lower back pain

Lower Back Pain

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Lower back pain symptoms vary from person to person and differ depending on the cause of the injury. Your pain may be dull or sharp, it may be consistent or come and go. Pain can even extend into your buttock or leg.

It’s often the slightest pull that can halt your daily activities leaving you unable to do the smallest of tasks, such as going to work or taking care of the kids.

When pain becomes chronic, it can impact your emotions. How you cope with your lower back pain, and whether you get the right treatment, will determine how quickly you recover. Here is some information of the causes, symptoms and treatment for lower back pain, to help you prevent further injury and get back on your feet.

What can cause lower back pain?

Lower back pain (LBP) or lumbago is a condition involving the muscles and bones of the back. A sore lower back can occur suddenly, in many cases the cause relates to ‘untrained’ muscles or unfamiliar movements.

Pain in the lower back can be caused by a variety of problems within the complex, interconnected network of spinal muscles, nerves, bones, discs or tendons in the lumbar spine.

Pain, tension or stiffness in the lower back is something that most of us experience at some stage, and in many cases it settles down after a few days.

Typical sources of lower back pain may include:

  • Irritation of the large nerve roots that connect the lower back with the legs
  • Inflammation of the smaller nerves that supply the lower back
  • Straining of the large paired lower back muscles (erector spinae)
  • Damaged bones, ligaments or joints 

Symptoms of Lower Back Pain

Symptoms include blunt pain in the lower back that starts after activity, sudden movement, or lifting heavy objects. Lower back pain can also be described as a combination of the following:

  • Difficulty moving that can be severe enough to prevent walking or standing
  • Pain that also moves around to the groin, buttock or upper thigh, but rarely travels below the knee
  • Pain that tends to be achy and dull
  • Severe muscle spasms
  • Localised soreness upon touch

Preventing Lower Back Pain

After you have experienced lower back pain once, the pain may return if you are not pro-active. Here are some ways you can strengthen your back.

To avoid further problems:

  • Exercise regularly to keep your back and stomach muscles strong. An inactive lifestyle will contribute to lower back pain.
  • Alternate sitting positions and take regular breaks to stretch if you are seated for a long period of time. Try this short exercise to relieve lower back discomfort from sitting.
  • Observe whether psychological factors, such as stress, might be the cause of your back pain.
  • Stretch before doing exercise, especially for movements that require quick reflexes.
  • If you’re doing chores that require lifting or bending the knees, getting as close as you can to the item while lifting.