Lower Back Pain: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments
Lower Back Pain is the Most Common Form of Chronic Pain
The back is a complex and integral part of the human body. It’s made of 33 bones, which are known as vertebrae, countless muscles, ligaments, and more. The back’s purpose is to support the weight of the body and provide flexible movement while protecting vital organs and nerve structures. The health of your back is vital to your overall health. Because of the complexity of the human back, plenty of things can go wrong for various reasons. Depending on the issues, a person may experience pain throughout their back or just in certain areas. Many patients who do experience back pain feel it in their lower back.
Lower back pain is the most common cause of job-related disability. Furthermore, experts estimate that nearly 80% of all adults will experience lower back pain at least once in their lives. Lower back pain is also one of the most common forms of chronic pain, accounting for 27% of all pain-related health issues. As you can see, lower back pain plagues millions of people across the country.
Due to the complexity of the human back and spine, it can be hard to accurately diagnose the cause of your lower back pain. You often need the help of trusted pain management doctors who will assist you in uncovering the root of your pain. If you suffer from chronic back pain, you no longer have to live in pain. Contact the trusted pain management clinic at Texas Partners Healthcare Group to learn what your options are.
What is Lower Back Pain?
The majority of back pain occurs in the lower back, which includes the five vertebrae (L1-L5) that make up the lumbar region. The lower back supports most of the upper body’s weight, which puts a lot of pressure on it. The vertebrae in your spine are separated by round, rubbery discs that function as shock absorbers to cushion the bones and keep them from colliding with one another. Some ligaments keep the vertebrae in place while tendons connect muscles to the spinal column. As you can see, your back is comprised of many working parts. A host of conditions and injuries can lead to lower back pain.
Virtually everyone will experience lower back pain in some form at least once in their life. All cases vary, ranging from mild to severe pain. In many instances, this pain goes away on its own after some time and rest. However, in the instances that it does not, pain management treatment may be necessary.
Some symptoms include:
- Sharp pain
- Burning sensation
- Muscle tightness
- Tingling sensation
More severe symptoms include:
- Weakness in your legs
- Numbness or tingling sensations in the legs, torso, or groin area
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
As we mentioned earlier, your back is comprised of many components that must all work together to ensure that everything goes smoothly. If one thing goes wrong, it can cause several issues. Each case is different, and there are several different lower back pain causes. Some of the most common are:
Incidents, such as car accidents, sports injuries, slip-and-fall accidents, and more, can cause lower back pain. These can lead to torn or strained ligaments, tendons, and muscles, and they can even lead to spinal fractures or ruptured discs.
The discs in your lower back are more prone to injury because they have to carry the weight of the upper body. As you grow older, these discs are put through more and more stress throughout life, eventually wearing down. A herniated disc occurs when a disc pushes out and puts pressure on the spine. Even the smallest bit of pressure can lead to immense pain.
Sciatica occurs when something presses up against the sciatic nerve. A herniated disc can lead to sciatica, as a bulging disc can push on the sciatic nerve. This shock-like or burning pain starts in the lower back, travels through your buttocks, and causes pain down your legs to your feet.
As we mentioned earlier, the discs between your vertebrae naturally begin to deteriorate over time. In some cases, it can cause the spinal column to narrow, compressing the nerve roots or spinal cord by bone spurs or discs.
While muscle strains and injuries to ligaments and tendons are quite common causes of lower back pain, they aren’t the only causes. Conditions that affect the joints also make an impact. Osteoarthritis causes the cartilage between the bones to wear away, which allows the bones to rub together, causing bone spurs, and press on nearby nerves.
- Spinal Infections
Fortunately for those who do suffer from lower back pain, there are a host of pain management treatments available to them. At Texas Partners Healthcare Group, our team of experienced pain management doctors possesses the knowledge and skills to best treat your pain. Some of the most common lower back pain treatments include:
- Home Care: such as using a heating pad or ice pack or taking a warm bath
- Rest: it’s crucial to rest your back if the cause of your pain is muscle strain or caused by repetitive motion, but you should not rest for too long as it may weaken your back and increase risk of further injury
- Injections: an injection will target the problematic area or joint to reduce swelling and inflammation
- Exercise: by exercising, you can strengthen back muscles, improve flexibility, relieve stress and stiffness, and more
- Physical Therapy: for those whose pain has left them inactive, physical therapy allows a trained professional to help you strengthen your back by guiding you through stretches, workouts, and more to improve the healing process
- Massage Therapy: can break up muscle tightness to remove tension and stress while improving mobility
- Medication: while it should never be the first option, over-the-counter pain medications can help relieve pain
- Surgery: in extreme instances when no other treatment option has been effective, surgery may be used to treat your pain
At Texas Partners Healthcare Group, we have helped countless patients who struggled with lower back pain, allowing them to live life well again. Our pain management doctors have all the knowledge and experience needed to best treat your lower back pain. If you are suffering from pain, give Texas Partners Healthcare Group a call today to learn what options you have.