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.
What Does It Mean If Lower Back Pain Is Shooting Into Legs
Lower back pain can radiate to other parts of the body: up or down from its place of origin. Sometimes lower back pain can be on one side of the back, which is also normal.
If the pain is shooting from the lower back into one or both legs, it could be sciatica , but its not always the case. There are many parts in the lower back that may cause the pain to radiate into the legs, such as facet joints, sacroiliac joints, muscles or inflammation of the bursa.
Why Does My Back Hurt When I Walk
The spine fulfills two important roles in how the body works: its flexible to allow a wide range of movement, but its also the central support column that holds up the body. This means that it can be subjected to a significant amount of strain from daily activities, with some actions being more stressful than others.
Your spine is also the main pathway of your nervous system, so any pain around your back can be significantly more painful than other parts of your body. And since your spine acts as your bodys primary support, any pain or discomfort it experiences can start a cascade of problems.
Additional weight, poor posture, and lifestyle habits are some primary reasons patients develop back pain. These factors put significant stress on your spine in areas where its not built to handle it, which results in acute back pain when you walk. Even your general health affects how your lower back can hold up to pressure: osteoporosis, smoking, and diabetes are all health conditions that can affect your spine.
Another factor to consider is your sleeping position. Because your spine is built to flex and it follows a normal curvature the wrong sleeping position can cause your joints to freeze or twist unnaturally. If you experience a lot of back pain after waking up, your sleeping position may be the cause.
Also Check: How To Ease Lower Back Pain At Home
How To Get Rid Of Back Pain From Standing
Standing up all day can be a killer for your back, but it doesn’t have to leave you in pain.
Because by making a few small adjustments and getting into some good habits you can take the pressure off your back and stand more comfortably.
And there are plenty of things to try such as:
- Maintaining a good standing posture.
- Taking microbreaks every hour.
- Using shoe inserts.
- Standing on a sloped surface .
So try to implement a few of them into your daily routine and see if it helps you.
How Common Is Lower Back Pain
Around four out of five people have lower back pain at some point in their lives. Its one of the most common reasons people visit healthcare providers.
Some people are more likely to have lower back pain than others. Risk factors for lower back pain include:
- Age: People over 30 have more back pain. Disks wear away with age. As the disks weaken and wear down, pain and stiffness can result.
- Weight: People who are obese or carry extra weight are more likely to have back pain. Excess weight puts pressure on joints and disks.
- Overall health: Weakened abdominal muscles cant support the spine, which can lead to back strains and sprains. People who smoke, drink alcohol excessively or live a sedentary lifestyle have a higher risk of back pain.
- Occupation and lifestyle: Jobs and activities that require heavy lifting or bending can increase the risk of a back injury.
- Structural problems: Severe back pain can result from conditions, such as scoliosis, that change spine alignment.
- Disease: People who have a family history of osteoarthritis, certain types of cancer and other disease have a higher risk of low back pain.
- Mental health: Back pain can result from depression and anxiety.
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Mechanical Low Back Pain With Sciatica
Sciatica is a general term describing any shooting leg pain that begins at the spine and travels down the outside of the leg. It is also called pinched nerve, lumbar radiculopathy, sciatic neuralgia, sciatic neuritis, or sciatic neuropathy.
By far the most common cause is a herniated or “slipped” disc in the lower spine. This means some of the cushioning material inside the disc has been forced outward and is pressing on a nerve root. Spasms of the piriformis muscle around the sciatic nerve, as well as the narrowing of the spinal canal called spinal stenosis, can also cause sciatica.
Symptoms include shooting leg pain that begins suddenly or develops gradually. There may be weakness, numbness, and a pins-and-needles sensation. In severe cases, there may be difficulty moving the foot or bending the knee.
Diagnosis is made through patient history, physical examination, and simple leg-raise tests.
Treatment involves physical therapy, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and muscle relaxants. In some cases, corticosteroid spinal injections and surgery may be tried. Massage and acupuncture are also sometimes helpful.
Diagnosing Lower Back Pain
To diagnose lower back pain, a doctor will first do a physical exam. Theyll look at how well you move and if your back has any visible issues.
Then theyll take a medical history. This will cover your symptoms, any recent injuries, previous back issues, and the severity of your pain.
