Lower Back Hurts When Walking Or Standing
Your lower back provides support and stability to your body when youre in an upright position. Each vertebra is separated by a jelly-filled disc that serves as a cushion. These discs can become inflamed when standing for long periods of time. They can also experience wear and tear with age. Standing or walking for extended periods of time may aggravate this inflammation, resulting in pain.
Can Further Bouts Of Back Pain Be Prevented
Evidence suggests that the best way to prevent bouts of low back pain is simply to keep active and to exercise regularly. This means general fitness exercise such as walking, running, swimming, etc. There is no firm evidence to say that any particular back strengthening exercises are more useful to prevent back pain than simply keeping fit and active. It is also sensible to be back-aware. For example, do not lift objects when you are in an awkward twisting posture.
Solving Your Back Pain Problems
Luckily, there are a few simple fixes for back pain caused by sleep, with only a few minor adjustments to your usual sleeping position. More often than not, people with chronic back pain find that a modified back position is the best for pain-free sleep.
Thats because you can easily support your spine and neck and put even amounts of stress on both sides of your body.
The first step is to use a thin pillow, or even a folded towel, instead of a stack of pillows that over-elevates your head. This reduces strain on your neck. Then, place another pillow under your knees. This eases some of the strain on your lower back.
If you have trouble sleeping on your back, there are other options for avoiding back pain. If you prefer sleeping on your stomach, for example, placing a thin pillow under your hips can reduce pressure on your spine.
Likewise, if you prefer to sleep on your side in the fetal position, putting a pillow between your knees ensures that one side of your hip is not being pulled down.
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What Can I Do For Low Back Pain At Home
If your lower back pain has just started, the best thing you can do is start a log. Record your symptoms, times, dates and which activities trigger the pain or make it worse or better. Take this information to your family physician if the pain doesnt resolve on its own. It will make diagnosing the cause much easier.
Once you know which motion or position causes your lower back pain, try to avoid it and see if you get better. Icing the painful spot can also help. And so can over-the-counter pain relievers that help reduce inflammation. Just remember that pain killers treat only the symptom pain and not its cause.
Overdoing Exercise The Day Before
Regular exercise can help strengthen the back and reduce back pain. However, overdoing it at the gym or while playing sports can lead to morning back pain and stiffness.
It is important for a person to pay attention to their posture during and after any intense physical activity. Properly warming up and cooling down can also help reduce back pain and muscle stiffness the following day.
The following can help alleviate symptoms of exercise-related back pain:
- applying hot or cold packs to the affected area
- taking OTC anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen
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Consider Your Sleep Environment And Position
Did you know that poor sleep can affect your back, especially if you have the wrong mattress or if you have the wrong pillows? So, it’s a good idea now and again just to check. When did you change your mattress? They say you should buy a new one roughly every eight years.
What about your pillow? Is it too flat? Are you using too many pillows? Because either a pillow too flat or too many pillows will affect your neck and that can, again, cause problems lower down the back, too.
Some people tend to sleep on their stomachs and again, that can be quite bad. It puts your back in an unnatural position. If you need help finding the best sleep position have a look at our Muscles and Joints advisor Earle’s article ‘How to sleep better for back pain‘ lots of great tips.
What Research Is Being Done
The mission of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke is to seek fundamental knowledge of the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease. NINDS is a component of the National Institutes of Health , the leading supporter of biomedical research in the world.
As a primary supporter of research on pain and pain mechanisms, NINDS is a member of the NIH Pain Consortium, which was established to promote collaboration among the many NIH Institutes and Centers with research programs and activities addressing pain. On an even broader scale, NIH participates in the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee, a federal advisory committee that coordinates research across other U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agencies as well as the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.
When To Seek Medical Attention For Back Pain
Most episodes of lower back pain eventually resolve on their own, but there are times when you should seek urgent medical attention. Some of these situations include:
Patient is a child
Weakness, numbness and/or tingling sensations develop in the legs and/or feet
Loss of bladder or bowel control
Pain is severe, constant, suddenly or progressively worsens, and/or doesnt go away
Pain interrupts sleep
While some situations may warrant immediate intervention, most cases are not urgent and can be scheduled at a time convenient for the patient.
Lack Of Rib Cage Mobility
When it comes to flexibility and mobility, we may not consider the rib cage as being an important region of our body that needs free range of motion. However, according to Light, If the rib cage cannot expand enough during breathing, our upper backs and neck will become engaged and try to open up the rib cage. This is usually a futile effort and, at best, you will have tension and cramps . In order to avoid this, Light suggests stretching out your lats and doing more single leg and single arm exercises.
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Got Back Pain When Sleeping Heres How To Fix It
One of those unfortunate signs of getting older is waking up stiff and sore. If you typically experience back pain from sleeping funny or even when sleeping in what should be a comfortable bed, there are things you can do ensure that you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to start the day, not in pain and searching for an ice pack.
When To Call A Doctor
Consult your doctor if you have back pain thats intense, worrisome, or that doesnt go away with self-care measures. Its also important to call your doctor if your lower back pain is making it hard for you to go about your daily activities.
Most cases of lower back pain on the right side are not medical emergencies. However, dont hesitate to get immediate medical help if you experience back pain thats accompanied by any of the following symptoms:
- loss of bladder or bowel function
- sudden, severe pain
- weakness or loss of sensation in your lower body
- pain accompanied by fever, clammy skin, a rapid heart rate, nausea, vomiting, or any other concerning symptoms
The appropriate treatment for lower back pain emergencies depends on the cause. If the source of the pain isnt obvious, you may need one or more of the following screenings to determine the right course of action:
- an MRI to check your spinal cord, nerve roots, and other soft tissue
- an X-ray to look at your spine and other joints for signs of fracture or other concerns
- blood tests to check for markers of inflammation
If nerve or muscle problems are the cause of lower back on the right, epidural injections of corticosteroids may be necessary if the pain and loss of mobility and function are severe.
