Low back pain is a common condition. There are several reasons for low back pain. Most of them are due to injury or due to lifting heavy objects. Low back pain is most common in people between the ages of 30 and 50 years. It is because of the physiological changes occurring in the body due to ageing. As we age, the level of fluid between the vertebrae starts declining. It results in irritation between the bones, causing pain. Further, there is a reduction in muscle tone with age, making the person more vulnerable to injury.
Types Of Low Back Pain
There are the following types of low back pain:
Acute low back pain: This pain continues for a few days to weeks. It is the most common type of low back pain. In most cases, no treatment is required. The pain subsides with normal rest. However, in some cases, medical treatment is needed. There is no loss of function with acute low back pain.
Chronic low back pain: The chronic low back pain sustains for over three months even after the cause of acute low back is managed. About 20 per cent of the people with an acute low back may experience chronic low back pain with symptoms experienced even after one year.
Causes Of Low Back Pain
Various conditions may result in low back pain. Some of them are:
Injuries: Injuries to the muscles or spines during certain activities, such as playing or lifting heavy objects, may cause back pain. It includes sprain, strain, spasm, and traumatic injury.
Congenital conditions: Low back pain is also caused by a congenital condition involving the spine and spinal cord. These conditions include scoliosis, lordosis, kyphosis, and spina bifida.
Nerve and spinal cord problems: Several spinal cord diseases, including the nerves, also contribute to low back pain. The disorders include sciatica, stenosis, and spine infections, such as osteomyelitis, discitis or sacroiliitis, osteoporosis, herniated discs, and cauda equine.
Degenerative disorders: Several degenerative conditions, such as spondylosis, intervertebral disc degeneration, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and spondylosis, may also cause low back pain.
Other reasons: Other than the spine and nervous system, several other reasons may also cause low back pain. These are endometriosis, pregnancy, fibromyalgia, kidney stones, and tumours.
Risk Factors For Low Back Pain
There are several risk factors that increase the risk of low back pain. These are:
Being obese or overweight
Physical fitness such as weak abdominal and back muscles
Mental health, such as depression and anxiety
Overload backpacks especially in school going children
Poor psychological well-being
Diagnosis Of Low Back Pain
The diagnosis aims to determine the cause of back pain. Some of the options include:
Physical examination: The doctor will ask you about the severity of the pain and conduct a physical exam to determine any swelling.
Blood tests: The doctor also advises the blood tests on the patients to rule out the presence of infection, inflammation, or arthritis.
Discography: The doctor, in this test, injects a dye into the spine of the patient. The pressure due to the spine will initiate the pain if there is a problem in the disc. Further, dye will also act as a contrast agent for CT scans.
Bone scan: The patients may also undergo a bone scan to determine the presence of fracture, joint damage, or other bone disorders.
Electromyography: This test evaluates the strength of muscles by assessing their electrical conductivity.
Imaging techniques: Various imaging techniques may help determine the cause of low back pain. These techniques include x-ray, Magnetic resonance imaging, and computed tomography (CT) scan.
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Treatment Of Low Back Pain
Some of the options for lower back pain treatment are:
Medications: The doctor may prescribe several medications that provide relief from pain and inflammation. These medications include NSAIDs, muscle relaxants, and analgesics. The doctor may also prescribe a topical spray for immediate relief.
Alternative therapies: There are several alternative therapies for low back pain. These include gentle stretching, heat and ice packs, muscle strengthening exercises, spinal mobilization, spinal manipulation, and spinal injections.
Surgery: When the low back pain is severe and is not managed through non-invasive measures, the doctor may advise undergoing surgery. Types of surgeries depend upon the cause of low back pain. Some surgeries include spinal laminectomy, vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty, nucleoplasty, discectomy and microdiscectomy, radiofrequency denervation, foraminotomy, artificial disc replacement, spinal fusion, and interspinous spacers.
Prevention Of Low Back Pain
There are several measures to prevent lower back pain. These are:
Maintaining a healthy weight
Always sit in a comfortable position
Exercise helps strengthen your abdominal and back muscles
Wear comfortable shoes
Avoid lifting heavy objects
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