Lower Back Pain
- Department of:
- Adena Regional Medical Center
What is Low Back Pain?
Lower back pain is among the most common complaints that Adena’s Back and Spine specialists hear from their patients. The condition affects 30 million Americans at any given time, and it is a leading cause of disability worldwide. Lower back pain can be grouped into one of two categories based on how long the pain has been going on. Acute back pain is lower back pain that shows up suddenly and lasts no longer 6 weeks, while chronic back pain is ongoing and persistent back pain. Chronic lower back pain is less common than acute back pain.
Causes of Low Back Pain
Doctors cannot always determine the exact cause for lower back pain, but common conditions linked to this type of pain include:
- Strain in the muscles or ligaments
- Bulging or ruptured discs
- Skeletal irregularities
Acute back pain is normally due to injury from a fall or accident.
Anyone can develop lower back pain, but there are certain risk factors that can increase your chances. These include:
- Excess body weight that puts strain on the spine
- Not getting enough exercise
- Diseases that have pain as a symptom
- Lifting objects improperly
- Certain psychological conditions, such as depression and anxiety
Preventing Lower Back Pain
Depending on the cause of your lower back pain, you can prevent the condition by improving your physical condition and learning how to properly control body mechanics. Specific strategies include:
- Exercise. Doing low-impact aerobics regularly can help you strengthen muscles and allow them to function better. Swimming and walking are great choices, but you should speak with your Adena Spine specialist before trying anything new.
- Lift objects properly. Do not use your back to lift heavy objects, make sure to lift from the legs.
- Stretch. Improving your flexibility in your back and abdominal muscles can strengthen your core, which ultimately keeps everything aligned and helps you avoid straining muscles unnecessarily.
- Keep your weight down. Keeping weight in a healthy range can help you avoid putting unnecessary pressure on your muscles, bones and joints.
- Avoid slouching while sitting or standing.
Diagnosing Lower Back Pain
To diagnose back pain, your Adena Health Spine Center specialist will ask you to perform certain motions to see which types trigger back pain. Sitting, standing, walking or lifting your legs can help him or her determine a diagnosis. Imaging tests can be used to determine a more specific diagnosis of back pain. Tests include:
- X-ray to show the alignment of bones
- MRI or CT scan to show any tissue abnormality, including herniated discs
- Blood tests to check for infection of another condition that could be causing back pain
- Nerve studies can measure the electrical impulses produced by nerves and the responses of your muscles
Chronic Back Pain Treatment
There are many different medications that can be used to provide lower back pain relief, and your Adena spine and back specialist will determine which is most appropriate for you. These include:
- Over the counter pain relievers
- Muscle relaxants
- Pain relieving creams
- Prescription painkillers
- Steroid injections for inflammatory conditions
Other back pain remedies include:
- Physical therapy
- Surgery is done in rare cases when other treatments have failed
Adena Health’s Spine and Back Care
The Adena Health Spine Center provides care for a variety spine and back related issues. Don’t live with pain associated with lower back pain any longer. Let Adena’s team of spine and back specialists put a treatment plan together to assess and address your lower back pain and get you back to doing what you love.