Mechanical Lower Back Pain
Because it represents 97% of cases, mechanical low back pain deserves to be discussed first. To determine the factors that bring out the pain, the doctor will consider the following causes of mechanical low back pain:
- Spondylolisthesis .
- Osteoarthritis .
- Spinal stenosis .
Low back pain that gets worse with sitting may indicate a herniated lumbar disc . This is because certain positions of the body can change the amount of pressure that an out-of-place disc can press on a nerve. This is one reason we suggest to people with low back pain to periodically get up and stretch or walk around rather than continually stay sitting. Acute onset, that is, pain that comes on suddenly, may suggest a herniated disc or a muscle strain, as opposed to a more gradual onset of pain, which fits more with osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, or spondylolisthesis.
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.
Can Hunger Make Your Back Hurt
Back pain can be caused by poor posture, as well as digestive conditions. Foods with low inflammatory properties can help relieve the pain. Try to eat a well-balanced diet with appropriate protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Also, drink plenty of water. Dehydration can cause the body to lose essential nutrients.
Back pain usually comes from musculoskeletal and neurological problems. While some people experience back pain during the late hours of the day, it is often not related to a lack of food. Some people may experience stomach pain, heartburn, or abdominal ache, but this is not a universal symptom. Back pain can also occur in other parts of the back, including the shoulder blades. Regardless of the cause, it is important to consult your doctor to make sure it is not something serious.
If youve been hungry for more than three hours, the pain may be related to your eating habits. If you havent eaten since breakfast, youre probably cranky and prone to feeling pain more acutely. A recent study showed that people who are hungry are more sensitive to pain, indicating that food deprivation may be a contributing factor.
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Forward Head And Neck
If youre wondering what muscles cause neck pain, these are some of the culprits. Forward head posture and shoulders rounded forward are common signs of this set of muscle imbalances.
For every inch your head moves forward out of alignment from your shoulders, your neck effectively carries an additional ten pounds of weight. Forward head and neck postural dysfunction is a frequent cause of neck and upper back pain, not to mention headaches, shoulder pain and more.
What Tight Muscles Cause Bad Posture
Rounded shoulders are usually one of the first indications of poor posture and some muscular imbalance in that area. Oftentimes, this will suggest that the chest, or pectoral muscles, and the biceps are tight. Shoulders that are rounded forward towards the front of the body shorten these muscles, causing tightness.
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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
How Is Low Back Pain Diagnosed
Your doctor will likely begin by requesting a complete medical history and conducting a thorough physical examination to determine where youre feeling the pain. A physical exam can also determine if pain is affecting your range of motion.
Your doctor may also check your reflexes and your responses to certain sensations. This determines if your low back pain is affecting your nerves.
Unless you have concerning or debilitating symptoms or neurologic loss, your doctor will probably monitor your condition for a few weeks before sending you for testing. This is because most low back pain resolves using simple self-care treatments.
Certain symptoms require more testing, including:
- lack of bowel control
Likewise, if your low back pain continues after home treatment, your doctor may want to order additional tests.
Seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of these symptoms in addition to low back pain.
- problems with the ligaments and tendons in your back
If your doctor suspects a problem with the strength of the bones in your back, they may order a bone scan or bone density test. Electromyography or nerve conduction tests can help identify any problems with your nerves.
The Healthline FindCare tool can provide options in your area if you need help finding a doctor.
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Why Is Lower Back Pain Such A Common Problem
The bottom part of your back typically has just five vertebrae fewer than your neck and mid-back. And these vertebrae do a lot of heavy lifting! Your lower back is where your spine connects to your pelvis, bearing the weight of your upper body. This area experiences a lot of movement and stress, which may lead to wear, tear and injuries.
How Your Back Works
The spine, which is also called the backbone or spinal column, is one of the strongest parts of the body and gives us a great deal of flexibility and strength.
Its made up of 24 bones, known as vertebrae, one sitting on top of the other. These bones have discs in between and lots of strong ligaments and muscles around them for support. There are also the bones in the tailbone at the bottom of the back, which are fused together and have no discs in between.
On either side of the spine, running from top to bottom, are many small joints called the facet joints.
The spinal cord passes inside the vertebrae, which protect it.
The spinal cord connects to the brain through the base of the skull and to the rest of the body by nerves that pass through spaces between the bones of the spine. These nerves are also known as nerve roots.
As you grow older, the structures of your spine, such as the joints, discs and ligaments, age as well. The structures remain strong but its usual for your back to get stiffer as you get older.
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What Are The Causes Of Lower Back Pain
The vast majority of patients experience back pain because of mechanical reasons. They strain a muscle from heavy lifting or twisting, suffer a sudden jolt in a car accident, experience stress on spinal bones and tissues resulting in a , or suffer from osteoarthritis, a potentially painful degeneration of one or more spinal joints. Common causes for low back pain are:
- mechanical or functional injury
- active infection
To choose the safest and most effective therapy, doctors need to consider the full spectrum of possible underlying issues, such as inflammatory conditions, fracture, infection, as well as some serious conditions unrelated to the back that radiate pain to the back.
Why Do I Have Tight Muscles In My Legs And How Do I Ease It
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Youâre in the middle of your training session and your clientâs leg muscles tighten up. Or maybe theyâve skipped their workout altogether. The tightness in their legs was just too much. Getting to the root cause of your clientâs leg muscle tension is critical to getting them in the gym. Easing the tightness is the next step. Letâs start with some of the reasons people experience tight leg muscles.
