How Excess Belly Fat Places Stress On Lower Back Muscles
A protruding midsection and lack of strong, flexible muscles can be manifested in what I call the paper clip syndrome.
Heres how it works: a person walks into a room and sees a paper clip on the floor. He bends to retrieve it and his lower back explodes in pain. A paper clip is used to signify that no heavy lifting was involved and the only event was bending over. The key is, the person was poised for disaster and all that was required was a minor effort to trigger it.
Excess belly fat places considerable and relentless stress on the lower back muscles. Why? The bodys anatomy and upright posture results in a natural tendency to lean forward, and its the job of lower back muscles to resist the forward lean and keep the body upright. Thus, even under the best conditions, the lower back muscles are constantly being challenged.
A protruding midsection adds to the challenge because additional weight in the front of the body pulls it forward, and the lower back muscles must work harder to keep the body upright.
Whats more, leverage works against the lower back muscles. An increase in abdominal fat of just a few pounds can exert a stress of many times that amount on the lower back muscles to keep the body upright.
What Are The Symptoms Of Lumbar Strain
. Each person’s symptoms may be different. Symptoms may include:
- Sudden lower back pain
- Spasms in the lower back that result in more severe pain
- Lower back feels sore to the touch
Some of these symptoms may be caused by other health problems. Always talk with your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
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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Living With Lumbar Strain
Cold reduces swelling. Both cold and heat can reduce pain. Protect your skin by placing a towel between your body and the ice or heat source.
- For the first few days, apply an ice pack for 15 to 20 minutes.
- After the first few days, try heat for 15 minutes at a time to ease pain. Never sleep on a heating pad.
- Over-the-counter medicines can help control pain and swelling. Try aspirin or ibuprofen.
When To See A Healthcare Provider
Back pain and swelling in the feet and legs that have not improved after one month warrants a visit with your healthcare provider to help determine the underlying cause. Having both symptoms at the same time without an injury to either your back, legs, or feet may indicate an underlying condition that needs to be treated.
If you exhibit significant pain, redness, warmth, and swelling in your legs, or experience fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, you should seek immediate medical attention as these are signs of an infection.
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Varicose Veins And Chronic Vein Insufficiency
Varicose veins, also called spider veins, are enlarged, twisted veins that mostly occur in the lower legs. Varicose veins result from increased blood pressure and weakening of blood vessel walls and valves of the affected veins. They are more common in people of older age, female sex, and those with a family history of chronic venous insufficiency.
Varicose veins are also more likely to develop after prolonged standing and with other conditions such as obesity, pregnancy, chronic constipation, or tumors. Varicose veins often cause leg aches and pains, and swelling in the feet and legs, from insufficient blood flow from the legs back to the heart.
While varicose veins do not directly cause lower back pain, it can develop from conditions like obesity and pregnancy that increase the risk of developing varicose veins.
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.
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Symptoms That Require Immediate Attention
Sometimes low back pain can signal a serious underlying medical condition. People who experience any of the following symptoms are advised to seek immediate care.
- Loss of bladder and bowel control
- Recent weight loss not due to lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise
- Fever and chills
Additionally, people who experience pain symptoms after a major trauma are advised to see a doctor. If low back pain interferes with daily activities, mobility, sleep, or if there are other troubling symptoms, medical attention should be sought.
Chronic low back pain is usually correlated with other symptoms. Most people with ongoing low back pain and/or leg pain report difficulty with sleeping , depression and anxiety.
Signs That Its Time To Call A Doctor For Your Back Pain
Most people have experienced back pain at some point in their lives. It’s actually the leading cause of disability worldwide and the most common reason people call out of work. Back pain can come in many different forms, ranging from a dull ache that lasts only a few days to severe pain that lasts for weeks.
Depending on the intensity of the pain, there are many treatments you can try at home to help. But how do you know when it’s time to stop home remedies and see a physician?
If any of the following applies to your back pain, then it’s time to make an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible.
