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Why Do I Keep Hurting My Lower Back

Take It Slow When Getting Up

How to Fix Your Lower Back Pain for Good

Taking it slow when you get out of bed can be beneficial. You may want to use your arms to sit up slowly before moving your legs off the side of the bed. Once you plant your feet on the ground, shoulder-width apart, you can stand up slowly, using your leg strength instead of your back to help you up.

After carefully standing, you can further relieve tension by reaching your arms up above your head and stretching slowly from side to side.

You Might Feel It Up To 72 Hours

Part of building muscle involves creating slight tears as you burpee, plank, lift, etc. However, the microtrauma associated with this gradual process can sometimes result in pain.

These could last for up to 72 hours after you work out. As Dr. Bortecen explainsespecially if you perform moves that target your lower backthe surrounding tissue could be uncomfortable for a handful of days, but shouldnt cause you any worry.

If you need a little extra TLC, he says that over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs will do the trick.

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Other Types Of Diagnosis

  • A chiropractor will diagnose through touch, or palpation, and a visual examination. Chiropractic is known as a direct approach, with a strong focus on adjusting the spinal joints. A chiropractor may also want to see the results of imaging scans and any blood and urine tests.
  • An osteopath also diagnoses through palpation and visual inspection. Osteopathy involves slow and rhythmic stretching, known as mobilization, pressure or indirect techniques, and manipulation of joints and muscles.
  • A physical therapist focuses on diagnosing problems in the joints and soft tissues of the body.

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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.

Choosing A Mattress That Can Help With Back Pain

The most common reasons for your lower back pain

With the right mattress, you can align your spine and relieve pressure points, which can alleviate or eliminate back pain. Thats why its important to choose a mattress that meets your needs for firmness, comfort, and support. When youre shopping for a bed that can relieve your back pain, consider these points:

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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.

Are Restless Leg Syndrome Multiple Sclerosis Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Plantar Fasciitis Shingles Or Bursitis Related To Sciatica

While all these conditions affect either the spinal cord, nerves, muscles, ligaments or joints and all can cause pain, none are directly related to sciatica. The main causes of these conditions are different. Sciatica only involves the sciatic nerve. That being said, the most similar condition would be carpal tunnel syndrome, which also involves a compression of a nerve.

A final word about sciatica. . . .

Most cases of sciatica do not require surgery. Time and self-care treatment are usually all thats needed. However, if simple self-care treatments do not relieve your pain, see your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider can confirm the cause of your pain, suggest other treatment options and/or refer you to other spine health specialists if needed.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/25/2020.

References

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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.

What Can I Do To Help With The Pain

Why Your Back Hurts When You Plank And How To Take Care Of It
  • Try not to do things that make the pain worse, like sitting for a long time, lifting heavy objects, or bending or twisting.

  • Stick to your normal activities as much as you can. Gentle exercise like walking helps you get better more quickly.

  • Some over-the-counter medicines can help pain or swelling. These include ibuprofen , naproxen , and acetaminophen . Your doctor may give you medicine to help with pain or muscle spasms.

  • Try using heating pads or taking a warm bath or shower.

  • Your doctor can show you some gentle exercises to help stretch your back and make the muscles stronger.

  • A physical therapist, massage therapist, or chiropractor may help with your pain and make you feel better.

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Bad Habits Contribute To Back Pain When Standing Lifestyle Changes Can Help

Parts of your everyday routine may be contributing to the low back pain you experience when standing. These include:

  • Not exercising regularly or doing the wrong exercises
  • Having poor posture which interferes with proper weight distribution
  • Not wearing supportive shoes or, if necessary, orthotics
  • Sleeping on an old or unsupportive mattress
  • Lifting heavy objects or weight-lifting as a form of exercise
  • Being overweight or obese

Some changes are easier to make than others and some require professional assistance. For example, while it may be easy enough to purchase a new mattress, you are probably better off consulting a doctor who understands which type of mattress is best in your particular case. Similarly, purchasing over-the-counter orthotics is rarely wise. Such products should be customized to serve your unique needs.

Analyzing A Range Of Treatments For Low Back Pain

The American College of Physicians , the second-largest physician group in the U.S., recently updated guidelines for the management of low back pain. Its physician researchers combed through hundreds of published studies of non-interventional treatments of back pain, and analyzed the data. Treatments included medicines such as acetaminophen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen), opioids , muscle relaxants, benzodiazepines , antidepressants , anti-seizure medications , and systemic corticosteroids . The analysis also included studies on non-drug treatments including acupuncture, mindfulness-based stress reduction, tai chi, yoga, motor control exercise , progressive relaxation, biofeedback, low-level laser therapy, behavior based therapies, or spinal manipulation for low back pain.

Thats a lot of therapies!

Researchers were interested in studies that measured the effectiveness as well as the harms of all these therapies.

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Exercise And Physical Therapy

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.

When Should I See A Doctor If I Have Lower Back Pain

In 20 Minutes, You

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.

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Arthritis Of The Spine

Arthritis of the spine the slow degeneration of the spinal joints is the most frequent cause of lower back pain. All of us experience wear and tear as we age, and it is normal for your lower back to start acting up as you get older. As the cartilage breaks down between the spinal joints, surrounding tissues may become inflamed. The inflammation and the thinning of cartilage increase friction in the joints, which may cause pain in the lower back.

