Learn More About Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is caused when the ligaments and muscle tissues that support your back are sprained or strianed. Most often these tissues are damaged by being stretched to hard or by being extended to far. This can be a very debilitating type of pain as it can make everyday activites extremly uncomfortable and painful.
Back pain is something that most people will experience at some point in their lifetime. Of those who will face back pain roughly 70% can attribute their symptoms to a sprain or strain of their back. Lumbar sprains and strains are usually the result from sudden or forceful movements like a fall, twist, lift, push, pull, direct blow, or quickly straightening up from a seated, crouched, or bent position.
Most commonly, sprains and strains are not created from any one single event, but rather from a consistent and repeated overloading. The spine is quite good at handling the small isolated stressors, but repetitive pulls in your back muscles lead to injury in much the same way that constantly bending a piece of copper wire will cause it to break. Examples of some of these stressors include: bad postures, sedentary lifestyles, poor fitting workstations, repetitive movements, improper lifting, or being overweight.
Symptoms from a sprain/strain may begin very suddenly but more often they will simply develop gradually. Symptoms can at times range from a light discomfort to surprisingly debilitating pain that becomes sharper when you move.
Rest may relieve your symptoms but often leads to stiffness. The pain is for the most part centered in your lower back but is also known to spread towards your hips or thighs. Always inform your doctor if your pain extends beyond your knee, or if you have weakness in your lower extremities or a fever.
What makes Sprains & strains injuries so damaging is the fact that they cause your normal healthy elastic tissue to be replaced with less elastic "scar tissue." This process can lead to ongoing pain and even in some cases arthritis. Patients who decide to not undergo treatment and "just deal with it" are at risk to develop chronic low back pain. Making the decision to seek early and appropriate treatment like the type provided in our office is critical.
Depending on how serious your injury is, you might have to reduce the amount of activity you take part in for a while, especially bending, twisting, and lifting, or movements that cause pain. Contrary to what you might think bed rest is not in your best interest. You should do your best to remain active when possible and return to normal activities as your symptoms allow.
The short-term use of a lumbar support belt may be helpful in some cases. Sitting can make your back temporarily more vulnerable to sprains and strains from sudden or unexpected movements. It also may be beneficial to take "micro breaks" from workstations for 10 seconds every 20 minutes. Following acute injuries, you can ice your impacted areas for 15-20 minutes each hour. Heat can also be helpful after several days or for more chronic origins of pain. Ask your doctor for specific ice/heat recommendations. Some patients report some pain relief from sports creams.