Lower back pain is one of those pesky conditions that seems to keep coming back. Whether this is your first time experiencing lower back pain or your 100th time, permanent lower back pain relief is possible in many cases.
Curing your lower back pain doesn’t have to be complicated. Finding lasting relief requires two things: to find the underlying cause and then to treat that underlying cause.
Treating the underlying cause of your pain will greatly reduce the chance of the symptoms returning. People who only treat the symptoms with painkillers or other pain-masking methods are at higher risk of suffering from chronic pain and other injuries.
Learning about the symptoms, causes, and best treatments for lower back pain will help you treat your pain effectively so that it doesn’t come back.
Lower Back Pain Symptoms
Not all lower back pain manifests itself as “pain.” There are other symptoms involved in some cases of lower back pain, and there are also different types of pain. Here are some of the most common lower back pain symptoms:
●Dull, Achy, or throbbing pain in the lower back
●Stabbing/Shooting pain in the lower back
●Stinging burning pain in the lower back which may also travel down to the thighs/feet and may occur with numbness/tingling
●Tightness and loss of mobility in the lower back and surrounding areas
●Pain that worsens with specific activities, particularly with bending, standing, sitting, lifting, or walking
Some cases of back pain require immediate medical attention. Call your doctor right away if your lower back pain is severe or is accompanied by a fever, bladder/bowel issues, weight loss, numbness/tingling, or if it occurs after a fall/accident.
If your lower back pain symptoms have lasted for more than 12 weeks, you have chronic pain. Luckily, many cases of chronic lower back pain are curable with the appropriate treatment, especially when you see a lower back pain specialist.
Lower Back Pain Causes
Sometimes, there is only one cause of lower back pain which makes it easy to treat. More often, there are many underlying causes.
A lower back pain specialist such as a physical therapist can run some tests and identify the cause(s) so that the treatment plan is easy and effective.
We’ve listed the most common lower back pain causes below so that you can focus on eliminating the cause to fix the problem once and for all. If you know that the cause of your pain is inflexibility, for example, you will want to add stretches and mobility exercises to your lower back pain treatment plan.
●Improper Lifting: Always use your leg muscles, rather than your back muscles, to lift. If you do a lot of lifting, make sure you learn about how to lift with the correct posture and technique.
●Lack of Movement: Sitting or standing still for long periods of time will cause your back to stiffen, which can lead to pain. Medical professionals recommend moving at least once every thirty minutes, even if it just means shifting the body to a different position.
●Overweight: Being overweight places added stress on the spine that can lead to lower back pain.
●Poor Flexibility or Mobility: If you do not regularly practice flexibility and mobility exercises for the muscles and joints in the lower back region, you may have poor flexibility or mobility that is contributing to your lower back tightness or pain.
●Poor posture: Sitting, standing, exercising, or even sleeping in poor posture can place stress on the spine and lead to lower back pain
●Smoking: Smoking is known to decrease blood flow in the lower spine, which prevents healing nutrients from nourishing the discs in your lower back and can lead to chronic lower back pain.
●Weak muscles: If you do not perform strengthening exercises in your core (including lower back), it is likely your back pain is at least partially a result of weak lower back and core muscles.
In rare cases, lower back pain is caused by serious conditions such as cancer. Call your doctor if your back pain has persisted for over two weeks, is severe, or accompanied by other symptoms.
Lower Back Pain Treatment
Lower back pain is such a common condition that there are tons of advertisements for “treatments” (such as special supplements, mattresses, and back braces) that are not proven effective.
The most effective treatments will target the underlying cause of your back pain. Here are the most successful treatments for lower back pain that are recommended by doctors and back pain specialists:
●Physical Therapy: Physical therapy for low back pain is widely regarded by medical professionals as the safest and most effective treatment for most cases of lower back pain. Physical therapists can assess and treat the cause of your pain with proven treatments such as condition-specific exercises, stretches, and manual therapy.
●Medications: Certain medications are proven effective in speeding up the healing process in more severe cases of lower back pain. Anti-inflammatory medication, including OTC nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers, can speed up the recovery process by reducing inflammation in the lower back.
Medications for lower back pain are not without risk, however. Consult with your doctor to learn more about medications for lower back pain.
●Lifestyle Changes: If your lower back pain is a result of lifestyle factors such as excess weight, poor posture, or sedentary habits, consider making lifestyle changes to ease the burden on your back.
●Surgery: In very severe cases of lower back pain, surgery may help. Surgery is considered the most invasive treatment option but is sometimes necessary in extreme cases, such as when lower back pain causes bladder and bowel issues.
Some people elect to get surgery if the symptoms have lasted for more than six months; however, surgery is not always successful at healing generalized lower back pain.
If your lower back pain requires surgery, doctors recommend seeing la spine physical therapist before and after the surgery to speed up the post-surgery recovery.
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