Human backache and back pain with an upper torso body skeleton showing the spine and vertebral column in red highlight as a medical health care concept for spinal surgery and therapy.

Low back pain can be a symptom of stress or injury to the lumbar (lower) spine. The lumbar connects to the pelvis and is a point of much weight bearing and body movement. Many work related injuries result in some form of short or long term low back lumbar pain.

Most of these pains and injuries are mechanical in nature. This can include Sprains and strains, Intervertebral disc degeneration, Herniated or ruptured discs, Sciatica, Radiculopathy, trauma injuries perhaps from playing sports, car accidents, or a fall. Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal column that can sometimes lead to leg weakness or sensory loss. Low back pain can also be the result of Skeletal irregularities like scoliosis or other congenital anomalies.

Lower Back Pain

What is lower back pain?

The lower back’s structure consist of interconnected and overlapping tendons and muscles as well as of other soft tissues, sensitive nerves and nerve roots, small and complex joints and the spinal discs. The lower back pain may occur if there is an irritation or underlying problems on the mentioned elements, resulting to pain at the lower back and affecting other body parts. This type of back pain is common to younger individuals and elderly persons and may become chronic when pain is severe.

Symptoms for younger individuals

Aching pain that becomes intense in the lower back area, either after a physical activity, sudden movement or lifting heavy items.

  • Difficulty of movement that may escalate, not being able to walk or stand.
  • Severe pain around the groin, buttock or upper thigh area.
  • On rare cases, pain may travel below the knee.
  • Muscle spasms that becomes worst.
  • Feeling of tenderness when touched

Causes of lower back pain among younger individuals

  • Injury
  • Lifting of heavy objects
  • Frequent twisting
  • Sudden movement that may stretch the muscles or ligaments
  • Development of microscopic  tears
  • Some home care remedies to treat lower back pain affecting younger individuals:
  • Complete rest from work or any strenuous physical activity.
  • Ice or heat compress or combination of both.
  • Lower back exercises that focused on stretching.

Symptoms for elderly individuals

  • Lower back pain and feeling of stiffness, mostly in the morning and late in the evening.
  • Sudden pain while sleeping.
  • Localized soreness (tenderness) on the part of the spine when touched.
  • Steady or escalating pain in the lower back and often becomes worst due to long periods of activity.
  • Loss of flexibility in the back such as difficulty to bend in the waist.
  • Height loss.
  • Worst scenarios may lead to deformity or disability.

Causes of lower back pain among elderly individuals

  • Compression fracture (osteoporosis) on adults over 50 years old, especially women under their post-menopausal stage.
  • Sacroiliac joint dysfunction
  • Side effect of long-term usage of corticosteriod among older women.
  • Infection
  • Piriformis syndrome
  • Spinal tumor
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Coccydynia
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Osteoarthritis

Lower back treatment

Regardless of age, the general treatment for anyone experiencing lower back pain is dependent on the following:

  • One’s medical and health history
  • Type and level of pain or discomfort felt on the lower back area
  • If the pain becomes worst, series of diagnostic tests and surgical procedures may be suggested by the attending doctor.
  • Patient is advised to undergo complete rest for a few days until the pain subsides and allow natural healing to takes its course.
  • Hot and warm applications are recommended to reduce any swelling on the affected area. There are instances, wherein a patient would prefer warm compress that cold compress, but some benefit doing both applications alternately.
  • Series of medications are given to the patient that includes:
  • Intake of over-the-counter and prescription drugs to lessen the symptoms of lower back pain.
  • Medications that reduced inflammation.
  • Exercise focusing more on the lower back area may be part of the treatment program, either done at home or in the medical clinic under the supervision of a physical therapist, chiropractor or physiatrist and may consist of three major categories:
  • Aerobic conditioning
  • Stretching
  • Strengthening
  • Low impact aerobic exercise is also given in addition to other sets of exercises, again concentrating on the lower back like walking, swimming or any form of exercise performed in the water.
  • Chiropractic manipulation or chiropractic adjustment.
  • Epidural steroid injections.
  • Surgery for the lower back can be any of the following:
  • Laminectomy (sciatica)
  • Microdiscectomy (compressed nerve problem)
  • Fusion surgery (painful motion segment)

The mentioned treatments and medications are just some of the possible solutions to solve the lower back pain. It is imperative for anyone with serious complaints of lower back pain to seek immediate medical help, especially if the level of pain causes extreme discomfort, immobility or fully stoppage from work or any physical activity. Get the right diagnosis and avail the appropriate medical care needed. Always consult your lower back pain problems only with a spine specialist.

Common Low Back (Lumbar) Related Conditions

  • Sciatia Pain
  • Compression Fracture
  • Bulging Disc
  • Lumbar Herniated Disc
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • Lumbar Trauma
  • Sacroiliac Joint Syndrome
  • Spondylolysis