LUMBAR BACK PAIN: A HINDRANCE TO A HEALTHY LIFE
The lumbar region is commonly known as the lower back region of the human body. It serves various important functions for us. These include, support and movement of the entire body and the protection of body tissues from injury. Hence, it plays an important part in weight bearing and protection of tissues. Injury to any of the structures that make up this weight bearing system of the lower back (muscles, bones, joints and ligaments) leads to lower back pain, which is evident on various kinds of movement.
Nearly all of us, at some point in our life, experience lower back pain. In America, a minimum of $50 billion are spent per year on low back pain. Among racial groups, it is most prevalent among American Indians and Alaska Natives while Asian Americans show the least prevalence. Men and women are equally affected. It occurs most often between the ages of 30 to 50 due to normal aging, sedentary life style and even too much exercise and exertion. It is the most common cause of missed work and job related disability. It is the second most common neurological complaint in the United States, the first being headaches. Most cases resolve spontaneously in a few days, while the less fortunate ones bear with it for an extended period.
TYPES OF LOWER LUMBAR BACK PAIN
- Acute or Short- term low back pain: Lasts form about a few days to a few weeks. It is mostly a result of mechanical injury; mainly trauma or it may be due to a disorder such as arthritis. Symptoms may include, shooting or stabbing pain, muscle ache, limited movement and flexibility or an inability to support the body while standing. It may even travel down to different areas of the body according to the nerves which are being irritated.
- Chronic back pain: It is usually persistent for more than 3 months. It may become progressive and cause further damage with time.
CAUSES OF LOWER LUMBAR BACK PAIN
- Increasing age: takes a toll on bone strength and muscle tone as well as elasticity. The cushioning effect of the spinal discs is lost, leading to a loss in flexibility and causes more ware and tear on the vertebral column.
- Trauma from an accident: automobile accidents are known to inflict a wide array of injuries. Massive vehicles such as semi-trucks are responsible for a significant number of crashes. They cause the maximum number of injuries, rendering many disabled for life. A lot of these accidents cause damage to the back as well.
- Lumbar strain (acute, chronic): a stretch injury to the ligaments, tendons, and/or muscles of the low back, causing microscopic tears. It is one of the most common causes of low back pain.
- Nerve irritation: due to some pressure on the lumbar nerves due to mechanical forces, by bones or ligaments.
- Lumbar radiculopathy: Nerve irritation caused by damage to the intervertebral discs due to wear and tear.
- Bone and joint conditions: they may be acquired over time or may be inborn (congenital).
- Indirect Problems: Problems concerning the Kidneys, the Ovaries, Pregnancy or any Tumors, Infection, Shingles, Bleeding Disorders, all are more uncommon causes.
TREATMENT OF LOWER LUMBAR BACK PAIN
- Pain usually is a sign from your body that something is not right, so the first thing to do is to get a thorough evaluation done, to see if there is any underlying cause, then symptomatic treatment is useful.
- Bed rest for the first few days followed my gradual exercise.
- Warm and hot compresses.
- Over the counter painkillers for short term, narcotics for severe pain.
- Deep Heat Muscular spray.
- Regular checkups for long term back pain.
- For severe pain, refer to a physician, he will assess whether you require any invasive procedures for relief.
If you are susceptible to lumbar back pain, then try and take the following preventive measures:
- Try not to stand continuously for long periods of time.
- Keep your body in shape with exercises and maintain a healthy weight as obesity increases susceptibility to lower lumbar back pain.
- Buy a medicated mattress that will provide your back the support it needs.
- Be it work or home; try to maintain an erect posture while sitting. This simple tip can save you from a lot of back problems.
- Perform back-strengthening exercises on a regular basis.
- Avoid lifting heavy objects.
- Avoid excessive use of stairs.
One can never be too careful when it comes to back problems, as they are notorious for persisting for a very long time. Our back functions to support the weight of the upper body while we stand. It helps us in bending, extending and rotating around the waist. Many individuals pay the price of being inattentive towards their back problems in the form of major impairment of many physical activities. Thus, the best form of back pain is one which has been consulted, diagnosed and treated on time.