A physical exam and medical history are often enough for a doctor to determine the cause of your pain. However, they may also need to do an imaging test. Potential tests include:
- X-ray, which can find broken or misaligned bones.
- CT scan, which shows soft tissues such as the discs between vertebrae and potential tumors
- myelogram, which uses dye to enhance the contrast in a CT scan or X-ray to help a doctor identify nerve or spinal cord compression
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Low Back Pain Fact Sheet
If you have had lower back pain, you are not alone. Back pain is one of most common reasons people see a doctor or miss days at work. Even school-age children can have back pain.
Back pain can range in intensity from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp or shooting pain. It can begin suddenly as a result of an accident or by lifting something heavy, or it can develop over time as we age. Getting too little exercise followed by a strenuous workout also can cause back pain.
There are two types of back pain:
- Acute, or short-term back pain lasts a few days to a few weeks. Most low back pain is acute. It tends to resolve on its own within a few days with self-care and there is no residual loss of function. In some cases a few months are required for the symptoms to disappear.
- Chronic back pain is defined as pain that continues for 12 weeks or longer, even after an initial injury or underlying cause of acute low back pain has been treated. About 20 percent of people affected by acute low back pain develop chronic low back pain with persistent symptoms at one year. Even if pain persists, it does not always mean there is a medically serious underlying cause or one that can be easily identified and treated. In some cases, treatment successfully relieves chronic low back pain, but in other cases pain continues despite medical and surgical treatment.
Back Sprains Or Strains
A back strain occurs when ligaments or muscles in the back tear due to intense physical stress on the back . Ligaments help hold spinal bones together, while muscles provide support for the spine. Although a muscle or ligament may become strained, a back sprain refers to a painful injury that develops if a ligament is stretched in an abnormal manner. Both types of injuries may cause extreme lower back pain, and in some cases, it may be hard to distinguish a strain from a sprain.
Strains and sprains are quite common, especially in people who engage in forceful, repetitive movements or who perform a lot of lifting, twisting, and bending. However, inactive individuals who rarely exercise are also prone to back strains or sprains because muscles and ligaments that are not used regularly become weak. Accordingly, when a person who lives a sedentary life decides to do a strenuous activity such as move furniture or lift heavy weights, a sudden back injury may occur.
The symptoms of a back sprain or strain include sharp pain in the lower back that may be localized to one side. The pain may also make it hard to bend over or stand up completely straight. In addition, occasional muscle spasms may develop during movement or even while sleeping. Spasms can create hard, painful knots in the back.
Also Check: How To Heal Severe Lower Back Pain
Stretches To Relieve Lower Back Pain
Another way to help prevent and even relieve back pain due to standing around on the job is by stretching. Stretches help loosen muscles, thus helping you get rid of existing back pain. However, it can also help prevent future back pain by improving your movement and increasing your backs resilience and strength, which can lower your risk of a back injury.
Although the following stretches can be done at work if there is a space for that, you may feel more comfortable doing them at home:
- Prayer Stretch: Also called the childs pose, this popular stretch has you tucking your legs underneath yourself and sitting on your heels while bending forward at the waist. Extend your arms in front of you laying your palms flat on the floor and hold for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat three to five times.
- Knee to Chest Stretch: Lie flat on your back with your legs fully extended. Place your hands behind your knee and pull your leg toward your chest. You can also place your hands on top of your knee or shin. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds then switch legs. Repeat three to five times.
- Pelvic Tilt: Lie flat on your back with your knees bent. You can either lay your arms beside you or put your hands behind your head. Tighten your abdominal muscles while pushing the small of your back flat against the ground. Hold this ab contraction for ten seconds, and repeat 10 to 20 times.
Who Should I See For Lower Back Pain
Your primary care physician knows you best and should be your first contact for lower back pain. If he or she is unable to diagnose or treat the issue, you may get referred to a specialist, such as a rehabilitation physician . These specialists practice a comprehensive approach to lower back pain, and can diagnose and treat a variety of conditions that have lower back pain as a symptom.
Later, you may get referred to a physical therapist, a chiropractor or another practitioner depending on the nature of your back pain. The good news is that surgery is rarely needed for lower back pain. Only about one in ten patients needs lower back surgery, Chhatre says.
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What Are The Treatments For Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain usually gets better with rest, ice and over-the-counter pain relievers. After a few days of rest, you can start to get back to your normal activities. Staying active increases blood flow to the area and helps you heal.
