Lower Back Pain Causes And Treatment
It is now widely recognized that lower back pain problems are due to abuses of the body found in modern life such as; lack of exercise, poor posture, stress, and being in unusual positions for long periods of time, like bending forward while working or on a computer.
Realizing that most low back problems result from our modern, sedentary style of living is good news – it means you can prevent most back problems by learning new habits and taking some reasonable actions to help your back stay healthy.
More than half of those who have lower back pain once will experience ongoing or chronic back problems. Many find their low back pain is getting worse, more frequent or disabling than previous episodes. Some have a chronic lower back problem that has not responded to traditional therapy, Chiropractic or prescribed medications. By taking responsibility for your own care through self management techniques, many find there is hope for a more lasting and consistent relief.
In most people, back pain often starts without warning and for no obvious reason. It interferes with daily activities and prevents a good night’s sleep, eventually, it subsides. After recovering from an episode, most forget their lower back problems. However, when recurring back problems have developed, we repeatedly seek assistance to relieve the pain. There is a general lack of understanding about how to deal with back problems and how to prevent them in the future.
Despite the varied therapies to treat lower back pain (massage, manipulation, heat, ultrasound, acupuncture and medications), self management is widely accepted and can be more effective for long term management of your low back problems.
Most lower back pain is mechanical in nature, caused by problems with the moving parts and certain movements or positions can lead to pain or make it worse. Typically, the pain is worse when bending forward for extended periods and when sitting for prolonged periods at a desk or in a car. It can be difficult to rise from a bent forward position or to get up from sitting. Usually, the pain eases when walking or changing positions frequently and stiffness is experienced when getting out of bed in the morning.
A herniated disc in the back may be an incidental finding on an MRI, or can be a disabling condition. You should seek professional advice; if you experience low back pain for the first time, if you have constant pain into the leg and to the foot, if you have numbness or weak muscles, bladder control problems, and if along with your pain you feel generally unwell.
The lower back consists of five spinal bones (vertebrae) called the lumbar spine which sits on the sacrum, a triangular shaped bone that extends to the tailbone (coccyx).
Special cartilage called a disc separates the bones and provides cushions for the bones. The most frequent location for disc problems in the lower back is the disc between the last lumbar vertebra and the sacrum, called the lumbo-sacral joint. This is also the location of the center of gravity in the human body.
Between the joints are openings for the spinal nerves and running up through the vertebrae is the spinal cord.
Similar in function to ropes supporting a tent and its poles, each joint is held together by ligaments. Just as a tent will not be stable if the ropes are damaged, the spine becomes unstable when ligaments are damaged by overstretching. When the ligaments are functioning properly, the lower back is held in a forward curve providing strength and flexibility.