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Low Back Pain

This is one of the most common complaints. According to scientific studies, 80% of the population encounters low back pain at least once in a period of their lives. Moreover, it is also known as the most common cause of labour loss and one of the most common reasons for contacting a doctor. Even though this situation is a very painful and uncomforting process for the patient, it is short-termed and temporary. Although it can be seen at any age, it is more common between 35 and 55 years of age. 

Where can it originate from?

 

Our waist consists of complex tissues. Therefore, it can originate from any of the lumbar vertebrae, ligaments, intervertebral discs, lumbar muscles, the spinal cord, and nerves.

What is Risk Factors For Low Back Pain

Diseases or conditions enhancing the development of a sickness can be called risk factors.  For example, obesity is a risk factor in the development of type 2 diabetes.

Factors bringing forth low back pain can be summarized as follows:

  • Having a stressful job

  • Pregnancy- Low back pain is more common among pregnant women. 

  • Sedentary lifestyle

  • Age- Low back pain is encountered more in the elderly than youth or children.

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Sex- Low back pain is more common among women than in men. 

  • Obesity/ Overweight

  • Smoking

  • Heavy physical exercise 

  • Severe working conditions

 

Symptoms of Low Back Pain

The main symptom is low back pain. We can describe it as pain occurring from any part of the waist. Sometimes, it may spread toward the hips and legs. In most cases, symptoms are present since a short period of time.

A doctor should be consulted AS SOON AS POSSİBLE if any of the symptoms and findings below accompany low back pain:

  • Weight loss

  • Fever

  • Persistent low back pain- If pain doesn’t reduce by resting

  • If pain is spreading towards the legs

  • If there is a history of falling or trauma occurring recently

  • Urinary Incontinence- Having trouble when urinating

  • Fecal Incontinence

  • Numbness in the genital region

  • Numbness in the anal region

  • Numbness in the hip region

Back Pain Causes

Stretching of the muscles

Stretching of the ligaments

Improper weight lifting

Lifting a very heavy load

Muscle spasms

Structural problems

 

It may occur as a result of the structural problems listed below:

  • Lumbar disc herniation - There are cushions called discs between each of the vertebrae. The rupture of a disc puts pressure on the nerves and, as a result, low back pain occurs. 

  • Arthritis- In patients with osteoarthritis in the hip, waist, knee and hand joints- e.g. Ankylosing Spondylitis

  • Curvature of the spine

  • Lumbar spinal stenosis

  • Scoliosis

  • Degenerative disc disease

  • Osteoporosis

  • Cauda Equina Syndrome- It’s an emergency. It’s rare. 

  • Spinal cancer

  • Spinal infections

  • Other infections- Pelvic inflammatory disease in women, infections of the bladder or kidneys

  • Sleep disorders 

  • Shingles

  • Non-anatomical beds- If it doesn't support certain parts of the body and causes stress in the spine, it may lead to the emergence of low back pain.

Some daily activities and poor posture can also lead to low back pain. For example:

  • Pushing something 

  • Pulling something

  • Carrying something

  • Lifting something

  • Standing for a long time

  • Leaning forward for a long time

  • Twisting the waist

  • Coughing

  • Sneezing

  • Muscle strain

  • Sitting for a long time

 

Do I need to have any tests done?

Usually not. If your doctor suspects an additional disease, it may be required.

I have low back pain, how can it be treated?

Activity

The patient must go on with normal activities as much as possible. At first, the pain might be intense. However, the patient must try to move as much as possible. Resting continuously and being inactive can lead the pain to become chronic. For example, walking around the house or going shopping.

 

Sleep must take place in a comfortable bed, suiting the anatomy of the spine. Although sleeping on a hard bed was recommended in the past, it is now understood that this isn't scientifically beneficial. Placing a small pillow between the knees might provide comfort during the night.

The patient must return to work as soon as possible. He/she shouldn’t wait for the pain to pass completely. 

 

Back Pain Medical Treatment

  • Paracetamol

  • Anti-inflammatory analgesics

  • Muscle relaxants

  • Other treatments

  • Hot compress to the lumbar region. (This can be applied for the first few weeks.)

  • Exercise: Waist exercises aren’t recommended at first, because they increase the pain.

 

However, when the pain starts to get lighter, exercises may be done because they support the lumbar muscles and help with the spine's flexibility. Stretching exercises may be helpful.

  • Physical therapy: Physical therapy may be suggested if the pain lasts longer than 4-6 weeks.

  • Manipulation: In the treatment of acute and chronic low back pain; manipulation can be implemented by physical therapists, chiropractors, osteopaths, and massage therapists.

  • Acupuncture: It is a treatment method developed by the Chinese. It is a treatment method done by puncturing needles to appropriate regions of the body, according to the mapping of the energy flow. Acupuncture may provide benefit in chronic low back pain.

  • Injections: Some clinicians claim that by injecting local anesthetic to soft tissues, chronic low back pain are reduced. The effect is unclear. These injections are done to certain points of pain, referred to as trigger points. 

Also, steroid injections are recommended for low back pain accompanied by sciatica and radiculopathy. Injections are made into the epidural space. Pain disappears gradually. But injections may be required to be repeated. Corsets and braces, don't have much benefits in treatment.

Tags: Back pain, Lumbar disc herniation, Conditions

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SOSYAL MEDYADAN TAKİP EDİN

DR. TAMER TEKİN İLETİŞİM

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@ 2014 Tamer Tekin. Istanbul/Turkey. Tüm hakları saklıdır. YASAL UYARI: YAZILI İZİN OLMADAN KOPYALANAMAZ VE YAYINLANAMAZ.