Other treatments for lower back pain depend on the cause. They include:
- Medications: Your provider may recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or prescription drugs to relieve pain. Other medications relax muscles and prevent back spasms.
- Physical therapy : PT can strengthen muscles so they can support your spine. PT also improves flexibility and helps you avoid another injury.
- Hands-on manipulation: Several hands-on treatments can relax tight muscles, reduce pain and improve posture and alignment. Depending on the cause of pain, you may need osteopathic manipulation or chiropractic adjustments. Massage therapy can also help with back pain relief and restore function.
- Injections: Your provider uses a needle to inject medication into the area thats causing pain. Steroid injections relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
- Surgery: Some injuries and conditions need surgical repair. There are several types of surgery for low back pain, including many minimally invasive techniques.
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
Read Also: How Should I Sleep If My Lower Back Hurts
How To Get Up From The Floor
To get up safely from lying face down:
Question: I Get Lower Back Pain When I Stand For More Than About 10 Minutes If I Sit Down It Tends To Feel Better Is There Anything That I Can Do Besides Sitting Down To Help My Back
Prolonged standing can result in relying on a posture that tilts the pelvis forward. For some, this anterior tilt can result in some lower back pain, and for others, its no big deal.
Over time, this posture can alter the way you breathe and limit your ability toutilize your abdominal muscles and exhale as you normally would. For some people, this limits how much they can move their back and may result in prolonged pressure or muscle tension in areas of your back that may become painful.
Try this exercise to help restore your movement options for your back and your breathing as well.
Recommended Reading: Why Is Lower Back Hurting
How Is Low Back Pain Diagnosed
A complete medical history and physical exam can usually identify any serious conditions that may be causing the pain. Neurologic tests can help determine the cause of pain and appropriate treatment. Imaging tests are not needed in most cases but may be ordered to rule out specific causes of pain, including tumors and spinal stenosis. Occasionally the cause of chronic lower back pain is difficult to determine even after a thorough examination.
Blood tests are not routinely used to diagnose the cause of back pain but might be ordered to look for signs of inflammation, infection, cancer, and/or arthritis.
Bone scans can detect and monitor an infection, fracture, or bone disorder. A small amount of radioactive material is injected into the bloodstream and collects in the bones, particularly in areas with some abnormality. Scanner-generated images can identify specific areas of irregular bone metabolism or abnormal blood flow, as well as to measure levels of joint disease.
Discography involves injecting a contrast dye into a spinal disc thought to be causing low back pain. The fluids pressure in the disc will reproduce the persons symptoms if the disc is the cause. The dye helps to show the damaged areas on CT scans taken following the injection.
Electrodiagnostics can identify problems related to the nerves in the back and legs. The procedures include:
How Should I Stand With Back Pain
Many people experience more low back pain with sitting than while standing. But, if you are one of the people who have more pain in standing, here are some tips to try:
- Stand for shorter periods of time.
- Try placing one foot on a step. This limits excessive spine curvature in standing.
- Avoid high heels!! Heels force the lower spine into increase curvature and can compress the facet joints.
- Consider a work station that adjusts from sitting to standing.
Read Also: How To Prevent Lower Back Pain When Running
Tips For Avoiding Back Pain From Standing At Work
Prolonged standing puts pressure on the muscle groups stabilizing the lower spine and hips. According to the OSHA Back Injury Instructor Guide, low back pain that develops for any reason usually involves spasms of the large muscles alongside the spine. Symptoms include muscle pain or discomfort in the back, leg pain, swelling, and tiredness. Your back may hurt while standing, and you might experience pain when standing up or sitting down.
Standing for hours can lead to inflammation of the veins and cause joints in the spine, hips, knees and feet to become immobilized. The immobility can cause pain now but also lead to degenerative damage to the ligaments and tendons.
Following are some tips for standing for long periods of time that may help you find relief if you experience lower back pain when standing still.
- Take a break from standing by sitting down at intervals throughout the day
- Use an adjustable height work table so your work is kept at waist level
- Use anti-fatigue floor mats but not thick rubber mats that are too soft
- Wear supportive shoes or shoe inserts that keep feet in a neutral position
- Change work positions by periodically placing a foot on a footrest while standing
- Use good body posture
If work permits and you experience lower back pain from standing too long, ask your employer for a sit-stand workstation.