What is Lower Back Pain?
Lower back pain, also known as lumbar pain, is a condition that affects many people at some point in their lives. The pain can be in one or all of the following regions: middle, right side and/or left side of the low back. Pain from the low back can also radiate (travel) into the buttocks, groin, sacroiliac joints, hips, legs, and feet.
Causes of Lower Back Pain
- Injury – motor vehicle collisions, slip and falls, sports-related injuries, direct trauma, high-risk movements subjecting the back to injury that involved bending, lifting, and twisting
- Bulging discs and Herniated discs
- Strain, sprain of muscles and ligaments
- Aging – osteoarthritis, and degeneration of the vertebrae
- Obesity – due to additional stress exerted on the lower spine
- Illness or infection: some disease processes can be associated with low back pain so it is important to rule out more serious causes of low back pain with your physician in certain circumstances.
Symptoms Associated with Spine Related Lower Back Pain Problems
- Pain, sharp, shooting, dull, aching in the back
- Pain or difficulty with bending, lifting, and twisting at the waist
- Pain or difficulty with standing, sitting, or walking for extended periods
- Numbness and tingling in the legs
- Weakness in one or both legs
- New bladder control problems
- New bowel control problems
Diagnosis and Treatment of Lower Back Pain
Consult a physician if your lower back pain persists for more than a couple of weeks with self-care such as gentle stretching, rest, ice/heat, and over-the-counter medications. Your physician may order prescription medications such as muscle relaxers, topical pain relievers, and narcotic pain relievers. The physical may also order diagnostic tests such as x-rays, a CT Scan, and/or an MRI. Treatment options such as physical therapy, chiropractic care, acupuncture, pain injections, and possibly surgery may also be discussed with you.
Contact your physician or dial 911 if your low back pain becomes severe and is associated with a recent unexplained weight loss, if your pain is paired with fever or recent illness, you develop a loss of bowel or bladder control, experience numbness in the genital area or weakness in one or both of your legs.