Acute Lower Back Pain
Fortunately for most people, acute lower back pain will go away within four to six weeks without extensive medical intervention. If the discomfort doesn't go away in that time span, having a doctor exam the back is a prudent move. But there are times when a person suffering from acute lower back problems should call the doctor immediately. Acute is defined as severe but not long term. Chronic pain is long term and doesn't often respond to conventional treatment. If the discomfort limits a person's usual or normal activities for more than a month or if there is any kind of shooting pain down the legs, there could be a more serious problem that needs immediate medical intention. For example, the sciatic is the longest nerve in the human body, which starts in the lower back and runs through the buttock and down the leg. Sciatica is a term used to describe the numbness, leg pain, or tingling sensations that travel down the sciatic nerve. These painful sensations are caused by the compression or irritation of the roots of the sciatic nerve. Medical attention is normally needed to fight sciatica. Numbness in the lower extremities, groin or rectal area, is a real cause for concern and the person needs go to a doctor to determine the cause before it progresses any further. According to one medical website, acute lower back pain along with bladder or bowel control problems is also a reason for concern.
Surprisingly, doctors and other medical professionals don't usually know the exact causes of acute lower back pain. A variety of things can contribute to the problem, including lifestyle and obesity. Both lack of exercise and also extreme exercise can cause discomfort. Hard physical work, automobile accidents, slip and fall accidents, and family history can contribute to the chances of suffering acute lower back pain. Believe it or not, there is evidence to suggest that smoking may even play a role. In fact, many lifestyle choices and factors contribute to the discomfort. Being overweight and in poor physical condition can put a tremendous amount of pressure on the lower back. So shedding some pounds and improving overall body conditioning is a proactive technique in preventing problems. Although the usefulness of stretching before an athletic event or physical exercise is highly debated, properly stretching muscles may help stave off injuries that contributed to the discomfort. Keep in mind that pulled muscles, ligament damage, and many other physical injuries don't show up in routine physical examinations or on x-rays. And people suffering from back problems can do several things to help speed rehabilitation along.
All of the following tips for alleviating acute lower back pain are taken from a major university medical center report. The first suggestion may seem as though it goes against conventional wisdom. The first reaction of many people and even some medical professionals is to rest the injured area, but that may only contribute to the discomfort. The Bible indicates that wisdom may not rest solely with what is offered but with who knows enough to take the advice and make good use of what is said. "Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom." (Proverbs 13: 10) At least one medical website suggests that a person should attempt to stay as active as possible at both work and home. Occasional bed rest can't hurt, but too much may cause increased stiffening of the affected area and actually increase the pain. Still, people with any kind of discomfort should limit the type and duration of activity. Strenuous or physical sports or exercise may not be the best option until completely healed.
Exercise some caution and much common sense while rehabilitating. Very often that may be all that's needed to begin healing. Since acute lower back pain may sometimes be attributed to tight or stiff muscles and joints, stretching several times a day might provide some relief. Stop stretching, if the pain increases. Use ice packs on the affected area for about 30 minutes a day. Ice may decrease discomfort and inflammation. Some people even find that applying heat to the lower back helps to relieve some of the pain. Also, don't be afraid to try some easy aerobic exercises. Finally, medications may help relieve acute lower back pain. Consult a physician before trying any of these techniques. Bear in mind, the above techniques are reactive. They are in response to something that has already developed.
Learn some proactive techniques to prevent acute lower back pain in the first place. Health care professionals with the university medical center have a few suggestions to reduce the chances of suffering from back pain. Learn proper techniques for lifting and moving heavy objects. Exercise and improve overall health and fitness. Improve posture while sitting. On that note, don't sit for extended periods of time. Get up and walk or stretch. Sleeping on the side with a pillow between the knees may also help. Finally, if smoking is a habit, find a way to quit. One of the effects of smoking is limited blood flow to the muscles. Time is not the best indicator of when to return to normal activity. Slowly return to strenuous activities. According to some experts, a return to normalcy is possible when a full range of motion has returned. But before attempting physical sports or the activity that may have been the root cause of the back problem, consult with a physician.
Lower Back Pain RemediesChronic lower back pain may be an indication of a serious problem especially if the discomfort has lasted for several months. Causes may include a herniated or ruptured disc, a tumor, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis or another serious disease. Other possible causes are strained muscles or ligaments, spinal degeneration, sciatica, skeletal problems, and fibromyalgia. A diagnosis is often made through a physical examination, x-ray imaging, discography, computerized tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound imaging or an electro diagnostic procedure. Lower back pain remedies may include but are not limited to applying ice and heat, bed rest, exercise, medications, spinal manipulation, biofeedback, interventional therapy, and surgery.