How Is Sciatica Diagnosed

First, your healthcare provider will review your medical history. Next, theyll ask about your symptoms.

During your physical exam, you will be asked to walk so your healthcare provider can see how your spine carries your weight. You may be asked to walk on your toes and heels to check the strength of your calf muscles. Your provider may also do a straight leg raise test. For this test, youll lie on your back with your legs straight. Your provider will slowly raise each leg and note the point at which your pain begins. This test helps pinpoint the affected nerves and determines if there is a problem with one of your disks. You will also be asked to do other stretches and motions to pinpoint pain and check muscle flexibility and strength.

Depending on what your healthcare provider discovers during your physical exam, imaging and other tests might be done. These may include:

  • Spinal X-rays to look for spinal fractures, disk problems, infections, tumors and bone spurs.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography scans to see detailed images of bone and soft tissues of the back. An MRI can show pressure on a nerve, disk herniation and any arthritic condition that might be pressing on a nerve. MRIs are usually ordered to confirm the diagnosis of sciatica.
  • Nerve conduction velocity studies/electromyography to examine how well electrical impulses travel through the sciatic nerve and the response of muscles.
  • Myelogram to determine if a vertebrae or disk is causing the pain.

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How To Sit On A Chair

To sit on a chair safely:

  • Feel the chair at the back of your legs
  • Brace your tummy muscles
  • Use the arms of the chair to help you stand down
  • If the chair has no arms, push on your thighs for a bit of extra support
  • 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

    Could Lower Back Pain Be Kidney Pain

    How To Fix Lower Back Posture

    It absolutely can. Kidneys are located on the back side of your body and kidney pain can sometimes feel like back pain. The only true way to tell the difference is to visit a doctor who can conduct a thorough examination.

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    What Type Of Doctor Should I See For Back Pain

    This depends on your condition or symptoms. If you have no obvious injury that would explain your pain, you may want to start by seeing a . This is a specialist in physical medicine who can diagnose back pain and determine whether nonsurgical treatments such as physical therapy may help. Depending on those findings, a physiatrist may also refer you to a , doctor or other type of back specialist, , for additional discussion.

    Treatment Options For Acute Lower Back Pain

    Most low back pain is due to muscle strain and spasm and does not require surgery. To treat the pain, medications such as acetaminophen , nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents , gabapentin or pregabalin can be used. NSAIDs suppress inflammation, pain and fever by inhibiting certain inflammation-causing chemicals in the body. Acetaminophen reduces pain and fever, but does not inhibit inflammation. Gabapentin and pregabalin, medications that have been used for antiseizure activity, also have the ability to block pain. Opioids provide pain relief and may at times be prescribed to manage severe back pain. However, opioids have many problems, such as habituation, constipation and lightheadedness, and are avoided when possible and used for the shortest possible duration. Epidural injection is an option if the back pain does not respond to these treatments. Each person is different in terms of response to medication.

    Other nonsurgical treatments for lower back pain include Intradiscal electrothermal therapy , nucleoplasty, and radiofrequency lesioning.

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    Overuse And Repetition Of Everyday Activities

    Every day, the little things we do can have a big impact on the amount of stress we put on our bodies. Examples include:

    • Driving or sitting for long periods of time
    • Repetitive motion activities such as walking, bending over, exercising or typing
    • Lifting both small and heavy objects
    • Sleeping in an odd position or on an old mattress

    How Can I Prevent Low Back Pain

    Lower Back Muscle Pain From Running

    You can prevent low back pain with physical therapy, exercises, and stretching. Supports and back belts do not prevent low back pain.

    Keep in shape, lose weight if you are overweight, and exercise regularly. Being inactive can lead to low back pain. Regular exercise like walking, swimming, or biking is good for your back. These activities put less stress on your back than sitting and standing.

    Don’t lift heavy objects by bending over at the waist. Bend your hips and knees and then squat to pick up the object. Keep your back straight and hold the object close to your body. Don’t twist your body while you are lifting.

    If you have to sit at your desk or drive for a long time, take breaks to stretch.

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    When Is Not Helpful

    Back pain is one of the most common reasons why people visit a health care provider. The good news is that the pain often goes away on its own, and people usually recover in a week or two. Many people want to stay in bed when their back hurts. For many years, getting bed rest was the normal advice. But current studies recommend no bed rest at all and stress that staying in bed longer than 48 hours not only wont help but it may, in fact, actually delay your recovery. Heres why:

    Staying in bed wont help you get better faster.If youre in terrible pain, lying down for a day to help ease the distress may seem like a good idea, but moderating your activities and staying active in a limited way is a more effective way to control your symptoms. Research suggests that if you can find comfortable positions and keep moving, you may not need bed rest at all.Research shows that:

    • Lying down longer than a day or two day isnt helpful for relieving back pain.
    • People can recover more quickly without any bed rest.
    • The sooner you start moving, even a little bit, or return to activities such as walking, the faster you are likely to improve.

    Change Up Your Sleep Position Or Mattress

    Switching to a more supportive sleep position can reduce lower back pain. Also consider how you can use pillows or invest in a new mattress to support better spinal alignment and relieve lower back pain.

    Research suggests medium firm mattresses are the best mattresses for back pain. In one study of people with low back pain, those who slept on medium firm mattresses reported lower pain scores both during sleep and upon getting up in the morning.

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