What are the causes of low back pain? Low back pain is a very common cause of doctor visits and the most common cause of work-related disability. Often the sudden movements when lifting heavy objects are the result of an injury, such as muscle sprains or strains caused by poor body mechanics. Backache; Spinal cancer may also be the result of certain diseases such as ruptured or herniated disc, sciatica, arthritis, kidney, or spinal infections. Optimal results are obtained when the treatment of low back pain is planned for a specific diagnosed or suspected cause. For acute back pain caused by lumbar strain, initial home applications may be beneficial. In this article, we have compiled low back pain and what are the causes of low back pain?
What is back pain?
Lumbar pain, or lumbago as it is used in medicine, is a general term used to describe any pain that occurs in the lumbar region. It is a common health problem that affects approximately 80% of adults and causes significant labor loss. Low back pain can be in the form of a sharp pain that appears suddenly, or it can be a dull, mild pain.
What causes back pain?
The functions of the lumbar region or lumbar region include structural support, movement, and protection of certain body tissues. Low back pain may be caused by the spinal bones, the discs between the vertebrae, the ligaments around the spine, the spinal cord and nerves, the muscles around the waist, the internal organs in the abdomen, and the skin covering the lumbar region.
Low Back Pain
Low back pain, aching, stinging, burning, or stinging may be felt as sharp or blunt. While its location can be determined as a point in some cases, in some cases it is scattered and its location cannot be determined exactly. It can be light or heavy and may fluctuate.
The pain may originate from bone, cartilage, muscle, joint capsule, ligament, disc, or vein, and the exact cause may not always be revealed. In some cases, although the underlying cause of the pain has disappeared, the pain may persist because the nerve endings that were once stimulated continue to send signals. Stress has an important place in the cause of low back pain, and it may make it difficult to identify the source.
Regardless of the tissue originating from low back pain, if the related tissues become displaced or enlarged and thicken and put pressure on the nerves, leg pain, numbness, warming, and urinary incontinence may occur.
What is Acute Low Back Pain?
These are pains that have existed for less than 6 weeks. It can start after a specific activity or accident, or it can be completely independent of the activity. 80% of people experience a severe back pain attack at least once in their lifetime. Most of the time, the pain subsides on its own. Almost half of them will recover completely within 2 weeks. In 6 weeks, back pain completely disappears in 80% of the people. 30% of people who once experience severe back pain will experience a recurrent attack/episodes or chronic pain.
What is Chronic Low Back Pain?
They are lower back pains that have existed for more than 3 months. Existing tissue irritation causes pain by stimulating the nerve endings in the environment. Inflammation and swelling that develop with the body’s response can also contribute to pain. In general, blood flow and oxygenation to the area have also decreased.
This situation makes it difficult to dispose of harmful waste in the area that causes pain. Potential sources of pain should be carefully researched to determine the appropriate treatment.
Low Back Pain and Activity
It is generally believed that you should avoid daily activities and spend time lying down. However, it is recommended to stay active ‘as tolerated’, especially in acute pain. Continuation of activity accelerates blood flow, reduces inflammation, and muscle tension.
People generally state that they feel better after simple cardio exercises such as walking. Activities such as weight lifting, racing, and contact sports should be avoided.
Cold or hot applications will be useful in different situations. The hot application can also increase the relaxation of the muscles. However, the contribution of these practices to long-term improvement has not been fully demonstrated.
Causes and Symptoms
Causes of low back pain: back pain is often the result of injury or inflammation of the ligaments, muscles, joints, and discs.
- Working in bad postures
- Lifting heavy objects and/or
- improper lifting
- Weak back muscles
- Sitting for a long time
- Back pain
- Pain in the leg (s)
- Burning/tingling sensation in
- the legs and/or feet
- Difficulty doing static activities such as standing or sitting
- Difficulty doing mobile activities such as running or lifting
What are the causes of low back pain?
Causes of low back pain: The most common causes of low back pain are back strain, nerve irritation, problems in the nerve roots coming out of the spinal cord, bone, and joint problems.
- Back strain. Straining the waist is an injury to the ligaments, tendons, or muscles in the area as a result of stretching. Stretching of the soft tissues in the area causes microscopic tears to varying degrees in the relevant structures. The strain is considered one of the most common causes of back pain.
- Nerve irritation. Nerves originating from the spine in the lumbar region can be irritated by mechanical pressure anywhere from their roots in the spinal cord to the skin surface. These conditions include disc disease, problems in the bones, and inflammation of the nerves due to shingles.
- Lumbar radiculopathy. Lumbar radiculopathy is nerve irritation caused by damage to the discs between the lumbar vertebrae. Damage to the disc is caused by wear and tear on the outer ring of the disc, traumatic injury, or both.
- Pressure on bones. Any condition that results in displacement or expansion of the lumbar vertebrae can limit the space for the adjacent spinal cord and nerves.
- Bone and joint conditions. Bone and joint conditions that cause low back pain; It can be caused by birth defects, wear, tear, injury, and joint inflammation. The most common congenital causes of low back pain are scoliosis and spina bifida. Scoliosis is the sideways curvature of the spine. Spina bifida is a birth defect characterized by an opening in the spine. It most commonly affects the lumbar spine and the top of the bone called the sacrum.