Pain that is persistent and prolonged should be checked out by a physician. A person who has suffered several months with chronic lower back pain may need to undergo some diagnostic tests to determine the cause. A conventional x-ray is usually the first test that is recommended by a doctor. The results may show fractures, broken bones, or injuries to vertebrae. Suffering with pain can be exhausting and debilitating. A person who finds that he or she is in this sort of predicament should put their faith and trust in God. "But unto you that fear My name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall." (Malachi 4:2)
Muscle and ligament strain will usually respond to therapy that includes bed rest and medication such as ibuprofen or other analgesics. Sometimes muscle relaxers are prescribed along with applying hot and cold packs. Discomfort caused by tension may respond to massage therapy and relaxation techniques. Persistent lower back pain remedies for tension often responds to spinal manipulation through a licensed specialist.
Spinal degeneration happens when the discs begin to wear down leading to narrowing of the spinal column. One of the symptoms of this type of chronic lower back pain is discomfort first thing in the morning and after walking or standing for long periods of time. The best thing for spinal degeneration is to stretch before getting out of bed in the morning and to limit periods of walking and standing. Exercise will provide some benefits but activity should be accomplished by doing a little at a time.
Sciatica is a condition involving a herniated or ruptured disc that is pressing on the sciatic nerve. The sciatic is a large nerve that extends down the spine into the pelvis and down the leg. Sciatica can lead to numbness and loss of motor control if the nerve becomes pinched. One way to diagnose the condition is by using ultrasound imaging. Ultrasound imaging uses infrared technology to measure temperature changes to find nerve root compression. Lower back pain remedies for nerve discomfort include taking anticonvulsants to relax the nerve, and interventional therapy can be used to block nerve pain by injecting steroids or local anesthetics into the area that is inflamed. Surgery is another way to treat the discomfort.
Skeletal problems can put strain on vertebrae, muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the spine causing chronic lower back pain. One of the conditions associated with skeletal problems is scoliosis or curvature of the spine. Curvature of the spine often occurs in children while they are still growing. If caught in time a brace can help correct the curvature but in most cases surgery is necessary. Children that are school age should get checked at least once during the school year for curvature of the spine during their physical exam needed for school.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition that may include widespread musculoskeletal pain. A person who is suffering with discomfort from fibromyalgia will have tender points in the spine, shoulders, hips, and neck. Treatment may include anti-inflammatories, relaxation techniques, sleep aids, and anti-depressants. Stress and noise can aggravate the symptoms of fibromyalgia so the patient needs to learn positive coping strategies for dealing with stress. The condition usually includes chronic fatigue and brain fog. Sleep remedies are the most important treatment for this syndrome so doing a sleep study may prove beneficial. Restorative sleep often helps with the discomfort of fibromyalgia.
There are many diagnostic methods available today for trying to determine lower back pain remedies for ailing patients. A herniated or ruptured disc can be discovered through a procedure called a discography. Dye is injected into the problematic area to provide a picture of the damaged disc. Another way to discover disc problems is through a procedure called a myelogram. Dye is used in a myelogram but it is injected through the entire spinal column in order to find all of the problematic areas.
Computerized tomography or a CT scan is an x-ray that is performed by a computer to show two dimensions of the structures in the back to find the cause of chronic lower back pain. Another way to diagnose discomfort is through a magnetic resonance imaging procedure, better known as an MRI. An MRI can help a doctor discover degeneration of the bone and disease in the tissues, nerves, muscles, and blood vessels. This type of procedure is done with the help of radio waves within a magnetic field. A signal is processed by the computer and projects an image that differentiates between tissue and bone.
Another way to diagnose back discomfort is through an electro diagnostic procedure known as a nerve conduction study that measures the electrical activity in the nerves. A fine needle is inserted into the muscles and a mild shock is administered to stimulate the nerve. This type of diagnostic test shows if the nerve is damaged. Nerve conduction studies are helpful in finding spinal cord injury, nerve root compression, neuromuscular conditions, and will show trauma to nerves within the body. Lower back pain remedies for spinal cord injury will greatly depend upon the extent of the injury but oftentimes surgery is necessary. For a better outcome an individual with back discomfort that lasts for more than a couple of weeks should make an appointment with a doctor to find the cause and get treatment. Waiting too long to seek help could make a difference with the end result.