The Type Of Sound Depends On Its Origin
Motion-related sounds from your spine are usually produced when you bend forward or rotate the spine.3 The sound can originate from one or more of the following structures:
- Facet joint capsule. Cavitation mostly occurs within your facet joint capsule and causes a crack or pop. This sound is produced when the air pressure within the joint changes suddenlycausing bubbles within the joint fluid to form and/or collapse.2,3 This sound is similar to the one produced when you crack your knuckles and is not a sign of joint injury or arthritis.
- Facet joint. When the facet joint surfaces become rough and do not glide smoothly, grating crepitus may be felt. This sound may indicate damaged cartilage in these surfaces resulting from arthritis. More advanced facet arthritis may cause bone-on-bone grinding.4
See The Truth About Back Cracking and Grinding
When Should I See My Healthcare Provider About Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain usually gets better with rest and pain relievers. Back pain that doesnt go away may be a sign of a more serious condition.
See your provider if you have:
- Pain that doesnt get better after about a week of at-home care.
- Tingling, numbness, weakness or pain in your buttocks or legs.
- Severe pain or muscle spasms that interfere with your normal activities.
- Fever, weight loss, bowel or bladder problems or other unexplained symptoms.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Millions of people live with low back pain. Stiffness, pain and limited movement can have a major impact on quality of life. But you may be able to avoid lower back pain by maintaining a healthy weight and staying active. Talk to your provider if back pain doesnt go away or if youre unable to do the activities you enjoy. Several treatments can relieve pain, help you move better and get more out of life.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/18/2021.
How Do You Treat Inflammaging Lifestyle Medicine
No one really knows, but its probably all about just being as fit and healthy as possible, and reducing biological vulnerabilities . Systemic inflammation is almost synonymous with being out of shape and all the bad habits that tend to go with it so these very general approaches to health can be considered inflammation treatments specifically. But they are also a sensible everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach to treating any health problem we dont understand .
Their superpower is that its hard to actually waste your time doing this stuff. Its all good for you, whether it helps morning back pain or not.
What about more specific inflammation treatments? There are many. Obviously there are OTC anti-inflammatory drugs. They arent a long-term solution those drugs are too hard on the GI tract for anything but taking the edge off now and then. But they might do that, and if they do its also good diagnostic evidence that the issue is caused by inflammation. Inflammation can also be nuked by some more potent drug therapies, but those cures are definitely worse than the disease of morning back pain.
I have an article specifically about inflammation that goes into more detail about managing inflammation:
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Get Help From A Professional:
Massage – Getting pain treatment through massage is another great way to get rid of pain. While this may be a luxury approach, a monthly massage can be affordable and effective. There are many types of massage options, so be sure to ask about targeting your areas of pain. With the rising accessibility of massage guns, you can also get a frequent and affordable targeted massage. You can get a very high-quality massage gun for a few hundred dollars.
Go to a Chiropractor – Finding a good chiropractor can be the key to relieving your pain. Chiropractors are trained in musculoskeletal manipulation and can identify the cause of your pain and specifically treat areas of pain with specialized procedures. They can also advise you on managing your pain in your day-to-day life and suggest other activities that may help.
Physical Therapy – Often treating patients that have suffered trauma or recovering from surgery, physical therapists and their staff are also more than qualified to help treat back pain. Overlapping with treatment from a chiropractor, seeking help from a physical therapist can be another highly effective option for treating back and neck pain caused by sitting.
Muscle Strain And Ligament Sprain
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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Questions To Ask The Doctor About Medications:
- What will the medication do?
- How long will it take before I notice results?
- What is the name of the medication? Is there a generic brand?
- Are there side effects I should know about?
- How should I take the medication ?
- How often should I take the medication?
- What should I do if I forget to take a dose at the specified time?
- Let your doctor know if you are taking other medications. Sometimes certain medications cannot be taken together.
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.
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Acute Back Pain: Short
If your back pain is acute, it probably means your pain came along suddenly. Things like stress, strenuous exercise, an awkward movement or lifting something wrong can all contribute to acute back pain.
Most back pain is diagnosed as acute. With acute back pain, the pain lasts no longer than six weeks. And in most cases, the underlying cause of the pain doesnt pose a serious or long-term problem.
What Exactly Is The Lower Back Anyway
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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Other Conditions That Cause Back Pain In Older Adults
We often see a range of less serious but still painful spine conditions in seniors. Most patients with these conditions will not require surgery. Physical therapy, medication, injectable anesthetics, or a combination of treatments usually can control symptoms.
- Degenerative disc disease, which can cause whole spine pain, and lumbar arthritis, which usually causes low-back pain, commonly develop with age and are considered wear-and-tear conditions.
- Sacroiliitis is an inflammation of the joints that connect your spine and pelvis. This condition can cause pain in the low back, glutes, and upper legs.
- Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory arthritis that causes patients spines to become inflexible, resulting in a continual hunched forward position and spine pain.
- We also check for adult degenerative scoliosis and kyphosis, spine-curving conditions that can result in back pain and weakness in the lower extremities.
Are There Psychological Factors That Drive Morning Pain
The book Back Sense proposes that morning back pain is caused by stressful night-time mental patterns manifesting as back pain. I do not generally dismiss the role of psychology in back pain. Its actually a major theme in my writing about back pain. See The Mind Game in Low Back Pain. But I do think that author is indulging in a simplistic mind-body connection theory. Ive written crankily about this kind of logic elsewhere .
Its a bit of a reach to say that you have such a problematic, pain-causing mental state like clockwork every morning between 6am and 7am exclusively. Applying How to Simplify Chronic Pain Puzzles to the problem, it is much more likely that there is simply a time limit on how long you can lie in bed without tissue crankiness.
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When You Should Go To The Er For Back Pain
If your back pain is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, head to your closest emergency room because you could be dealing with a more serious condition or injury:
- Sudden spike in pain, discomfort, weakness or numbness
- Loss of bladder function
- Unexplainable weight loss
- The pain results from a fall or severe blow to your back
If you experience any of these symptoms, its a good idea to talk to your doctor so you can determine next steps for managing pain.
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.
- 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.
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
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Here Are A Few Other Tips That Might Make It Easier For You To Get Through The Day:
- Morning Stretching: Wake up your muscles and joints by gently stretching before you get out of bed. Bring your knees to your chest to get a lower-back stretch. Also, stretch your arms above your head and reach your feet in the opposite direction. Pay attention to the tight areas of your body, then talk to a physical therapist or doctor about the stretches that could help your situation.
- Core Strength: Building the muscles in your core can improve your overall body structure, helping to reduce the back pain you are experiencing. No, were not talking about hundreds of crunches each day because certain ab exercises can exacerbate the problem. A physical therapist can provide personalized recommendations, which might include planks, stretching, gentle cardio, and other tips to support the overall structure of your body.
- Medications: When the pain is intense, then medication can provide immediate relief to dull the discomfort. Talk to your doctor about over-the-counter medications such as NSAIDs or acetaminophen. For severe back pain, prescription medications can sometimes be used. But you need to be careful to avoid dependence on these pain relievers. Medication should be used as a short-term strategy until you can address the root problem.
Poor Posture Through The Day
Do you slouch while working at your desk? Slouching results in a tilt of your pelvis, which has a direct impact on the curvature of your spine. When you repeat poor posture daily, your bodys structure slowly changes and adapts to it, leading to misalignment and pain. If your pelvis is in a neutral position, it is easy for your spine to hold itself upright. Proper sitting posture relieves the back of any pain.3 Try these postural changes to alleviate back pain and avoid it in the future:4
- Sit on a chair with a firm back and move it close to the desk to maintain contact between the chair back and your back. This will also relieve pressure on your back and shoulders and maintain the natural, inward curve of the spine.
- Ensure that the upper back is straight, shoulders are relaxed, and your knees are slightly higher than your hips.
- Keep your feet flat on the floor.
- Avoid sitting for a long time at a stretch. Stand up and move around every one hour to stretch tight muscles and give them a chance to relax.
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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.
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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Common Causes Of Chronic Lower Back Pain
“Chronic lower back pain is less likely to be caused by injury to your muscles and ligaments and more likely to be due to issues with the lumbar disks, nerves, joints or vertebrae,” says Dr. Palmer. “There are several potential causes of chronic pain in the lower back.”
In general, osteoarthritis and degenerative disk disease are the underlying cause of many types of chronic lower back pain. However, lower back pain can also be caused by accident-related trauma and acute stress.
Treatments For Back Pain
More than 85 percent of people with lower back pain improve with minimal treatment in a matter of days. However, if back problems persist, doctors generally prescribe one or more of the following treatments: proper exercise, rest, heat and cold, posture training, weight loss, stress management and relaxation exercises, medication, spinal manipulation and/or surgery. For some back conditions, the doctor may refer you to another specialist such as an orthopedist, rheumatologist, physiatrist, physical or occupational therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist or surgeon.
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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.
What Are Chronic Back Pain Symptoms
Chronic back pain symptoms typically come on gradually and are long-lasting, sticking around for more than six weeks. As we mentioned, chronic pain usually isnt caused by a specific event or injury nor does it just go away or heal itself without medical treatment.
This is different from acute back pain, which usually comes on suddenly and goes away within two to six weeks. And because chronic pain is long-lasting, it often causes you to avoid physical activity or compensate in other ways, which can actually make your pain worse in the long-run.
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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.