Lower back pain is a sudden, persistent, sharp or dull pain felt below the waist. It is common and affects most people at some point in their life. Lower back pain is commonly caused by muscle strain from heavy physical lifting, work, or forceful movement, twisting or bending, awkward positions, or standing in one position for too long. Any of these things can also make a prior or existing back disorder feel much worse.
There are other conditions that can cause lower back pain. They include spinal stenosis, spinal infection, arthritis, spinal tumors, spondylolisthesis and fractures of the vertebrae.
Lower back pain is either chronic or acute. Chronic is persistent, long term pain, occasionally lasting throughout one’s life. However, even chronic pain can have bouts of acute pain. Acute lower back pain may begin quickly with intense pain and lasts less than three months.
Other symptoms of lower back pain include pain in a specific area of the lower back, general aching, pain that radiates in the buttocks, low back, or legs. Occasionally the pain is accompanied by neurological symptoms such as tingling, weakness, and numbness. The neurological symptoms that may need immediate medical attention include bladder or bowel dysfunction, leg or groin weakness or numbness, severe symptoms that do not ease after a few day or pain that prohibits regular activities.
There are several myths about lower back pain. Lower back pain is not always caused by a slipped or herniated disc. In fact, only one to three percent of lower back pain is caused by this. In addition, few people with lower back pain will need surgery. Also, MRIs are very useful in diagnosing lower back pain, however not everyone will need one and it is not a treatment. Not everyone has lower back pain, either. In fact, getting assistance early is important to successful treatment as it can reduce the number of times the back pain recurs. There are other factors, too, that increase the risk of people developing lower back pain. They include being overweight, driving, smoking, and sitting for long periods. Up to ninety percent of adults will experience lower back pain at some point in their life.
It is common to experience lower back pain like a sprained ankle. In addition, while lower back pain can be debilitating and severe to many people, often the pain improved without the need for surgery. Half of all patients with lower back pain will have a second episode within one year. If lower back pain occurs with a fever or can be associated with a specific injury, the person suffering should consult their physician immediately or visit the emergency room. If there is no fever or cannot be associated with a specific injury, a conservative treatment at home for two or three days can be administered by the person.
Taking care of your back, however, is the key to ensuring that you rarely or never suffer from lower back pain. When you do, do not treat your back any differently to avoid the aches and pains that are associated with back pain.