Low Back Pain (Lumbar Spine Pain):

The lower back pain or lumbar pain is one of the most common types of pain nowadays, particularly among youngsters, working professionals, and household chores.

Lifting heavy items at work or home or simply having a slipped disk from a pesky athletic injury can have you experience low back pain at some point in life.
Lower back pain or lumbar pain can result from an acute injury or a chronic overuse leading to arthritis. It can break down the disks in your spine filled with fluid, acting as shock absorbers. Whatever can be the cause, there are some practices you should do to strengthen your lumbar spine and keep your lower back pain at bay.
You can experience low back pain while doing daily activities, such as:
  • Lower back pain when standing
  • Lower back pain when walking
  • Lower back pain when breathing
  • Lower back pain when coughing
  • Lower back pain when lying down flat

Anatomy

The lumbar spine or your lower back is a remarkably well-engineered structure of interconnecting joints, bones, ligaments, nerves, and muscles, all working in conjunction to provide strength, support, and a flexible body. However, this structure also leaves the low back very susceptible to pain and injury.
The lumbar spine supports the upper body's weight and provides mobility for daily life activities such as twisting and bending. Muscles present in the low back are responsible for rotating or flexing the hips while walking and supporting our spinal column. Low back nerves supply sensation and power the muscles in legs, feet, and pelvis.
Most of the acute low back pains result from injury to the muscles, joints, ligaments, or discs. The body reacts to the injury by mobilizing an inflammatory healing response. Apart from this, it can also cause severe pain.

Causes

Frequently, soft-tissue injuries or mechanical issues are the cause of low back pain. These injuries include intervertebral disc damage, nerve roots compression, and improper spinal joints movement.

Ligament sprain or muscle strain

A lower back strain or sprain can happen all of a sudden or may develop slowly over some time from repetitive movements.
Strains occur when you stretch or straighten a muscle too far, and it tears itself, damaging the muscle.
Sprains occur when tearing or over-stretching affects ligaments, connecting bones.
It does not matter whether the ligament or muscle is damaged for practical purposes, as its symptoms and treatments are the same.
Everyday causes of sprain and strain include:
  • Bad body posture over time
  • Twisting spine or lifting a heavy object
  • A sudden movement that has too much stress on the low back, like a fall
  • Sports injury, particularly in sports that involve large forces or twisting
While strains or sprains do not sound very serious and do not usually cause long-lasting pain, acute pain can also be quite severe.
Apart from these common causes, there can also be some severe causes of chronic lower back pain.

Treatment

There can be numerous options to treat lower back pain, depending on the individual patient's needs. Pain treatments include care at home, medical treatment, alternative care, and even surgery in severe cases.

Depending on the diagnosis, one treatment alternative may be more effective than others. Many people may also find a combination of therapies more effective.

Self-care

Basic home remedies for low back pain can be very useful in treating mild or acute pain from the strain. They can likewise reduce the effects of chronic or severe pain conditions. An individual administers self-care through these methods:

  • Short-term rest: many lower back pain episodes can be improved by avoiding strenuous activities for a short time period. However, it is not recommended to rest for more than a couple of days, as long-term inactivity can make healing more difficult.
  • Activity up-gradation: a variation of resting is to stay active but avoid positions or activities that aggravate pain. Altogether avoiding or even minimizing the activities or positions that worsen pain will help reduce or prevent low back pain and allow a better healing environment.
  • Hot/cold therapy: heat from a hot water bottle, warm bath, chemical or adhesive heat wraps, or electric heating pads can relax the tense muscle to improve blood flow. Increased blood flow brings oxygen and nutrients that muscles need to heal and stay healthy.
  • OTC medications: lower back pain relief products such as over-the-counter medicines like aspirin, naproxen, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen. Ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen are anti-inflammatory medications alleviating low back pain caused due to a swollen muscle or nerve.
Self-care treatments usually do not need guidance from a certified health care professional, but should be used attentively and carefully. Any medicine carries with it some risks and side effects.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy for lower back pain is usually a part of a complete treatment regimen. Some common types of exercises to rehabilitate the spine include:
  • Stretching: everyone can benefit from stretching muscles in the legs, low back, buttocks, and hips. They support the weight of the upper body. As you increase the mobility of these muscles, they can make your back move more without injury.
  • Low-impact aerobics: low-impact aerobics increase blood flow and support healing from injury without causing a physical jolt to the spine. They include elliptical or step machines, stationary bikes, water therapy, and walking.

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