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Other Reading On Painsciencecom About Back Pain
- 6 Main Causes of Morning Back Pain Why is back pain worst first thing in the morning, and what can you do about it?
- 34 Surprising Causes of Pain Trying to understand pain when there is no obvious explanation.
- Dont Worry About Lifting Technique The importance of lift with your legs, not your back to prevent back pain has been exaggerated.
- Chronic Low Back Pain Is Not So Chronic The prognosis for chronic low back pain is better than most people realize especially for Australians in Australia!
- Spinal Subluxation Can your spine be out of alignment? Chiropractics big idea has been misleading patients for more than a century.
- Back Pain & Trigger Points A quick introduction to the role of trigger points in back pain
And the big one
- Complete Guide to Low Back Pain Everything on one mighty page: an extremely detailed guide to the myths, controversies, the nature of the beast and the highlight dozens of detailed, evidence-based reviews of treatment and therapy options. This huge tutorial also focusses on a topic I think is neglected: the role of muscle in back pain.
Kidney Disease And Kidney Failure
Kidney disease and resulting renal failure can cause pain in the lower back below the rib cage and at the sides of the body. Renal conditions that affect kidney function also cause edema in the legs and feet due to increased sodium and fluid retention because the kidneys cannot properly filter out sodium from the blood.
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When Is Lower Back Pain An Emergency
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
- 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.
Muscle Strain Or Sciatica
Muscle strain is often the cause of back pain from heavy lifting or vigorous exercise. But sometimes itâs due to small jelly-filled disks meant to protect the space between vertebrae. When one of these disks bulges or breaks, it can push on a nerve. When itâs the sciatic nerve, pain runs from the buttock down one leg. This is sciatica.
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How To Relieve Back Pain
The following tips may help reduce your back pain and speed up your recovery:
- stay as active as possible and try to continue your daily activities this is 1 of the most important things you can do, as resting for long periods is likely to make the pain worse
- try exercises and stretches for back pain other activities such as walking, swimming, yoga and pilates may also be helpful
- take anti-inflammatory painkillers, such as ibuprofen remember to check the medicine is safe for you to take and ask a pharmacist if you’re not sure
- use hot or cold compression packs for short-term relief you can buy these from a pharmacy, or a hot water bottle or a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a cloth or towel will work just as well
Although it can be difficult, it helps if you stay optimistic and recognise that your pain should get better. People who manage to stay positive despite their pain tend to recover quicker.
Back pain usually gets better on its own within a few weeks or months and you may not need to see a doctor or other healthcare professional.
But it’s a good idea to get help if:
- the pain does not start to improve within a few weeks
- the pain stops you doing your day-to-day activities
- the pain is very severe or gets worse over time
- you’re worried about the pain or struggling to cope
If you see a GP they will ask about your symptoms, examine your back and discuss possible treatments.
They may refer you to a specialist doctor or a physiotherapist for further help.
Complete Guide To Low Back Pain
This article might ease your mind, but what about your back pain? If your pain is becoming chronic , or if you just keep having flare-ups, you may want to dive much deeper into the topic. There arent any easy answers for stubborn back pain, but there is evidence-based hope, and the PainScience.com back pain tutorial explores the topic extremely thoroughly. The main text is written for patients, but its also extensively referenced for keen readers and healthcare professionals. Read the introduction.
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All The Red Flags For Ominous Causes Of Back Pain
Red flags are signs or symptoms that something medically ominous may be going on. Red flags are not reliable, and their presence is not a diagnosis. When you have some red flags, it only indicates a need to look more closely. Sometimes red flags are missing even when there really is something serious going on and sometimes they are a false alarm.24 Check off all that apply hopefully none or few or only the least alarming of them!
Some of these red flags are much less red than others, especially depending on the circumstances. For instance, weight loss is common and often the sign of successful diet! Obviously, if you know of a harmless reason why you have a red flag symptom, it isnt really a red flag . But every single actual red flag in combination with severe low back pain thats been going on for several weeks is definitely a good reason to get yourself checked out.
Most people who check off an item or two will turn out not to have an ominous cause for their low back pain. But why not check?
