Lower Back Pain

Lower Back Pain (lumbago): Causes, Symptoms, and Cure

Various injuries, conditions, or diseases can contribute to lumbago from which muscles or tendons can be injured. Depending on the cause of the disease, it may be mild or severe. Pain can sometimes make it difficult or impossible to perform daily activities such as walking, sleeping, or working. Rest, narcotics, and physical therapy (PT) are usually effective for treating lumbago.

Moreover, the healing process can be accelerated with cortisone injection or hands-on treatment (like osteopathic or chiropractic manipulation). Surgical repair may be necessary for certain back conditions.

What is Lumbago?

Lumbago is characterized by pain in the lower back that ranges from mild to severe. The pain is usually most prominent in the area around the spine, but it can spread outward and feel like cramps in the buttocks, groin, and thighs.

The kinks may also travel upward to the neck and shoulders, accompanied by stiffness. In addition, there are spasms in the lower back muscles, which cause involuntary contraction by putting pressure on the body and preventing it from moving freely.

A person suffering from lumbago can have periods of pain-free living followed by episodes of acute pain within a few weeks after their first appearance. It is commonly observed that majority of the people experienced lumbago (LBP) nowadays.

Lumbar back pain can occur due to many different causes within the complex, interconnected set of spinal muscles, nerves, bones, discs, and tendons in the lumbar spine. However, the classic causes of LBP include enlargement of the bulky nerve roots in the low back that travel to the legs. They also include stress on the massive bone pairs in the lower back, bone, ligament, or joint damage and deterioration of the intervertebral disc

Common types of Lumbago:

Usually, there are three common types of lower back pain;

  • Non-specific muscular pain: In this type, the most obvious symptom is a sharp pain in the lower back on one or both sides. It can result from lifting, twisting, bending, stretching, or any other movement that places stress on the lower back. Sudden movements, such as a fall or accident, can also cause this pain.
  • Muscles Spasms: Muscle spasms are another manifestation of LBP, caused by the sudden contraction of back muscles. The causes of muscle spasms are similar to those of non-specific muscular pain, such as bends, heavy lifting, or other activities. There is usually one specific incident rather than a series of incidents that cause muscle spasms.
  • Radicular Pain: It is the most common type of lower back pain caused by the following factors:
  • Degeneration of the disc, which acts as the shock absorber of the spine.
  • Pinching of one or more nerve roots 

The characteristics of radicular pain differ from non-specific muscular pain and muscle spasms. Radicular pain typically manifests as a sharp shooting pain that originates in the back and spreads to one or both legs. Numbness or tingling in the legs may also be experienced by the affected person.

Reasons of Lumbago (Lower back pain):

Lower back pain may be caused by various injuries, conditions, and diseases.

  • Sprains and strains: Typically, back pain is caused by strains and sprains during lifting something too heavy or improperly. Resultantly, muscles, tendons, or ligaments can be injured. Moreover, when people sneeze, cough, twist or bend over, they strain their backs.
  • Fractures: An accident, such as a car crash or a fall can break the spine bones. Fractures are more likely to occur in individuals with certain conditions; such as spondylolysis or osteoporosis.
  • Disk issues: Vertebrae are small and curved spinal bones cushioned by disks. Bulging disks can compress spinal nerves to become herniated. In addition, age-related disk degeneration can lead to flatter disks that provide less protection.
  • Structural Problems: Spinal stenosis is a condition that can cause the spinal cord to become too narrow.  In addition, the curved spine (scoliosis) can cause several health problems, including pain, stiffness, and difficulty walking.
  • Arthritis: Lower back pain is most commonly caused by osteoarthritis (a degenerative joint disease in which joint tissues break down over time). Inflammation and stiffness in the spine are common symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis (a condition in which vertebrae of the spine become fused over time due to inflammation).
  • Some other Diseases: Back pain can be caused by tumors on the spine, infections, several types of cancer, kidney stones, or abdominal aortic aneurysms.

Symptoms Of Lower back pain (Lumbago):

There are many symptoms of lower back pain. If anyone is experiencing more than three symptoms, they should immediately consult their doctor.

  • Feeling tingly or numb (especially in the legs)
  • The feeling of loss of sensation
  • Deficiency in physical control
  • Inability to urinate or control bowel movements 
  • Experience dull hip or pelvic aches
  • Sitting makes the pain worse, while walking alleviates the pain
  • A heightened level of pain in the morning.

Cure for Lower back pain (Lumbago):

Lumbago treatment is influenced by various factors such as patient age, weight, activity level. However, the following treatments are suggested to cure lumbago;

Medications for muscle relaxation:

The medication acts as a painkiller and sleeping pill for the central nervous system that increases tense muscles’ mobility, and relieves pain caused by muscle tenseness.

Narcotic pain medicines:

Narcotics or painkillers are claimed to reduce pain by weakening the signals sent by the brain. The most common use of narcotics is to treat acute pain caused by surgery or to treat intense and short-term pain. However, long-term pain is seldom treated with drugs as they have numerous side effects and are easily addictive.

Back Braces:

  • A back brace may help reduce pain and provide comfort in some cases.
  • In conjunction with a physical therapy exercise program, daily wearing an inelastic corset-style brace may accelerate healing and prevent pain.
  • Using a back brace after surgery may also prove beneficial.

Injections of epidural steroids: 

A large portion of the epidural steroids involves injecting a steroid directly into the outer layer of the dural sac, which surrounds the spinal cord. The physician uses a live x-ray (fluoroscopy) to direct the needle at the affected part of the body. An epidural steroid is intended to reduce inflammation around the compressed nerve root that relieves pain temporarily. 

Physiotherapy:

Physical therapy for four weeks is usually recommended for patients suffering from lumbago before considering other more aggressive treatments, such as back surgery. It aims to decrease back pain, increase its functionality, and prevent future back problems. Typical forms of this treatment are:

Physiotherapy (passive):

This term includes actions taken on behalf of the patient, such as applying heat (before exercise to warm up the muscles) and using ice or electric stimulation (after exercise to soothe soft tissues and muscles).

Physiotherapy (active):

It is the most important form of physiotherapy (active) that concentrates on vigorous exercises and stretching, typically used to treat low back pain.

Surgery:

Surgery may be considered when non-surgical treatments fail to relieve severe lumbago after 6 to 12 weeks. In most cases, patients decide to undergo back surgery, and in rare instances, patients with low back pain are immediately operated on. Nowadays, most people are suffering from Lumbago (LBP) due to long hours sitting on office chairs and watching television. As a result, the prevalence of Lumbago is on the rise among individuals of all ages. If you are experiencing serious pain then you should immediately consult with your doctor before it gets worse.

References:

  • Abu-Naser, S. S., & Aldahdooh, R. (2016). lumbago expert system diagnosis and treatment. http://dstore.alazhar.edu.ps/xmlui/handle/123456789/422 retrieved on February 22, 2022. 
  • Dickerman, R. (2005). Physical Therapy for Low Back Pain Relief https://www.spine-health.com/treatment/physical-therapy/physical-therapy-low-back-pain-relief retrieved on February 22, 2022. 
  • Pifitzer, T. (2021). Lumbago- when suddenly you can hardly move anymore. https://blackroll.com/article/lumbago retrieved on February 22, 2022. 
  • The manual editorial staff (2022). https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/quick-facts-bone,-joint,-and-muscle-disorders/neck-and-low-back-pain/low-back-pain retrieved on February 22, 2022. 
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