Chronic Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain can be described as any kind of pain or ache in the area between the ribs at the back and the top of the legs. When this pain lasts longer than twelve weeks, it is given the qualifier of “chronic.”
This pain may have started as the result of an obvious injury or strain or might seem to come from nowhere with no clear cause. Sometimes, the pain is worse when sitting or bending forwards, and actions such as changing positions in bed or sitting up can be agonising.
Coughing or sneezing, which cause the body to tense up, can make the pain worse, and the muscles of the back might spasm occasionally.
Causes of Chronic Lower Back Pain
In many cases, these symptoms are related to simple or mechanical pain, caused by a strain of the back muscles, other soft structures such as ligaments or tendons that are attached to the vertebrae, or the intervertebral disc which can be considered the “cushion” between the vertebrae.
This kind of lower back pain can usually heal on its own with time, but there are a number of red flags that, when taken into consideration with the lower back pain, should prompt those sufferers to see a doctor as soon as possible.
Some of these red flags include if you are under the age of twenty or over the age of fifty-five when the pain started, the pain is constant and isn’t relieved with rest, the pain travels up to the chest or the higher in the back, if the pain started gradually and got worse with time, or other problems in addition to the back pain such as a fever or a great amount of weight loss, numbness or weakness in a leg, foot, or lower part of the torso, incontinence, or if you’ve recently suffered violent trauma to the back.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Chronic Lower Back Pain
Your doctor may use a variety of tools to diagnose the cause of your back pain, including blood tests and a CT scan or MRI, which show not only the skeletal structure but the soft spinal structures and muscles as well.
The treatment for chronic lower back pain will vary depending on the cause, but in these cases manipulation, or the treatment offered by chiropractors or osteopaths, tend to be less helpful. It is more likely that your doctor will arrange a course of rehabilitation for the back.
Prevention of Chronic Lower Back Pain
Of course, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as the old saying goes, and generally staying fit can help as opposed to any specific back exercises.
Make yourself aware of your posture and if you must lift heavy objects, find help to share the load or support the weight by holding the object close to the body while bending at the knees, instead of the back.
Chronic lower back pain doesn’t have to stop you from enjoying life. If chronic lower back pain is keeping you from leading the active lifestyle that you’d like, make an appointment with your doctor today.