- Damage to bones and joints. Fractures of the lumbar vertebrae and sacrum are most common in elderly people with osteoporosis, especially in long-term cortisone medication. Even slight physical stress, such as bending over to tie the shoelaces, can cause fractures in these individuals.
- Arthritis. Spondyloarthropathies are types of inflammatory arthritis that can affect the lower back and hip joints. Spondyloarthropathies include reactive arthritis (Reiter’s disease), ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease arthritis.
Spinal fractures most frequently occur in the junction of the 12th back vertebra, which is the most mobile part of the spine, and the 1st lumbar vertebra. In young people, it generally occurs due to high-energy injuries such as falling from a height, traffic accident, firearm injury, while it can be seen even after low-energy traumas in elderly people with reduced bone density.
Frequently, only the anterior part of the spine is affected and is referred to as a compression fracture. Fracture of the middle and posterior parts of the spine is known as burst fracture and can cause partial or complete paralysis due to the pressure of the fractured parts on the spinal cord. If the load on the spine is higher, fractured dislocations may occur with the effect of the soft tissues holding the vertebrae together.
In spinal fractures, bone-strengthening can be performed with a corset, plaster, various cementing techniques, as well as open or closed surgery.
- Herniated disc
It occurs when the protective outer part of the disc between the vertebrae is torn and the disc is displaced and the nerves are compressed as a result of sudden or persistent severe strains in the lumbar region due to heavy lifting, prolonged bending, or staying in the same position, overweight, prolonged stress, too much birth.
Depending on the location and type of hernia, low back pain or leg pain may be more prominent. It may cause a restriction in mobility, shortening of walking distance, difficulty sitting, incontinence, and impotence.
- Stress fracture and slipped waist
Stress fractures called spondylolysis may develop with recurrent microtraumas as a result of increased mobility in the lower lumbar region. These fractures that do not heal for a long time are usually painful in youth, but may not cause problems in adult life.
Due to these stress fractures, the upper vertebra may shift forward relative to the lower one, causing a lumbar shift called spondylolisthesis. Lumbar slippage can also occur for other reasons than stress fractures.
- Lumbar Narrow Canal
The spinal cord passing through the spine carries sensation and strength to the legs. It controls urination and stool retention. Conditions such as a decrease in disc height, thickening of the bones, capsules or ligaments of the intervertebral joints, and slipped waist can narrow the diameter of the canal through which the spinal cord passes, causing spinal stenosis, that is, a narrow canal.
- The typical complaint is the loss of strength or sensation in the legs after walking a certain distance, or numbness, tingling. Since leaning forward and sitting increases the diameter of the canal, complaints may decrease or disappear. But it will repeat after walking a certain distance.
50-60% of spinal infections occur in the lumbar region. Smoking, nutritional disorders, obesity, diabetes, HIV, and various cancers increase the risk of spinal infections.
It can develop due to bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Spinal bones, discs, nerve membranes called dura and surrounding tissues may be affected.
Spine infections can also develop after previous spine surgery. The presence of ongoing discharge from the wound in the early or late postoperative period, redness, tenderness at the wound site, and signs such as fever may be signs of spine infection.
It can be of bone, soft tissue, or nerve origin. It can be benign or malignant. It may arise primarily from the cells that make up the spine and spinal cord, or it can come from a tumor in a different part of the body (breast, prostate, etc.) and this condition is called metastasis.
Depending on the location and type, it may only be necessary to remove the tumor itself or with the surrounding intact tissue. Fixation with metallic implants, using cages and cement may also be necessary.
Osteoporosis, rheumatic diseases, reflected pain, stress, and various metabolic conditions can also be the cause of low back pain.
What is good for low back pain?
Low back pain is a common health problem that can significantly affect a person’s work and personal life. Fortunately, there are many applications that can be done at home to ease back pain.
With back pain, it can be difficult to stand up and move around. However, a short walk, yoga, swimming, or any other moderate sporting activity can often help relieve back pain. Exercise relaxes tense muscles and stimulates the release of endorphins, the brain’s natural pain relievers. People with chronic low back pain may consider starting a regular exercise program that includes strength and stretching exercises to help keep muscles flexible and strong. Regular exercise can prevent the recurrence of back pain caused by tense and weak muscles.
HOT AND COLD APPLICATION
Studies have shown that the most effective ways to get rid of low back pain are the application of hot and cold. It is useful to apply ice to the area immediately after the injury for back pain that develops due to waist strain. When the ice pack wrapped in a towel is applied to the painful area, the acute inflammation caused by the injury regresses. The cold can also relieve sudden and intense back pain. During the application, the ice should be wrapped in a towel or cloth to protect the skin from freezing. It is recommended to apply for a maximum of 20 minutes at a time. It is the most correct application to apply cold in the acute period, which is the first 48 hours, and then hot. Temperature adjustment should be done well in order not to burn the skin.