If appendicitis is diagnosed and it cant be managed by antibiotics, then emergency surgery to remove the appendix may be necessary.
- nerve compression in your spine
- disc degeneration
- an abdominal aortic aneurysm
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Herniated Disk In The Lower Back
A herniated, ruptured, or “slipped” disc means that a vertebral disc one of the soft pads of tissue that sit between each of the vertebral bones has becomes squeezed out of shape. Its cushioning material has been forced against, and possibly through, the ring of fibrous tissue that normally contains it. This causes pain, numbness, and weakness in the legs.
The normal aging process causes the discs lose moisture and become thinner, making them more vulnerable to “slipping.”
Most susceptible are men from ages 30 to 50. Smoking, obesity, lack of exercise, and improper lifting are also risk factors.
Symptoms include pain, weakness, numbness, and tingling in the back, leg, and foot.
Diagnosis is made through patient history, neurological examination, and MRI scan.
Treatment begins with rest, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy, and sometimes epidural steroid injections into the back to ease pain and inflammation.
Surgery to remove the herniated part of the disc the part that was squeezed out of place can also be helpful.
Top Symptoms: lower back pain, moderate back pain, back pain that shoots down the leg, back pain that gets worse when sitting, leg weakness
Urgency: Primary care doctor
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.
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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 Is Back Pain Treated
Acute back pain usually gets better on its own. Acute back pain is usually treated with:
- Medications designed to relieve pain and/or inflammation
- analgesics such as acetaminophen and aspirin
- non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen may be sold over the counter some NSAIDS are prescribed by a physician
- muscle relaxants are prescription drugs that are used on a short-term basis to relax tight muscles
- topical pain relief such as creams, gels, patches, or sprays applied to the skin stimulate the nerves in the skin to provide feelings of warmth or cold in order to dull the sensation of pain. Common topical medications include capsaicin and lidocaine.
Exercising, bed rest, and surgery are typically not recommended for acute back pain.Chronic back pain is most often treated with a stepped care approach, moving from simple low-cost treatments to more aggressive approaches. Specific treatments may depend on the identified cause of the back pain.
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Is It Because Of Something I Did
Falling down, getting into a car accident, or even overdoing it in that pick-up game over the weekend can cause problems you feel in your lower back, like:
Spine/vertebral fractures: Your back may have a broken bone if it gets hit hard or you fall from a great height.
Sprains and strains: Lifting and twisting at the same time, or swinging a golf club, can pull or tear the ligaments, muscles, and tendons in your back.
Spasms: These are muscle contractions, and they hurt. They generally happen when you sprain or strain your lower back.
Injections And Other Procedures
If you have severe sciatica, your doctor may suggest an epidural injection. Epidural injections contain a local anaesthetic and steroid to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Theyre only recommended for sciatica and not non-specific lower back pain.
If your back pain is chronic and other treatments havent helped, your doctor may suggest a procedure called radiofrequency denervation. Its only suitable for certain types of back pain. Your doctor will refer you to a specialist to assess whether it would help you.
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What To Do About Severe Lower Back Pain
If you have severe back pain, connect with a doctor as soon as possible.
You may discuss diagnostic tests if a healthcare professional hasnt already identified the cause of your back pain. After you receive a diagnosis from the doctor, youll discuss treatment options.
If your lower back pain is accompanied by a loss of bowel or bladder control, or progressive neurological loss, seek immediate medical attention. You might need emergency surgery.
There are many ways to prevent lower back pain. Taking these measures may help prevent pain altogether or lessen the severity of your symptoms if you manage to get injured.
Prevention may involve:
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.
Learn More: Other reasons to see a primary care provider
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Home Remedies For Lower Back Pain When Sitting
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:
S To Stop Your Back Pain Coming Back
- Identify the true duration of your back problem
Be honest with yourself, episodes of back pain can come with differing symptoms which often catches people out, for example, a previous episode was localised to the low back, but this one has pain down the leg . This is a great example where people FALSELY believe the two to be separate and different, they arent. How long has this issue been recurring and this gives you a good idea of the scale of the problem, it also helps you more appropriately set your expectations.
- Evaluate your daily tasks accurately & critically
Your productive practices will make up often a fraction 1/15th of your waking hours every day. Your daily activities are things which are so easily overlooked that have a huge impact on your recovery. In many cases you can make small changes here that have a significant and positive impact to your long term recovery. Conversely if you do not make changes, you have a huge variety of culprits driving your lower back right towards another relapse.
- Pick a program that has short and long term strategies
Rome wasnt built in a day and your back pain wasnt either, take your time, progress at your own pace. Embrace the challenges you find along the way, it is in the overcoming of these challenges that true improvement is locked in. Fixing back pain is not difficult, its not rocket science, but it demands consistent effort and diligence to be applied.
When To See A Doctor
There is not always an obvious cause of lower back pain, and it often gets better on its own. Resting, trying hot or cold therapy, taking OTC pain relievers, and gently stretching may help speed up recovery.
However, a person should see a doctor for lower back pain that is severe, does not seem to be getting better, or occurs alongside other concerning symptoms, such as tingling or numbness down the legs.
People with lower back pain should seek immediate medical attention if they also have any of the following symptoms:
- difficulty walking or moving the legs
- loss of bowel or bladder function
- loss of sensation in the legs
- very severe pain
A doctor can help a person identify potential causes of lower back pain and recommend appropriate treatment.