Lower Back Pain – Know Its Symptoms and Treatment!

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By Dr. Kartik Kohli , General Physician

Lumbago or back pain is a condition which is characterized by mild to serious pain or uneasiness in the lower back region. Lower back pain is more prevalent in youth whose work includes physical exertion and is also common in individuals of retiring age. The pain might be acute (sudden and extreme) or chronic if it has endured over three months.

Symptoms of Back Pain Include:

  1. Loss of weight
  2. Stiff back
  3. Difficulty in urinating
  4. Numbness in legs
  5. Sciatica, which is the pain occurring in hips, legs and thighs. This occurs due to a compression in a slip or intervertebral disc in the back, which leads to a pinched nerve.

Some tools that can be utilized for diagnosing back pain include CT Scans, X-rays, Myelogram and MRI scans.

Who’s at Risk for Low Back Pain?

Most people get their first taste of low back pain in their 30s. The odds of additional attacks increase with age. Other reasons your low back may hurt include:

  • Being overweight
  • Inactive lifestyle
  • Jobs that require heavy lifting

Treatment-

Factors such as type and severity of pain as well as the patient’s history can help in determining the type of treatment that can be administered. In most cases, the recovery time is usually six weeks without surgery. Exercises for relieving back pain are a common component of a treatment plan. Typical treatment of back pain includes use of muscle relaxants, pain killers and physiotherapy. Surgery is suggested in severe cases. Some other treatments are discussed below:

  1. Heat and Ice-packs: Both heat and ice therapy are used to reduce inflammation and it is done according to the patient’s preference.
  2. Rest: A period of rest and no activity would help the injured tissues to recuperate, thus relieving back pain. However, extended periods of rest lead to weakening of muscles and hence, can prolong back pain.
  3. Medications: A large variety of prescription and over-the-counter medicines are available. Some reduce back pain caused by inflammation and others prevent the pain signals from travelling to the brain.

Preventing Low Back Pain-

  • There’s no sure way to prevent back pain as you age, but there are steps you can take to lower your risk:
  • Stay at a healthy weight.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Lift with your legs, not your back.
  • Make sure your work station position isn’t contributing to your pain.