What is Lower Back Pain?

The lower back is generally referred to as anywhere below the ribs and above the legs. The lower back supports the body and can be easily injured when lifting, twisting, or moving abruptly. A majority of people will suffer from lower back pain at some point in their lives but fortunately most pain can be relieved within a few weeks with conservative treatment.

What are Causes of Lower Back Pain?

Lower back pain can be experienced as a symptom of a herniated disc or lumbar spinal stenosis but is more commonly the result of overuse or an injury. Older individuals are more susceptible to injury as the muscles, bones, and tissues of the back begin to lose strength and flexibility. In rarer cases lower back pain can also be experienced as the result of arthritis, a broken vertebrae, or osteoporosis.

What are the Symptoms of Lower Back Pain?

Individuals suffering from lower back pain may experience:

  • muscles spasms
  • Numbness or tingling
  • cramping
  • stiffness
  • pain can be dull, burning or sharp
  • can extend down the leg

Conservative Treatments

Rest:

Rest is often the best initial course of action as a majority of lower back pain sufferers do not require aggressive treatment. Your doctor may recommend a short period of rest followed by a slow transition back into activities.

Medication for pain relief:

  • Over the counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen for mild to moderate pain
  • Non-narcotic nerve pain medication may be taken because of the mild side effects in comparison with narcotics
  • Muscle relaxers may be prescribed to those patients with muscle spasms
  • Cortisone injections or inflammation suppressing corticosteroids may be injected via needle directly into the area to reduce swelling and inflammation.

At Home Treatment:

  • As discussed above, rest and over the counter pain relievers should be the first course of action
  • Apply heat to the lower back once every two to three hours for fifteen to twenty minutes at a time
  • If symptoms persist after two weeks make an appointment to see a healthcare professional

Therapy:

Physical therapists can show patients positions and exercises that can minimize pain. Core strength is essential to protecting the back and alleviating back pain. A physical therapist may also implement:

  • Heat or ice
  • Traction
  • Ultrasound
  • Bracing
  • Electrical Stimulation

Exercises to alleviate lower back pain: (Pictures to be inserted)

  • Extension exercises:
    • Press-up back extension
    • Alternate arm and leg exercise
  • Flexion exercises
    • Knee to chest exercise
    • Curl ups
  • Further strengthening and flexibility exercises
    • Prone buttocks squeeze
    • Pelvic Tilts
    • Bridging
    • Hamstring stretch
    • Hip flexor stretch
    • Wall sits

Ways to Alleviate Pain From Lower Back Pain

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) may be taken over the counter to reduce initial inflammation and pain. The above at home treatment recommendation may also be followed. If pain persists, contact a medical professional to receive a pain treatment plan designed for you.

Places to Get Help

Get excellent bone and joint treatment from the top doctors at OrthoArizona – Arizona Orthopaedic Associates.