Lumbar Back Pain
Lower back pain is one of the most common problems experienced by people today and most adults have experienced low back pain at one time in their lives.
There are many different causes of back pain most of which aren't serious and the pain clears within a few days. However there are other causes of that may be due to underlying conditions that need medical treatment. Proper diagnosis of prolonged back pain or pain due to injury is necessary to evaluate treatment options.
Most common causes are:
- Herniated disc
- Lower back injury or trauma.
- Pinched nerve
- Disc degeneration or arthritis
- Spinal stenosis
- Osteoporosis or other bone diseases.
- Viral infections
- Congenital abnormalities in the spine.
- Sprain or spasm in one of the muscles or ligaments in the back.
- Problems in the internal abdominal area associated with organ problems.
- Weight gain, poor posture, poor physical condition
Symptoms of lower back pain
- Pain that may worsen with activity
- Pain that may radiate down the front, side or back of your leg or buttocks
- Pain that may become worse with prolonged sitting.
- Numbness or weakness in areas of your leg that may be affected by a nerve.
As you can see, low back pain may be caused by a multitude of things and low back pain symptoms vary and may not necessarily stay localized to the lower back. Occasionally, low back pain may indicate a more serious problem. If you experience any of the following symptoms or pain that doesn't go away within a few days you should consult your physician or a specialist at SCCNS.
Symptoms or indications to be aware of:
- Recent trauma such as a fall, auto accident, sports accident.
- Slight fall in persons older than 50 (a fall that causes one to land on the buttocks may be reason for concern).
- Acute pain that may result from prolonged steroid use.
- Numbness of loss of feeling in legs or feet.
- Loss of bowel or bladder control.
- Unexplained weight loss
Proper diagnosis of lower back pain is extremely important and should be done by a qualified expert in the field. Because many different conditions may cause back pain, your complete medical history needs to be included as part of your diagnostic exam. Although many questions may not seem pertinent to you, they may help your doctor determine the cause of your pain.
A physical examination will be done to check for nerve damage, test your reflexes, test for muscle strength and sensation in areas that may be affected by nerve damage. Depending on the initial exam and what the doctor suspects may be wrong, the doctor may perform an abdominal exam, pelvic exam, etc. to rule out any diseases that can attribute to lower back pain. In addition, imaging tests such as X-rays, MRIs, Myelogram or CT scan may be done to assist in proper diagnosis.
In many cases, low back pain can be treated conservatively and the pain will subside after a few days. This treatment may include the use of medications to reduce inflammation and over the counter pain relievers. The use of cold or hot compresses may help reduce pain and inflammation and allow for greater mobility in some patients as well. Depending on the condition, your doctor may recommend a modified conservative treatment including prescription pain and anti-inflammatory medication as well as physical therapy as well as possible epidural steroid injections.
Pain that lasts longer than three months is considered chronic and may need to be treated with a more intensive treatment. In some cases, acupuncture, chiropractic treatments or massage therapy can be beneficial for low back pain. However, if there is an underlying condition that is causing low back pain such as sciatica or other problems, surgery may be considered. Surgery has proven beneficial for conditions such as sciatica or certain progressive nerve problems caused by herniated discs. The main goal of the surgery is to relieve pain caused by underlying conditions.
Our experts at SCCNS perform the most minimally invasive and technologically advanced surgeries available today and remain at the forefront of the advancement of surgical procedures that enable people to live an active, normal life. Our multi-disciplinary team of experts can help you in all aspects of treatment both conservative and surgical.