A guide to
Lower back pain is a common occurrence that can affect anyone. Many people can experience lower back pain from time to time. For others, lower back pain can be a daily occurrence. You may find your life impacted frequently from your symptoms. Lower back pain can prevent you from going to work, being active, and/or participating in your daily routine.
Typically, symptoms will disappear with simple, at home, lower back pain remedies like rest and gentle stretching. However, lower back pain may not always resolve itself. It is important to know when to visit with a medical professional. In some cases, further evaluation is needed by lower back pain specialists.
Located in the lumbar region of the spine, the lower back supports much of your upper body. The spinal column is composed of an intricate network of bones, nerves, and tissue. This intricate network serves as the basis of the body’s ability to move and feel physical sensations. These spinal nerves are responsible for interpreting pain sensations and transmitting pain signals to the brain.
The spinal column is composed of vertebrae that are padded with intervertebral discs. Cushioning each vertebra, these jelly-like discs work as shock absorbers protecting the spinal column and the body (especially while it is in movement).
To determine the best treatment for your lower back pain symptoms you must first determine the type of lower back pain onset you are experiencing and its potential causes. Resolving these questions will allow you to pursue effective treatment that will mitigate and manage your pain.
Types of Lower Back Pain
The frequency in which lower back pain is experienced will define the type of pain occurring. Lower back pain occurs as either acute or chronic. These two different types of pain may require different treatment methods.
Treatment is shaped by the type of pain felt. But what does it mean? Acute (lower back) pain implies the pain is experienced for a short amount of time. The pain symptoms may resolve on their own with little medical involvement. Many individuals may find relief from simple home remedies and over the counter medicines.
The pain symptoms can resolve on their own with some rest and care. Chronic (lower back) pain lasts longer than 12 weeks and can escalate in nature. Chronic lower back pain can progressively limit your mobility in your day-to-day life, greatly impacting your functionality.
This type of chronic pain usually requires seeking assistance from a back pain specialist who can evaluate your symptoms and determine a course of action. Chronic lower back pain may be a symptom of a more serious underlying condition or a manifestation of a larger injury.
A skilled pain management specialist will review the duration of your lower back pain and (ideally) diagnose the cause of your symptoms. They will verify your pain history, associated pain symptoms, and review your medical history to better ascertain which treatment method would be most beneficial.
Causes of Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain can be caused by various things. Strained muscles are the most common cause for these pain symptoms. Lower back pain may be a direct result of an injury or an additional medical condition affecting the region.
Common causes of strain-induced lower back pain are:
When there is a disruption in the way the components of the back operate it can be considered a “mechanical” problem. The functionality can be limited or impacted by conditions that also cause lower back pain.
Mechanical problems can include:
Symptoms of Lower Back Pain
The cause of your low back pain can manifest your pain symptoms in a variety of ways. Lower back pain can have a sudden onset or happen in a gradual way. But the symptoms may be very similar.
Symptoms can be experienced when walking, standing, laying down, etc… your body’s positioning may determine the severity of your symptoms as well.
Common symptoms include:
The pain symptoms in your lower back will act as a guide for your back pain specialist to determine the best treatment method for effective relief.
Lower Back Pain Treatments
A back pain doctor will be able to review your lower back pain symptoms and accurately diagnose its source. It is critical for a lower back pain specialist to evaluate your symptoms to appropriately devise a treatment plan for effective pain relief. Your back pain specialist may recommend a combination of treatments that best fit your goals and lifestyle.
Because the majority lower back pain aches and complaints are directly related to muscle strains, your doctor may recommend some simple home remedies like using heat and ice. An easily incorporated combination of both can help relieve minor pain symptoms and reduce inflammation. It may also encourage easier mobility and functionality.
Other Treatments include:
When simple home remedies are not sufficient in treating your pain, your back pain specialist may conclude you are a good candidate for prescription medications. Taking a stronger approach to treating pain, your provider may prescribe NSAID’s (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen, muscle relaxants, opioids, and topical pain creams. Your doctor may prescribe only one type or a combination of these medicines to provide you with effective relief.
A complementary treatment to medication may be incorporating regular physical therapy sessions. With a skilled health professional, physical therapy programs allow you to strengthen muscle groups that directly affect your lower back. Being able to successfully support your lower back with these strengthening exercises can improve functionality and flexibility, promoting better mobility for you.
As with other treatments received from your back pain doctor it is important that you do not sabotage your other successful treatment efforts with poor lifestyle decisions. Consciously thinking about maintaining good posture through your day can help alleviate pressure from your lower back region, keeping your spine in correct alignment. Maintaining a healthy weight can also support your lower back. Without excessive weight placing pressure on your lumbar region the amount of ‘mechanical force’ used to move reduces as well.
Injection therapy can be a successful treatment for lumbar pain as well. With the guidance of a pain specialist, individuals may incorporate this therapy independently or in conjunction with their other pain management treatments. In some cases spinal injections may even provide longer lasting results.
Some of these injections are:
Chronic lower back pain should be monitored by a health professional, skilled in the field of pain management. Treatment options are frequently improved upon and may need readjusting to better fit your needs. Each patient’s lower back pain is unique and should be treated by progressive pain specialists who are informed and innovative when providing care to their patients.
If you would like more information about how we can treat your lower back pain, please call Pain and Spine Specialists and speak to our dedicated team to improve the quality of your life. You can call (301) 703-8767 (Maryland Locations), (724) 603-3560 (Pennsylvania Locations), or (540) 433-1905 (Virginia Locations) and schedule an appointment today.
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In addition to treating chronic back pain, Pain and Spine Specialists offers other innovative and progressive treatments for other pain conditions. Pain and Spine Specialists provide their skilled knowledge and experience for treating neck pain, leg pain, and other pain causing disorders. Our highly qualified doctors efficiently manage your pain symptoms to help return your mobility and functionality.
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