What are the causes and treatments of low back pain? Low back pain or lumbago is a common disorder involving the back’s muscles, nerves, and joints. Pain can vary from a dull constant ache to a sudden sharp feeling. You can classify low back pain by duration as acute, sub-chronic, or chronic. You can further classify the condition by the underlying cause as either mechanical, non-mechanical, or referred pain. The symptoms of low back pain usually improve within a few weeks from when they start, with 40–90% of people recovered by six weeks.
Causes and Treatments of Low Back Pain
According to SPINE health, “The lumbar spine, or low back, is a remarkably well-engineered structure of interconnecting bones, joints, nerves, ligaments, and muscles all working together to provide support, strength, and flexibility. However, this complex structure also leaves the low back susceptible to injury and pain.”
The lumbar spine supports the upper body’s weight and provides mobility for motions such as bending and twisting. Muscles in the low back are responsible for flexing and rotating the hips while walking and supporting the spinal column. Nerves in the low back supply sensation and power the pelvis, legs, and feet muscles.
Most acute low back pain results from injury to the muscles, ligaments, joints, or discs. It’s not uncommon to experience lower back pain. Around four out of five people have lower back pain at some point in their lives. It’s one of the most common reasons people visit healthcare providers.
The body also reacts to injury by mobilizing an inflammatory healing response. While inflammation sounds minor, it can cause severe pain.
Sitting at Your Desk Leads to Lower Back Pain
- The enemy of a healthy neck and back is prolonged sitting. Every 30 minutes, stand up or walk around briefly. Keep moving. It’s free!
- You want to adjust your chair height is so that your eyes are level with the top of the monitor and make sure your keyboard is straight in front of you, not to the side.
- Sit up in your chair so that your bottom and shoulder blades are in contact with the backrest, which is fully supporting you. If you have back pain, you may find it helps to place a small rolled-up towel in the small of your back for support. Avoid crossing your legs. Avoid slouching.
Treatments for Low Back Pain
Low back pain usually gets better with rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain relievers. After a few days of rest, you can start to get back to your normal activities. Staying active increases blood flow to the area and helps you heal.
Many studies have concluded that manual therapies commonly used by chiropractors are generally effective for the treatment of low back pain, as well as for treatment of lumbar herniated disc for radiculopathy, and neck pain, among other conditions.
A 2018 study published in JAMA Network Open weighed in on chiropractic treatment for low back pain. Researchers enrolled 750 active-duty military personnel who complained of back pain. Half were randomly assigned to receive usual care (including medications, self-care, and physical therapy) while the other half received usual care plus up to 12 chiropractic treatments. After six weeks of treatment, those assigned to receive chiropractic care reported less pain intensity, experienced less disability and more improvement in function, reported higher satisfaction with their treatment, needed less pain medicine. While no serious side effects were reported, about 10% of those receiving chiropractic care described adverse effects (mostly stiffness in the joints or muscles). Five percent of those receiving usual care had similar complaints.