Low back pain occurs in what doctors refer to as the lumbar portion of the back. The lumbar section of the spine supports the weight of the upper body. Low back pain is especially common, impacting upwards of 80 percent of adults. It is no surprise to learn low back pain is the top cause of job-related disability.
Symptoms of Lower Back Pain
The back is a highly complex collection of muscle, bone, tendons and discs in and near the lumbar portion of the spine. If any of these components sustain an injury, there is the potential for considerable pain. Lower back pain manifests in the form of soreness upon contact, aches, muscle spasms, dull pain and pain that moves along the leg to the groin/thigh/buttocks. Other people experience:
- Lower back stiffness
- Difficulty sleeping
- Trouble moving
- General weakness
- A tingling sensation
The Causes of Lower Back Pain
If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to seek treatment that finds the main cause of said symptoms. It will help to start a back pain journal. Write down the actions and situations that caused the irritation. Furthermore, write down any actions you take that prove successful at relieving this pain. Such information will prove quite helpful for us when we attempt to pinpoint the true cause of the low back pain.
In general, the most common causes of low back pain include strained muscle tissues or ligaments. Improperly lifting heavy items can cause the back to twist or stretch to the point that damage occurs. Lifting heavy objects has the potential to significantly damage ligaments as well as muscle tissue. These injuries can lead to debilitating back pain that lasts for years or even decades if someone does not seek proper treatment.
Spinal stenosis is also another common cause of back pain. Spinal Stenosis occurs when the spinal column narrows, putting pressure on the spinal cord as well as the nerves. Spinal stenosis has the potential to cause considerable numbness, pain, sensory loss and/or leg weakness. It can become quite the serious condition if it does not receive treatment in a timely manner.
Even skeletal irregularities, also known as congenital anomalies of the spine, have the potential to induce low back pain. Such skeletal irregularities will disturb the distribution of weight throughout the spine. These irregularities also strain ligaments, nerves and tissues. As an example, the curvature of the spine, known as scoliosis, and the accentuation of the lower back’s arch (lordosis) are irregularities that have the potential to cause low back discomfort.
Low Back Pain Treatment
Low back pain can be treated with surgery yet there are also some non-surgical treatment options available. Meet with your doctor for a full analysis of your low back pain and the creation of a customized treatment plan to suit your unique needs and preferences. The doctor might recommend a pain mapping procedure be performed.
This approach relies on a numbing medication to briefly relieve the discomfort in order to pinpoint the exact spot of the pain. The doctor might also advise an MRI or CT scan. In some cases, the low back pain can be managed with an over-the-counter medication. However, medication does not correct the true cause of low back pain.
The bottom line is most patients who suffer low back pain require a lifetime of natural treatment. All sorts of conservative treatments are available from massage therapy to physical therapy, ice packs, heating pads, acupuncture and beyond. It is prudent to exhaust all non-surgical back pain treatment options before relying on medication or considering a surgical operation.
Is Surgical Treatment Necessary?
If your doctor advises surgery, do not panic. Minimally invasive surgery reduces the chances of scarring and/or trauma to nearby tissues while shortening the recovery time. Such surgery will likely be necessary for fractured vertebrae, herniated discs and additional severe complications. Plenty of patients have enjoyed low back pain relief from a discectomy. This requires a removal of the ruptured portion of a disc while allowing for the unaffected areas to be preserved.
The disc wall is subsequently treated to stop the soft nucleus from moving and leading to additional pain. Fusion-based surgery is also available to remove fragments of broken vertebrae or slipped discs. This surgery requires the insertion of spaces and bone bridges that allow for the vertebrae to fuse. Once the surgery is complete, the spine will be stabilized and the chances of degeneration will be dramatically reduced.
It is important to schedule a consultation with us so we can determine if surgery is necessary for your low back pain. In most cases, a conservative treatment approach will suffice. Surgery is a last resort option for when all else fails. If you are willing to commit to such a treatment plan, there is a good chance you will reduce your low back pain to the point and possibly avoid surgery.
If you would like to learn more about Low Back Pain Treatment and the various treatments we provide, call (714) 604-1599 to schedule a consultation.