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Understanding Low Back Pain

Published on Jan 25, 2019 and last reviewed on Jan 19, 2023   -  5 min read

Abstract

Lower back pain can be caused due to an injury, disease, or a medical condition. This article will discuss lower back pain in detail.

Understanding Low Back Pain

Introduction:

Low back pain is the second most common ailment, with the common cold being the first. Previously, low back pain was considered age-related, that is, mostly seen in older individuals. So, it was considered a pain due to weak muscles and weak bones. But nowadays, back pain is quite common in the young population and even in small school-going children. There have been a lot of studies going on to reveal the exact cause of low back pain. There have been studies about posture, daily physical activities, work ergonomics, etc.

Going back in time, around 100 years back, when the world had fewer technologies and there were no smart gadgets available, the lifestyle of a normal person was completely different from the present day. A young man used to go to his or her school, college, or workplace on foot. He used to walk for 10 km or more a day. He used to do farming or take care of pets which itself was a heavy job. Keeping in mind that picture, let us talk about the current situation.

These days, we have smart gadgets. With one click, one can have food or a taxi or almost anything at his door. Physical activity has significantly reduced. Automobiles are easily available to everyone. We hardly need to walk the whole day. We give more time on our mobiles as compared to our friends. You must be wondering, we are all aware of this fact, but how is it connected to low back pain?

Our physical activity has reduced which, is responsible for weak core muscles. Most of the time, we are on mobiles or laptops which is responsible for improper posture. Our spine is not made to bear weight in that posture. In one study, it was found that our spine has to bear 50 % more weight in a slump sitting position as compared to a standing position. The slump sitting position is the same as when we are working on computers.

What Are the Symptoms of Lower Back Pain?

A person can experience lower back pain at any instance. In fact, the causes can differ from person to person. One individual may feel lower back pain while bending, and some may feel the pain while sitting.

The most common signs and symptoms of lower back pain are,

What Are a Few Conditions or Diseases That Can Cause Lower Back Pain?

As mentioned earlier, lower back pain can be caused by medical conditions and diseases apart from injuries. The common injuries and diseases that cause lower back pain are,

  • A fracture of the bone or the spine in the lower back can cause lower back pain. The injury to the bone can be caused due to a motor vehicle accident or conditions like spondylosis or osteoporosis, where the bones become weak and prone to fractures easily.

  • Osteoarthritis is another common condition causing lower back pain. It occurs when the cartilage of the bone is worn out.

  • The spine is cushioned by discs. These discs can bulge or swell, causing immense lower back pain.

  • Spondylolisthesis is a condition involving a misplaced spine bone. It causes lower back pain and leg pain.

  • Spine tumors and kidney stones are a few of the diseases causing lower back pain.

How to Diagnose the Conditions Causing Lower Back Pain?

The causes of lower back pain can be diagnosed with the help of the following tools.

How to Treat Lower Back Pain?

An orthopedician and physiotherapist together will treat the lower back pain depending on the severity.

  • Firstly, the doctor will prescribe painkillers, mostly non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to ease the pain.

  • In severe cases, steroid injections will be injected into the space causing the pain, to relieve the same.

  • Physiotherapy is an essential part of managing lower back pain. A physiotherapist will teach a few muscle strengthening exercises to prevent further injury and improve flexibility.

  • Some injuries may need surgical intervention. Today’s medical advancement provides numerous minimally invasive techniques to heal lower back pain causing injuries.

  • Chiropractic adjustments and massage therapies are also believed to relieve lower back pain.

What Are the Self-Remedies for Lower Back Pain?

To start, you should know your back pain first.

  • Is your pain confined to your back or is it radiating to one or both of your lower limbs? You need to see your doctor if your pain is radiating.

  • Is your back pain associated with fever, weight loss, or loss of appetite?

  • Is it associated with weakness in your lower limbs or loss of bladder and bowel control?

1. Do regular core muscle strengthening exercises:

  • You need not waste money on gyms.

  • Just five to ten minutes of strengthening exercises would be sufficient.

2. Maintain proper posture:

  • This is the most important part of treatment.

  • You should change your work ergonomics.

  • If you have a desk job, then use the desktop with a keyboard under the table.

  • Use a slanting board for writing.

  • Do not slouch on your chair. You should not slump during prolonged sitting.

  • You should not recline more than 100 to 110 degrees.

  • Avoid watching television or reading while lying down in an improper posture.

3. Walk daily for 4 km at a stretch:

  • Studies have revealed that the person should walk a minimum of 4 km at one go in a day to keep his back muscles healthy.

  • If you are not used to walking, then you can start with shorter distances and increase it gradually up to 4 km.

Conclusion:

Lower back pain can be mild and miserable sometimes. Often extreme pain is associated with some serious medical condition. It is always advisable to care for the first sign of lower back pain as, at times, it may progress to cause non-reversible damages.

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Last reviewed at:
19 Jan 2023  -  5 min read

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Dr. Anuj Gupta

Dr. Anuj Gupta

Orthopedics And Traumatology

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