Various stretching movements can help relieve back and back pain. Each stretching application below should be continued for 30 seconds or as long as the person feels comfortable.
Touching the toes: Leaning forward to touch the toes helps reduce the tension in the lower back muscles by stretching the muscles in the back of the thigh, called the hamstring.
Cobra posture: While lying in the prone position, support is taken from the hands, and the chest and head are lifted to see the ceiling.
Child posture: Sitting in a kneeling position. The head is placed on the ground by reaching out forward. Arms are extended in front of your head.
The working area should be ergonomically designed to protect the health of the spine. Thus, one does not have to lean forward or sit hunched over to see the computer monitor or use the mouse. In addition, a table and chair should be used that support the waist and allow the feet to be firmly on the floor.
WEARING LOW-HEELED SHOES
It is necessary to avoid using high heels to protect the spine and waist health. Instead, shoes with heels lower than 2.5 centimeters should be preferred. Because those with high heels affect the spine health negatively by causing a more unstable posture and increasing the pressure on the lumbar vertebrae.
Prevention: Causes of low back pain:
LBP can be prevented by using a number of strategies. Regular exercise to keep your muscles flexible and strong can reduce your chances of getting LBP and other common ailments in Canadians. By building muscle strength through exercise, your muscles can better support your spine and eliminate some of the causes of LBP. Correct posture also helps prevent back pain by reducing the tension in the ligaments and muscles in and around your spine. Talk to a physical therapist to discover more tips and techniques on how to safely improve your lifestyle to reduce your chances of experiencing LBP.
- Take frequent breaks – get up and walk around as often as possible
- Stay physically active outside of work by walking, running, cycling, or participating in other activities
- Support the lower curve of your waist while sitting
- Be aware of your posture
- Lift objects close to the body and avoid twisting
- Get quality sleep, manage stress and overall health
- Yawn as often as possible throughout the day
- Sample extensions can be found here
Postural Considerations for Electronic Use
Causes of low back pain: It is well known that good posture is important for joint and muscle health. Do you think about your stance while using technology? When using technology, we tend to hunch our back and shoulders, bend our necks to look at our screens, and sit in the same position for long periods of time. All these bad posture shows can negatively affect our health.
Tips for Healthy Electronic Use:
- Take frequent breaks
- Stand up, walk, move and stretch
- Set a timer to remind you to get up and move
- Be aware of your posture
- Place your ears over your shoulders and your shoulders over your hips
- Your ankles, knees, and hips should be at a 90 ° angle
- Use a mirror or photo for reference
- Upgrade your screens
- Bring your device to chest height to straighten your back
- Use a pillow or tablet/phone stand to keep your head upright
- Find a partner.
- Get your device.
- Have your partner take a photo while you are using your device.
- Things to pay attention to:
- Is your head in line with your shoulders or is it shifted forward?
- Did you lean forward?
- Are your feet flat on the ground?
- Change your partner’s stance and evaluate it! Discuss how you could both improve.
What should you do if you have back pain?
- Stay active as much as you can tolerate
- Avoid bed rest – movement is good for your back
- Apply heat and/or ice for 10-15 minutes
When to see a physical therapist:
- When your back pain disrupts your sleep and daily routine
- When you can’t manage your back pain
- You experience the following changes:
- Changes in emotion (numbness, tingling, burning)
- Change in the bowel and/or urine control
- Pain that radiates to the legs and toes away from the back
- Morning stiffness that has been present for more than an hour.
How does low back pain go?
Various complementary medicine treatment methods can be preferred to get relief from low back pain. Treatments used for this purpose include:
- Acupuncture. It is a complementary medicine method based on the principle of releasing energy by inserting extremely thin and sterilized needles into special points in the body. It can be useful in dealing with back pain.
- Spinal manipulation. It is an application performed by trained personnel in this field by applying pressure directly to the body to correct the spine alignment.
- Massage. Massage can be applied by a physiotherapist to relax aching muscles.
Movement therapies such as yoga and Tai Chi can help stretch and strengthen the back muscles.
- PRP. It is applied by injecting the blood product rich in platelets, obtained from the person’s own blood, into the area to be treated. Especially effective results can be obtained in back pain due to disc disease. PRP injections accelerate the healing of the damage in the discs between the vertebrae.
- Prolotherapy injections. Prolotherapy is a complementary medicine method that aims to accelerate cell growth and tissue healing through the body’s natural mechanisms by injecting dextrose or a similar irritant agent. It has been used for over 50 years to treat chronic back pain. Prolotherapy is often combined with other methods such as spinal manipulation, exercise, and corticosteroid injections to maximize the effect of the injections.
What can a physical therapist do for me?
Physiotherapists are trained to help you prevent, manage, or recover from LBP. They can evaluate and diagnose LBP and write appropriate exercises to help you feel like you again! Physiotherapy programs can be customized to focus on your specific needs. Physiotherapists can help you set goals and achieve them. Accessing physiotherapy immediately after the onset of LBP can increase your chances of resolving pain, improve your long-term health, and greatly improve your quality of life. If you are experiencing LBP or want to learn more, contact a local physical therapist today!