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Causes Of Chronic Lower Back Pain
Pain is considered chronic once it lasts for more than three months and exceeds the bodys natural healing process. Chronic pain in the low back often involves a disc problem, a joint problem, and/or an irritated nerve root. Common causes include:
Lumbar herniated disc. The jelly-like center of a lumbar disc can break through the tough outer layer and irritate a nearby nerve root. The herniated portion of the disc is full of proteins that cause inflammation when they reach a nerve root, and inflammation, as well as nerve compression, cause nerve root pain. The disc wall is also richly supplied by nerve fibers, and a tear through the wall can cause severe pain.
Degenerative disc disease. At birth, intervertebral discs are full of water and at their healthiest. As people age over time, discs lose hydration and wear down. As the disc loses hydration, it cannot resist forces as well, and transfers force to the disc wall that may develop tears and cause pain or weakening that can lead to a herniation. The disc can also collapse and contribute to stenosis.
Facet joint dysfunction. There are two facet joints behind each disc at each motion segment in the lumbar spine. These joints have cartilage between the bones and are surrounded by a capsular ligament, which is richly innervated by nerves. These joints can be painful by themselves, or in conjunction with disc pain.
Remedies To Relieve Lower Back Pain Fast
We all want to know the best way to relieve lower back pain fast. At best, backache can be frustrating, perhaps draining. At its worst, this kind of discomfort can be utterly debilitating. If you have ever awakened with a terrible backache, you may have also learned how quickly such an ailment can derail your day, your week, or even several months or years.
Fortunately, there are remedies to combat that ache. From exercising to getting better sleep to reducing your stress levels, you can choose from a variety of strategies. The next time you have a backache , consider the following methods of back pain relief. Remember to discuss at-home back pain remedies with your doctor before you make use of them.
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Why Do I Have Tight Muscles Elsewhere In My Body
Muscle tightness isnât just experienced in the legs. Sometimes it is felt in the back muscles. Other times it is in the upper body, such as in the arm or chest muscles.
Some of the causes may be the same. Lack of movement, overtraining, and accident or injury can all lead to tight muscles. The key is to get at the root cause so you can develop an effective plan to reduce the tension and pain.
If youâve tried stretches, massage, foam rolling, or other techniques and the muscles wonât relax, additional health professionals should be consulted. A physical therapist may be able to achieve some type of relief. If physical therapy doesnât work, a doctorâs visit may be necessary to get to the root cause. Once the cause is identified, a treatment plan can be created.
Itâs also possible that a movement dysfunction may be to blame. The ISSAâs Corrective Exercise certification course covers how this type of issue can lead to low back or knee pain. It also teaches you how to help clients overcome these issues with a corrective exercise regimen.
What Can Be Done About It
Once properly assessed, muscle imbalances and postural dysfunctions are fairly easy to correct. Generally we focus on three main areas:
- Mobilising joints and releasing short, tight muscles and soft tissues
- Strengthening the longer, weaker muscles to correct the bodys alignment and movement control
- Identifying and changing the lifestyle and working factors that are contributing to the underlying problem
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When To See A Specialist For Lower Back Pain
If you’re experiencing lower back pain that’s not responding to rest and self-care, it’s time to consider seeing a spine specialist.
“A spine specialist will likely perform a physical exam as well as one or more imaging scans to diagnose the root cause of your lower back pain. Depending on your diagnosis, he or she will then design a treatment plan aimed at alleviating your pain and preventing it from disrupting the everyday activities you enjoy,” says Dr. Palmer.
How Long Should Lower Back Pain Last
Acute episodes of lower back pain usually last from a few days to 4 weeks and subacute lower back pain lasts between 4 to 12 weeks. However, according to the National Institutes of Health, about 20 percent of people with acute back pain go on to develop chronic back paindefined as pain that lasts 12 weeks or longer.
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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.
How Do I Stop My Lower Back From Hurting When I Walk
Making sure that you are holding yourself in good posture as you walk is one way to help reduce your lower back pain. This helps to properly engage your core and use the stronger muscles in your legs and hips to propel you forward with each step.
Some other ideas include doing various exercises to stretch and strengthen your muscles, as well as other corrective exercises that address potential muscle imbalances causing misalignment of the lower back and pelvis. This could include using muscle release techniques for muscles in the hip flexors and also the lower back.
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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 Is The Outlook For People With Lower Back Pain
The outlook depends on the cause of pain. Most people with back strains and sprains recover and do not have long-term health issues. But many people will have another episode within a year.
Some people have chronic back pain that doesnt get better after several weeks. Older people with degenerative conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis may have symptoms that get worse over time. Surgery and other treatments are effective at helping people with a range of injuries and conditions live pain-free.
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Treating A Pulled Back Muscle In 8 Steps
No matter where a pulled muscle is in the body, the steps to treat it are generally the same. However, its important to talk to a medical professional before treating an injury because symptoms of other injuries, such as disc problems or a broken bone, may resemble strains and sprains. After talking to a professional, try the following steps:3
Apply cold. Cold helps reduce inflammation, which is the primary source of pain in the first few days. The faster you can apply cold to a pulled back muscle, the faster you may reduce pain, help control swelling, and start the healing process. Apply a cold pack for 15-20 minutes as soon as the injury occurs. Take a break of at least 20 minutes between each cold application.
Use compression. Applying compression bandages or using an active compression system may help reduce swelling and edema so the damaged tissues can repair themselves more quickly.
Rest. Right after a muscle strain, it is important to limit your activity level and avoid movements that increase pain. After the initial pain subsides, returning to previous level of activity may help prevent the muscles from growing weak.
Stretch. According to Kojo Hamilton, MD, as you return to activity, gentle stretching exercises may improve tissue healing by bringing more blood flow to the injured area. Applying heat to the area prior to stretching may also be beneficial. Ask a doctor about the right stretches for your condition.