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Causes and Treatment for Low Back Pain

Back discomfort in the lower back is fairly common. It can be caused by a strain (injury) to the back muscles or tendons. Arthritis, structural issues, and disk injuries are among the other causes. Rest, physical therapy, and medicine are frequently used to alleviate pain. One of the best ways to avoid low back pain and injury is to maintain a healthy weight and active lifestyle. 

What is the definition of lower back pain?

Low back pain can be caused by a variety of accidents, ailments, or diseases, the most common of which is a strain or tear in the back muscle or tendon injury. 

The intensity of pain varies from mild to severe and can make even the simplest tasks seem impossible. Low back pain can come in spurts or be consistent. 

Lower back pain can often improve with rest, physical therapy (PT), or pain medication. Injections of cortisone and manual therapies (such as osteopathic or chiropractic manipulation) can assist in reducing pain while speeding up the healing process. Some back injuries and disorders require surgery.

How common is lower back pain?

Reports show that lower back pain affects roughly 4 out of 5 people at some point throughout their life. It’s one of the most prevalent causes for people to seek medical help. 

Lower back discomfort is more common in certain people than in others and can be caused by a variety of conditions, including: 

When it comes to lower back pain, how long does it usually last?

There are 3 types of lower back pain, acute, subacute, and chronic. Acute spurts of lower back pain can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, whereas subacute occurrences persist anywhere from four to twelve weeks. According to the National Institutes of Health, roughly 20% of people who suffer from acute back pain go on to acquire chronic back pain, which is defined as pain that lasts for more than 12 weeks. Even in these circumstances, there are a variety of therapeutic options available to help alleviate the symptoms of lower back pain. 

When chronic lower back pain becomes debilitating, it is not abnormal to be concerned that something is terribly wrong and the same can be said for acute back discomfort that never seems to go away. The good news is that, while back pain can be debilitating, it doesn’t have to be, as there are various remedies and therapeutic methods that can be used to help alleviate and often eliminate pain.

What are the signs and symptoms of back pain in the lower back?

Lower back pain symptoms might begin abruptly or develop over time. Pain can come as a result of a specific event, such as bending to pick up something. Other times, you may have no idea what’s causing your discomfort. 

Sharp or dull and achy pain might extend to your buttocks or down the back of your legs (sciatica). When you strain your back during an activity, you could hear a “pop” as a result. Pain can often worsen when in certain positions (such as bending over) and can be relieved by lying down. 

Other signs or symptoms of lower back pain include:

What causes back discomfort in the lower back?

Lower back pain can be caused by a variety of things including trauma, illnesses, and diseases. Some of these include: 

What Lower Back Pain Home Remedies Actually Work?

You usually don’t need to see a doctor for back discomfort unless you’ve suffered a significant injury, such as a fall or a vehicle accident. You might want to start with these easy self-care techniques. 

Avoid complete bed rest. When lower back pain arises, many individuals believe that full rest would alleviate the problem. While rest is always important, limiting your movement can often cause your stiffness to worsen. Light movement and specific stretches can help alleviate lower back pain. 

Use ice and/or heat as needed. Many people find that using ice or cold packs for up to 20 minutes at a time helps to decrease swelling and discomfort. It is important to wrap ice or cold packs in a small breathable towel to avoid injuring your skin while still allowing the cool temperature to reach the skin. Heat can be applied via a heating pad or by taking a warm bath to help alleviate pain. It is important to ice your lower back injury for the first 48 hours after the injury occurs; beyond that, a combination of ice and heat can be used. 

Over-the-counter (OTC) medication can also be used on a case-by-case basis. Short-term usage of over-the-counter pain medicines like ibuprofen and or Aleve, which are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), may help relieve your lower back discomfort. Consider over-the-counter lotions, gels, patches, or sprays that are applied to the skin. (Star Health)

What is the process for determining the cause of lower back pain?

Your doctor will inquire about your symptoms and perform a physical examination. Your doctor may prescribe imaging tests to look for fractured bones or other injuries. From there your provider will be able to examine clear images of your vertebrae, discs, muscles, ligaments, and tendons to decipher the cause of your pain. 

Your healthcare professional may issue the following orders: 

What Are Some Lower Back Pain Treatments Other than Taking Pain Medication?

Doctors may recommend therapy that isn’t deemed “standard of care” in some instances. They’re unlikely to be covered by insurance, but they’re worth thinking about. Here are several examples: 

What are the options for treating lower back pain?

Rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain medications are typically effective for lower back discomfort. You can gradually resume your usual activities after a few days of relaxation. Staying active helps you heal by increasing blood flow to the region. 

Other lower back pain remedies are dependent on the underlying problem. They are as follows: 

Is it possible to avoid lower back pain?

Lower back discomfort caused by illness or structural issues in the spine are often unavoidable. However, injuries that cause back discomfort can be avoided. 

To lower your chances of sustaining a back injury, you should: 

When should I go to my doctor regarding my lower back pain?

Rest and pain medications are generally enough to alleviate lower back discomfort. Back pain that doesn’t go away might be an indication of something more serious. 

If you have any of the following symptoms, see your healthcare provider: 

Desert Edge Physical Therapy

Low back pain affects millions of individuals. Stiffness, pain, and restricted mobility may all have a negative influence on one’s quality of life. Maintaining a healthy weight and remaining active, on the other hand, may help you avoid lower back discomfort. If your back pain persists or prevents you from doing the things you like, see your doctor. Several therapies are available to help you decrease pain, improve your mobility, and get more out of life. Desert Edge Physical Therapy can help residents in Northwest Phoenix with lower back pain by creating individualized plans that target the specific issues at hand.

Call today to set up your first visit with one of our awesome and talented PTs!

published on Friday, February 11th, 2022