All About Low back Pain
Low back pain (LBP) is the most common reason for Doctor/physiotherapist visits, which affects nearly 70-80% of people throughout their lifetime. The lifetime prevalence of low back pain is reported to be as high as 84%, and the prevalence of chronic low back pain is about 23%.
Acute low back pain is an episode which lasts less than 4- 6 weeks, Sub-acute lasts between 6 and 12 weeks while chronic low back pain for 3 months or more.
Ones ability to sit, stand, walk and lift leg is tested with rating of the pain score from zero to 10. This assessment is essential to rule out more serious cause of back pain too. To make a specific diagnosis, the doctor might order following tests:
- MRI or CT scans. These diagnose Disc prolapse, or problems of bones, muscles, tissue, tendons, nerves, ligaments and blood vessels
- Blood tests. are necessary to rule out infection or serious condition
- Bone scan. In rare cases, bone scan is used to look for bone tumors or compression fractures caused by osteoporosis.
- Nerve studies. This test can confirm nerve compression caused by herniated disks or narrowing of your spinal canal (spinal stenosis).
Acute back pain generally gets better with medication and rest. After few weeks discomfort persists but the sharp pain generally subsides. Only a few have significant pain remaining.
For acute back pain, Pain killers and heat therapy will relieve most of it. Complete Bed rest is not recommended. After the severe pain subsides, physiotherapy is recommended for a few weeks to help improve the muscle tone and reduce discomfort. Stop activity that increases pain, but don’t avoid activity out of fear of pain.
Depending on the type of back pain you have, your doctor might recommend the following:
- Pain relievers. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen ( or naproxen sodium , might relieve acute back pain. Be cautious as overuse can cause serious side effects.
- Muscle relaxants. muscle relaxant may help but can cause dizziness
- Antidepressants. Low doses of certain types of antidepressants — particularly tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline — have been shown to relieve some types of chronic back pain independent of their effect on depression.
- Injections. In uncommon cases, epidural injections of steroid and local anaesthetic can reduce I inflammation around the nerve roots.
Physical therapy and exercise
A physical therapist can apply a variety of treatments, such as heat, ultrasound, electrical stimulation and muscle-release techniques, to your back muscles and soft tissues to reduce pain. As pain improves, the therapist can teach you exercises to increase your flexibility, strengthen your back and abdominal muscles, and improve your posture. Regular use of these techniques can help keep pain from returning.
Sometimes, surgery becomes a necessity for few if progressive muscle weakness is observed due to nerve compression. Otherwise, surgery usually is reserved for pain related to structural problems, such as narrowing of the spine (spinal stenosis) or a herniated disk, that hasn’t responded to other therapy.
WHY EXERCISE IS NEEDED TO CURE LOW BACK PAIN ?
The spine and its muscles are the main strength of the human body. The bones of the spine when pressed from top to bottom can only take around 35 pounds of pressure. We all weigh much more than that. That means the actual weight is not borne by the spine bones but by the muscles surrounding it. Therefore, by getting the muscles right, we take the pressure off the spine and we make the spine a lot more durable.
Exercises of the spine need to be consistent. We should plan to do at least ten to fifteen minutes of exercises on a relatively daily basis to strengthen the muscles.
TIPS TO AVOID LOW BACK PAIN
- Don’t lie on same posture for longer period of time except sleeping.
- No posture is perfect for you, because body need comfort, whichever posture gives you comfort ,be comfortable in that but change of posture is needed.
- Do daily exercise on regular basis but not in fatigue.
- Housework is work , not at all is exercise, so don’t compare your exercise with hose work.
- Don’t try to learn exercises from other sources , always do exercise under the guidance of experts.