained low back pain means chronic pain that comes on gradually, over time, with no specific injury, event, or illness causing it.

Common causes:

  • Prolonged sitting and lack of fitness can weaken back muscles and cause pain from lack of support.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis, a form of arthritis.
  • Spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column that puts pressure on the spinal cord.
  • Certain types of cancer, in rare cases.

Those most susceptible are over 30, overweight and/or pregnant, and not physically fit. Smoking interferes with healing after any sort of stress to the back.

If there are additional symptoms, medical care should be sought: fever, unexplained weight loss, leg weakness or numbness, or trouble urinating.

An exact diagnosis is made through blood tests and through imaging such as x-rays, CT scan, or MRI.

Once more serious causes are ruled out, treatment may include medications to ease pain, swelling, and inflammation. Steroid injections are useful in some cases.

Overall, exercise and maintaining a healthy weight can be very helpful with easing chronic low back pain.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: lower back pain, back pain that shoots to the butt, fever, back pain

Symptoms that always occur with unexplained acute low back pain:lower back pain

Symptoms that never occur with unexplained acute low back pain:buttocks numbness, thigh numbness, involuntary defecation, fever

Urgency: Self-treatment

You May Like: What Not To Do With Lower Back Pain

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

Muscle Strains Vs Hernias

DIY Lower Back Pain Relief Exercises and Education from a Professional ...

Muscles strains and hernias can both be caused by overuse, but theyre different injuries.

Muscles strains are caused by tears in the fibers of your muscles. Unless theyre very severe, you can treat a muscle strain at home with rest, icing and over-the-counter medicine.

Hernias happen when one of your internal organs or other body parts breaks through the wall of muscle or tissue that normally holds it in place. Hernias usually dont get better on their own, and youll probably need surgery to repair one.

Don’t Miss: What May Cause Lower Back Pain

Concerned About Your Back Pain Symptoms We Can Help

Most back pain goes away on its own. But if your back pain has been lingering for more than two weeks without improvement, its been coming and going for some time, or if youre experiencing any alarming symptoms, dont delay the care you need. After all, its much easier to take care of yourself when you can move without pain.

Think TRIA Neck and Back Strengthening Program may be right for you? Schedule a consultation.

Not ready for an intensive physical therapy program? Start with physical therapy.

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.

You May Like: Why Do I Have Severe Back Pain

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.

How Are Muscle Strains Diagnosed

Lower Back Pain From Running (Why this Happens)

Your healthcare provider will diagnose a muscle strain with a physical exam. Make sure to tell them what you were doing when you first noticed your symptoms. Because muscle strains come from physical activities, its important they know what led to yours.

Your provider will classify your muscle strain by grade according to how severe it is:

  • Grade 1 .
  • Grade 3 .

Don’t Miss: How To Make Your Lower Back Stronger

Can I Prevent Lower Back Pain

You cant prevent lower back pain that results from disease or structural problems in the spine. But you can avoid injuries that cause back pain.

To reduce your risk of a back injury, you should:

  • Maintain a healthy weight: Excess weight puts pressure on vertebrae and disks.
  • Strengthen your abdominal muscles: Pilates and other exercise programs strengthen core muscles that support the spine.
  • Lift the right way: To avoid injuries, lift with your legs . Hold heavy items close to your body. Try not to twist your torso while youre lifting.

What Should I Know About Back Pain

Back pain is a very common problem and will affect many of us at some point during our lives.

The good news is that in most cases it isnt a serious problem, and it might just be caused by a simple strain to a muscle or ligament.

As far as possible, its best to continue with your normal everyday activities as soon as you can and to keep moving.

Being active and exercising wont make your back pain worse, even if you have a bit of pain and discomfort at first. Staying active will help you get better. Taking painkillers can help you do this.

Also Check: How To Get Rid Of Lower Back Pain Quickly

What Causes Lower Back Pain

Many injuries, conditions and diseases can cause lower back pain. They include:

  • Strains and sprains: Back strains and sprains are the most common cause of back pain. You can injure muscles, tendons or ligaments by lifting something too heavy or not lifting safely. Some people strain their back by sneezing, coughing, twisting or bending over.
  • Fractures: The bones in the spine can break during an accident, like a car crash or a fall. Certain conditions increase the risk of fractures.
  • Disk problems: Disks cushion the vertebrae . Disks can bulge from their position in the spine and press on a nerve. They can also tear . With age, disks can get flatter and offer less protection .
  • Structural problems: A condition called spinal stenosis happens when the spinal column is too narrow for the spinal cord. Something pinching the spinal cord can cause severe sciatic nerve pain and lower back pain. Scoliosis can lead to pain, stiffness and difficulty moving.
  • Arthritis: Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis to cause lower back pain. Ankylosing spondylitis causes lower back pain, inflammation and stiffness in the spine.
  • Disease:Spine tumors, infections and several types of cancer can cause back pain. Other conditions can cause back pain, too. These include kidney stones and abdominal aortic aneurysm.
  • Spondylolisthesis: This condition causes the vertebrae in the spine to slip out of place. Spondylolisthesis leads to low back pain and often leg pain as well.

RELATED ARTICLES

Most Popular