Who has never felt an uncomfortable little pain in the lower back, right? In fact, experts believe that about 90% of the population has had or will suffer from low back pain at some point in life. Of these cases, 2 to 7% may progress to a chronic form of the disease, that is, that has no cure.
After all, even though it starts as a simple problem, due to physical effort, it can become something much more serious if left untreated. However, it is best to avoid this problem and not ignore the first signs.
So, in this post we present all the symptoms of low back pain, the treatments available and how to prevent it. Continue reading and know when and which doctor to look for!
What is low back pain?
Popularly, low back pain is also known as “lumbago”, “pain in the bedrooms” or just, “back pain”. This is pain in the lower back, which starts in the middle of the back and can extend to the buttocks and thighs.
In rare cases, low back pain may be accompanied by sciatica, which radiates from this area through the sciatic nerve in the thigh. Hence, it may appear accompanied by difficulty walking and moving the legs, as well as a tingling sensation.
The problem is one of the most common, being the second most frequent cause of going to the doctor. However, it is not the same for everyone. In addition to the variation in pain intensity, it can vary in two main ways:
- acute low back pain: it is a very severe pain, which appears through physical effort and persists for less than 6 weeks, and can be treated more easily;
- chronic low back pain: the pain continues for more than 12 weeks in a row, and can be treated, returning recurrently.
What are the main symptoms?
The main symptom of low back pain is severe pain in the lower back – after the ribs and above the glutes. But it is not always perceived by people in the same way, and other symptoms may appear, such as:
- muscle stiffness;
- tingling and swelling;
- difficulty walking;
- inability to stand for a long time;
- need to seek new positions to sit or sleep constantly.
Why does it occur?
Low back pain arises mainly from poor posture and a great physical effort. There may also be trauma or deformity. It can also happen in men and women, of all ages.
Therefore, it is necessary to be very attentive to situations and risk factors, such as dragging furniture at home, carrying more weight than you should at the gym, falls or even the position to lie down and get up while sleeping.
In any case, it is very important to investigate the causes in order to know what is the best treatment and how to avoid it. Some cases and diseases that can cause or worsen back pain:
- bad posture;
- repetitive efforts;
- sedentary lifestyle ;
- extra weight during pregnancy;
- minor trauma and falls;
- osteoporosis in the spine;
- spinal arthrosis;
- osteophytosis (parrot’s beak);
- rheumatoid arthritis;
- myofascial syndrome;
- local infection;
- herniated disc;
- obesity or overweight;
- ankylosing spondylitis;
- non-ergonomic position at work ;
- tumor in the spine or lumbar region.
How is the diagnosis made?
The diagnosis of low back pain is usually made from a good conversation with the patient, to identify the causes. Then, a physical examination is carried out, observing the general state of the spine and lumbar.
The doctor who performs this type of consultation is usually an orthopedist. It can also be a professional from another specialty ( gynecologist , geriatrician or general practitioner, for example) depending on the reasons that led the person to seek help.
The specialist can order additional imaging tests, such as ultrasound, x-ray, computed tomography and even an MRI. This will depend a lot on the causes, since low back pain can originate in different ways.
In the physical examination itself, it is already possible to identify an infection, compression of a nerve, herniated disc, parrot’s beak or even a fracture. X-rays and other imaging tests are most recommended when the pain persists for more than six weeks and you cannot see any changes right away.
What are the ways to treat?
Treatment will also vary according to the causes of low back pain. For example, if it is the result of an infection, you need to treat it with specific antibiotics. However, in most cases, the doctor indicates anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxants and pain relievers.
When low back pain is chronic, the doctor can prescribe physiotherapy sessions, in addition to recommending practices such as yoga, pilates and global postural reeducation (RPG). Some moderate exercise can help strengthen your lower back.
How to prevent the problem?
In addition to helping with treatment, these same physical activities help prevent low back pain by increasing muscle tone. By the way, a sedentary lifestyle is one of the main causes of low back pain, since the region may not support an effort, however small.
But the best form of prevention is to adopt a correct posture at all times. Spine overload should always be avoided, especially in everyday activities. For example, it is good to pay attention to the position in the office, when driving, when watching television and when sleeping.
Another very important point is that self-medication should always be avoided . When taking a medication , such as an anti-inflammatory or painkiller, even if a prescription is not needed, a problem can be masked. That is, by resolving the symptom, you can hide a serious illness , such as an infection or tumor.
Therefore, the best thing is to see a doctor as soon as the pains appear and, especially, if they persist for a few weeks. Not to mention the importance of adopting healthy habits and an adequate routine in relation to posture and exercise. Surely your back and your health will thank you!