Low Back Pain In Older Adults
While older adults can experience pain related to any of the conditions that also affect younger adults, individuals over age 60 are more likely to suffer from pain related to degeneration of the joints in the spine. Two of the most common causes of lower back pain in older adults include osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis.
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What Causes Lower Back Pain
Many injuries, conditions and diseases can cause lower back pain. They include:
- Strains and sprains: Back strains and sprains are the most common cause of back pain. You can injure muscles, tendons or ligaments by lifting something too heavy or not lifting safely. Some people strain their back by sneezing, coughing, twisting or bending over.
- Fractures: The bones in the spine can break during an accident, like a car crash or a fall. Certain conditions increase the risk of fractures.
- Disk problems: Disks cushion the vertebrae . Disks can bulge from their position in the spine and press on a nerve. They can also tear . With age, disks can get flatter and offer less protection .
- Structural problems: A condition called spinal stenosis happens when the spinal column is too narrow for the spinal cord. Something pinching the spinal cord can cause severe sciatic nerve pain and lower back pain. Scoliosis can lead to pain, stiffness and difficulty moving.
- Arthritis: Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis to cause lower back pain. Ankylosing spondylitis causes lower back pain, inflammation and stiffness in the spine.
- Disease:Spine tumors, infections and several types of cancer can cause back pain. Other conditions can cause back pain, too. These include kidney stones and abdominal aortic aneurysm.
- Spondylolisthesis: This condition causes the vertebrae in the spine to slip out of place. Spondylolisthesis leads to low back pain and often leg pain as well.
When Are Diagnostic Tests For Lower Back Pain Necessary
Many patients do not need X-rays in the first few weeks of pain because their pain will end up resolving. Many more do not need CT scans or MRI imaging, which are overly sensitive and often reveal abnormalities not related to the patients pain. These forms of imaging can be extremely useful, however, if a person has chronic or severe pain, and/or neurological symptoms. Blood tests may be ordered if an infection or tumor is suspected.
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Dysfunction Of Sacroiliac Joints
Dysfunction of the sacroiliac joints is also called sacroiliitis. You have two sacroiliac joints, one on each side of your spine where it connects with the top of your pelvis. Sacroiliitis is inflammation of this joint. It can affect one or both sides.
Pain in your lower back and buttocks is the most common symptom. The pain is usually made worse by:
- unexplained weight loss
- pain after a fall or injury
If you need help finding a primary care doctor, you can browse doctors in your area through the Healthline FindCare tool.
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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Symptom: Leg Pain That Occurs Primarily When Walking And Standing Upright
Includes any combination of the following:
- Unable to walk far without developing leg pain
- Lower back pain relief is achieved quickly after sitting down
- Symptoms fluctuate between severe and mild/none
- Symptoms develop gradually over time
- Weakness, numbness, and tingling that radiates from the low back into the buttocks and legs
Fractures And Lower Back Pain
are often very difficult pain problems and indicate the possible presence of . In patients with severe osteoporosis, spinal fractures can occur with no early warning and no significant trauma the patient does not have to fall to fracture a vertebrae.
Patients with spinal compression fractures experience spasms and, often, very high pain levels.
In patients with low back pain where the cause is difficult to determine, especially for elderly patients with osteoporosis, a fracture in the sacrum may be the cause of the pain. A standard X-ray or bone scan may not show a sacral fracture. Imaging techniques such as CT scan or MRI can often reveal these fractures.
It is very important that patients with acute lumbar compression fractures be tested for osteoporosis. A bone density study is needed, unless the patient has no other osteoporosis risk factors and has had a very high impact fracture. Studies have shown that many patients with fractures in the U.S. are discharged from hospitals with no plans for management of their bone density problems, which then are left to worsen.
Although pain can be very intense, it is best for patients with lumbar fracture to resume activity as soon as possible. This is especially true for elderly patients, who can too easily become weakened, and develop other complications, if mobility is reduced for too long. may be needed for pain control, for as brief a period as possible.
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