Pain in the lower back has become an increasing concern. According to a renowned Neurosurgeon, Patrick Roth, 8 out of 10 individuals might have experienced back pain at some point or the other. However, it is difficult to figure out the probable causes of back pain.
In people over the age of 55, there exists a 5% chance that lower back pain is the result of a fracture and a 1% chance that it might be due to a tumor or perhaps an infection.
Due to Sprains and Strains - The torn or pulled ligaments or muscles caused by sprain and strain can certainly result in back pain. These injuries are usually caused due to sport injuries, overstress on the lower back and lifting of heavy objects. Sometimes, it may also occur due to hurrying up to complete a particular activity. One should be careful while lifting weighty stuff.
Spondylosis, Ankylosing Spondylitis and Spondylolisthesis - Spondylosis is usually referred to as osteoarthritis of the spine. It causes tearing of the spinal discs and joints with the passage of time. This can result in severe pain, inflammation and unusual narrowing of the spinal canal. While Ankylosing Spondylitis, is a type of inflammatory arthritis which leads to inflammation of the spine joints. It may eventually result in excessive pain and stiffness, which worsens with the movement. Spondylolisthesis also causes lower back pain and stiffness when a bone in the spine becomes position less. It may also be caused due to some injury or it might even be a birth defect.
Spinal Stenosis - It is caused by the intervertebral discs which becomes thinner and dryer as one ages and may often result in stiffness while you stand for a longer time or walk for short distances. The stenosis sufferers may also face sciatica as a result of minor trauma. Generally people suffering from such problems are over the age of 50. If untreated severe spinal stenosis may cause permanent numbness, weakness, balance problems, Paralysis etc.
Lumbar Herniated Discs or prolapsed or slipped discs - It is quite common in young and middle-aged adults. While in the case of older people, the degenerative changes occurring in the spine minimizes the reason for developing a herniated disc. Rupturing of the disc can result from the application of force due to wearying of the annulus fibers. The weakening of these fibers makes it difficult to lift or bend, putting extra pressure on the disc and thus, damaging it.
Kidney Stones - Back pain may also be caused due to injury or inflammation of the other areas of the body. For instance, kidney stones, UTI (Urinary Tract Infection). A bladder inflammation can be related to the lower back. Kidney pain may seem like a dull ache on one side of the back, often caused by several infections or injuries.
Smoking - According to a latest study published in the journal Human Brain Mapping, it is suggested that the smokers could minimize their risk of developing back pain by quitting the habit. This is because excessive smoking can cause the intervertebral discs to age more quickly, thus increasing vulnerability to injury. Therefore, it is better to eliminate smoking from your lifestyle.
Sleeping on Soft Mattress - If you sleep on a soft mattress, your weight will not be distributed evenly which may surely result in back pain. Therefore, opting for a firm mattress is a better option. However, for the side sleepers, soft mattresses are a good choice since they contour to the curves of the body and provide more support to the areas that requires it the most. This infers that it actually depends on the way you sleep.
Constrictive Clothing - This type of clothing can limit the spine’s normal range of motion, inhibit normal conditioning of stabilizing muscles and make the lower back more prone to injury. Hence, one should be wary about the type of clothing, especially if you already experience some back pain.
Physical Therapy For Relief in Back Pain
Before undergoing treatments such as back surgery, it is advisable to try out Physiotherapy for relief in back pain. It helps to reduce the pain and bring you back to normal mobility. The professional Physiotherapists can offer a range of treatments based on how severe is your back pain.
Passive physical therapy is composed of the heat application, ice packs and electrical stimulation. Whereas active physical therapy emphasizes on exercises and stretching. In most cases of lower back pain, active exercise physical therapy program is preferred.
There may be certain exercises and movements which worsens your back pain. Qualified and experienced Physiotherapists can recommend which form of exercises would benefit and which ones to avoid. These professionals advice, a regular stretching can help loosen muscle tension, provide support to the core muscles, and also improvise the posture for a healthier back.
About the author: Dr Scott Gray is amongst the top-rated physical therapist in Fort Myers and is founder of Back In Motion Sport & Spine Physical Therapy, SW Florida’s leading physical therapy clinic for orthopedic, sport, and spine injuries