There are several different reasons an individual may be experiencing back pain and a variety of ways to treat the many causes. Here is what you need to know about lumbar and vertebrae pain and how to get the care you need.
Common causes of lower back pain include a torn or strained muscle or ligament, a herniated disc, spinal stenosis or a degenerative disc. The exact cause can typically be determined by the symptoms experienced by the patient.
1. A Torn or Strained Muscle or Ligament
Symptoms of this include:
If you’re experiencing these symptoms following a strenuous activity or heavy lifting, it is likely that you have strained a back muscle or ligament, causing microscopic tears in the tissue.
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This tear or hyperextension of the muscle fibers causes inflammation, back spasms and severe pain which make it difficult to move. If you’re experiencing a torn or strained muscle or ligament, there are several avenues of treatment.
Medically Treating a Torn or Strained Muscle or Ligament
You’ll want to try a combination of:
After seeking medical treatment, you can follow up with natural treatments to help strengthen the muscle and prevent further injury.
Natural Methods of Relief
The key to treating lower back pain is to learn some actionable tools to use in day-to-day lives to strengthen the lower back and prevent further pain. Prevention is crucial to avoiding repeat doctor visits.
2. Sciatica from a Herniated Disc
If you are experiencing severe lower back pain that radiates down the leg, you’re experiencing sciatica. Sciatica can be caused by several complications in the lower back.
If sciatica is an issue, it may be due to a bulging or ruptured disc known as a herniated disc. Aging and injuries can cause wear and tear to the discs that cushion the spine’s vertebrae. When this occurs, it places pressure on the nerve roots of the spinal cord. That pain radiates down the leg causing sciatica.
Treating a Herniated Disc
It is best to begin treatment of a herniated disc with heat and cold therapies, exercises and physical therapy. Pain medication may also be necessary.
In the event these methods are not effective after four weeks of treatment, surgery may be needed. Surgery is necessary for approximately one out of 10 people experiencing nerve damage from a herniated disc.
3. Sciatica from Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
If you’re experiencing a more intense sensation of pain radiating down the leg which includes numbness, tingling or loss of use, the issue may be lumbar spinal stenosis. This is when the spinal nerve roots are being compressed.
Pain in an individual experiencing spinal stenosis is typically experienced during activities such as walking, but feel normal during periods of rest or inactivity. Diagnostic imaging by MRI scan or a CT scan with myelogram can be used to determine the severity of the nerve compression.
Treating Spinal Stenosis
According to Spine Health, the most common treatments include:
4. Sciatica from a Degenerative Disc
A degenerative disc is one of the most common causes of lower back pain. It is completely normal to occur over time as the spinal discs age. As the discs break down, the vertebrae begin grinding against each other and put pressure on the spinal nerves.
Treating a Degenerative Disc
Like many of the other causes of lower back pain, treatment of a degenerative disc is much the same. Heat and cold therapies and pain medication are first line treatments to ease pain. In some cases, surgery may be recommended where the disc is removed and vertebrae are permanently fused together.
Treatments for lower back pain are typically nonsurgical and easy to administer. However, to prevent further injury, you must take control of your health by following guidelines to support better back health. By incorporating exercise, good posture and relaxation techniques into your daily lifestyle, you can prevent lower back pain.