Low Back Pain is a very common condition in the times we live in. It is very common but with highly variable symptoms and gravities. Our hectic pace of life, coupled with a little postural awareness and the inevitable need to lift heavy weights, have made many us suffer this discomfort recurrently. But let´s understand well what exactly it is.
Low Back Pain or Lumbago is a pain in the lower back that may or may not radiate to other parts of the body. It is caused by inflammations which can occur in both the lumbar vertebrae and the soft tissue structure that shape it (muscles, ligaments, nerves, tendons and intervertebral discs).
Generally, the Low Back Pain is caused by a physical overexertion, poor body posture, muscle spasms, dysfunction of the sacroiliac joint or as a reflection of some organ dysfunction as the small intestine or kidneys. It not always produced by known anatomical causes, but the existence of pain is real and must be diagnosed to be treated effectively.
Symptoms of Low Back Pain are usually quite recognizable:
– Difficulty moving, walking or standing
– Pain radiating from the lower back into the leg, groin, buttocks and upper thigh (rarely reaches below the knee)
– Muscle spasms
– Pain localized through palpation
According to its duration, we can classify Low Back Pain into three types:
– Acute Low Back Pain: when it lasts less than 6 weeks
– Sub-Acute Low Back Pain: when it lasts between 6 weeks and 3 months
– Chronic Low Back Pain: when it lasts more than 3 months
When diagnosing Low Back Pain, it is essential the description that patient makes of the pain and its antecedents (exact location, severity, type of pain, when it began, presence or absence of pain radiation, etc.), since the causes can be very complex due to the existence of many structures in the spine that can cause pain.
When the pain does not improve between 6 or 12 weeks, we resort to different diagnostic methods to determine the severity of the situation: X-ray assesses the stability of the spine, presence of tumors and fractures. The CT scan captures images of transversal sections of the vertebrae and intervertebral discs. The Myelogram works with an injection of contrast prior to radiography for identifying problems within the column, spinal cord and nerve roots. And finally MRI, showing a detailed cross section of the column components.
Treatment of Low Back Pain therefore depends on the severity of pain and its history, and is often accompanied by physical exercise and located physiotherapy. Only in very severe cases surgical procedure is recommended. In general, the treatment of Low Back Pain consists of the following activities:
– Rest, for soft tissue and nerve roots recover
– Hot and cold therapy to help reduce inflammation
– Drugs, both anti-inflammatory and pain inhibitors, always under medical prescription and Control
– Specific exercises for low back pain helped by spinal health professional (physiotherapist, chiropractor or rehabilitation)
– Low impact aerobic exercises like walking and swimming as enhance the oxygenation of the soft tissues of the back and accelerate recovery
– Epidural corticoid- steroid injections that are administered directly on the painful area to provide relief and improve mobility.
– Surgery for low back pain, as we have said before is the last resort when there is no improvement in other ways
In our daily lives, we can make some simple actions to prevent Low Back Pain: avoid sudden movements and overload our back with excessive weight; adopt good postures at all times; whenever we make physical activity make a good warm-up and prepare the muscles; avoid overweight and obesity, so that our back does not suffer; and finally do exercise and physical activity on a regular basis.
From Valtrum we invite you to become aware of your body posture and to keep a physically active live to prevent nuisances such as Low Back Pain that affects your daily life. It is a question of awareness, perseverance and willpower, and you can get it being disciplined with your body and the way you work it.