Low Back Pain

Most people experience low back pain at some point in their lives, which can be mild or severe. It can be short-lived or long lasting, but when it occurs it can interfere with your daily activities. Back pain differs from person to person.

The pain can have a slow onset or come on suddenly. Sometime it may be intermittent or constant. It can be worsened by movements or accompanied by decreased range of motion or stiffness in the neck.Often back pain resolves on its own within a few weeks.

CAUSES

There are many causes of low back pain. It could be due to:

  • Specific movement such as lifting or bending.
  • Ageing causes degenerative changes in the spine starting at 30 years or even younger
  • Certain activities like sports or lifting heavy weights
  • Vertebral Disk Injury
  • Herniated Disk
  • Disk tear – Small tears to the outer part of the disk
  • Disk degeneration caused by wearing or shrinking of intervertebral disks
  • Spinal Stenosis – pressure on the cord and spinal nerves.
  • Scoliosis – Abnormal curve of the spine in children
SYMPTOMS

Back pain varies depending on the underlying cause, however, most people find relief in the reclining or lying down position. Some symptoms of low back pain could be:

  • Worsening pain with bending and lifting, sitting, standing and walking
  • On and off back pain often following an up and down course
  • Pain extending from the back into the buttock or outer hip area, but not down the leg.
  • Pain in the buttock and leg pain, even numbness, tingling or weakness right down to the foot.
DIAGNOSIS
  • Physical examination is done to test your nerve function, reflexes at the knee and ankle, testing of sensation as well as strength testing.
  • X- Rays
  • MRIs
  • CAT Scan
  • Bone Scan
  • Bone Density Test
TREATMENT

The treatment may include medications, physical medicine, and surgery.

Medication:
  • Aspirin or acetaminophen can relieve pain with few side effects.
  • Non­steroidal anti­inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen and naproxen reduce pain and swelling
Physical Medicine:

A combination of medications and therapeutic treatments often provide relief and help you continue with your daily activities.

  • Physical Therapy: Passive therapy can include applying heat, ice massage, electrical stimulation and ultrasound, depending on the individual
  • Braces may help, depending on the individual case
  • Exercise-based programs like Pilates or Yoga offers pain relief for some people
Surgical

Surgery for low back pain must be considered when nonsurgical treatment options have been tried for over 6 -12 months, but with no positive result. Surgery is recommended if the source of pain is pinpointed, but again it depends on several health factors.

This is a process of fusing two vertebrae, so that they heal into a single bone. Spinal fusion is an option when motion is the source of pain, but the results can vary from person to person.

Disk Replacement:

The goal of disk replacement is to replace the defected disk with artificial disk and allow flexibility in the spinal segment to maintain normal motion.

WHEN TO SEEK MEDICAL ADVICE?

Regardless of your age or symptoms, if your back pain does not subside within a few weeks, or if associated with fever, chills, or unexpected weight loss, you should consult your doctor.

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