Low back pain is one of the major reasons why a person remains absent from work or faces disability. A 2020 study report published in the Annals of Translation Medicine highlights this fact.
Injuries and strain are the most common reasons for lower back pain injury. However, certain medical conditions and aging can be major factors in causing pain in the lower back.
A person suffering from acute lower back pain can face the discomfort for a few weeks. However, when the lower back pain becomes chronic, it can continue for more than four months.
Here is a complete overview of the reasons, symptoms, and methods to get rid of lower back pain at home.
Why Does Low Back Pain Happen?
There are many factors that trigger low back pain. While we all can understand how injuries and strains can lead to direct back pain, some underlying conditions or unknown reasons exist behind the discomfort. Let’s have a look.
Muscle Strain And Ligament Sprain
Muscle strains and sprains are common reasons you develop lower back pain suddenly or over time.
Strains happen when a muscle gets stretched beyond a point and gets torn or damaged. On the other hand, spraining occurs when the ligaments get affected due to excessive stretching of muscles.
Many factors lead to straining and spraining. Lifting a heavy object, poor body posture, accidents or falls, and sports injuries can cause lower back pain.
If treated properly, lower back pain caused by these reasons can be alleviated. Don’t leave them untreated if you don’t want the pain to become chronic.
When your spinal curvature is 10 degrees or more, your muscles, tendons, vertebrae, and ligaments will feel high pressure. As a result, you can experience lower back pain and a deteriorated posture over time.
Common spinal deformities that cause lower back pain are scoliosis, lordosis, and kyphosis.
These conditions are usually diagnosed in infants, children, or adolescents. However, these deformities can occur in adults if not diagnosed in childhood. Also, aging people can suffer from these deformities due to deterioration in bone and muscle health.
The discs in the lower back can injured easily, and the chances of injury increase with age. When there is a tear outside the discs, those are called herniated discs.
You may be more familiar with the term slipped disc, another name for herniated discs. These discs are also known as ruptured discs.
Slipped discs are caused by the compression of nerve roots, caused by the exit of cushioning between the vertebrae from the vertebrae or spinal cord. The cartilage surrounding the disc “pushes against the nerve roots or spinal root” to extend the cushioning between the vertebrae.
The degeneration of discs between the vertebrae can cause spinal stenosis. In this condition, discs or bony spurs compress the spinal cord or nerve roots.
As a result, the spaces in the spinal cord become less, and the spinal cord or spinal nerves experience excess strains.
As your spinal nerves get compressed, you will experience weakness, numbness, cramps, and lower back pain.
Your spine is connected to the legs through the sciatic nerve. If a herniated or ruptured disc compresses the sciatic nerve, you can experience low back pain and pain in your legs and feet.
Musculoskeletal Pain Caused By Different Conditions
Musculoskeletal pain caused by various conditions can trigger low back pain along with other symptoms/discomforts.
Musculoskeletal pain can happen due to a variety of medical conditions.
Arthritis, or the inflammation of joints, is one of the major reasons behind musculoskeletal pain that causes lower back pain. Spondylosis is a form of arthritis that causes deterioration in the structure and functioning of the spinal system. Another form of arthritis, spondylitis, is an autoimmune disease that can cause low back pain.
Moreover, musculoskeletal pain caused by fibromyalgia can induce low back pain. Fibromyalgia affects tendons, muscles, and joints.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome is another reason why you experience lower back pain. In fact, it is one of the conditions when you can suffer from lower back pain and diarrhea at the same time.
However, if you want to know the reasons for “low back pain diarrhea,” there can be other reasons like appendicitis, fecal impaction, kidney infections, pancreatic cancer, enteropathic arthritis, etc.
So, if you face both symptoms together, consult a physician immediately.
Other Medical Conditions
Certain other medical conditions can contribute to low back pain. These include kidney infections, various kidney and bladder problems, ovarian cysts, endometritis, spinal cord misalignment, uterine fibroids, and pregnancy.
Who Are Most Likely To Suffer From Low Back Pain?
Low back pain is not an uncommon condition. But certain groups of people are at more risk of getting affected by it.
Mental Health Condition
You probably did not know that depression and pain have a problematic cycle. Depression can cause low back pain and many other unexplained symptoms. At the same time, when you have low back pain, you can feel more depressed.
Anxiety and stress are other mental conditions that increase the risk of low back pain. When you are anxious, the muscles across your body can get tensed, causing lower back pain.
When you are stressed, there will be a change in your breathing pattern, and your body will be in a fight mode to combat danger. Further, when you are under stress, the secretion of cortisol and adrenaline hormones will create tension in your entire body. Thus, you can experience low back pain.
I have already shared how the discs in the spine get torn or worn out with age. So, as you cross the threshold of 30, you may start experiencing low back pain.
Pre-Existing Medical Conditions
If you already have diseases like IBS, osteoarthritis, cancers, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, etc., you are likely to experience low back pain.
Overall Health Condition Of People
If your abdominal muscles become weak over time, they can put you at higher risk of developing a low back pain.
Being Overweight Or Obese
If you are overweight or obese, there will be extra pressure on your joints and discs. So, you are at a greater risk of developing low back pain.
People In Specific Occupations And Lifestyle
Your occupation may be a reason why you suffer from low back pain. If your job involves bending and lifting heavy objects frequently, you can experience low back pain due to straining and spraining.
However, if your job needs you to remain seated for long hours, you can develop pain in your lower back.
Talking about lifestyles, excessive smoking, alcohol intake, and sedentary habits can increase your risk of developing low back pain.
If one already has structural problems like scoliosis, you are at a greater risk of having low back pain.
What Are The Symptoms Of Low Back Pain?
Low back pain comes with many symptoms. The intensity and occurrence of the pain will differ. Sometimes, the pain may be sharp, and the pain can also be dull or numbing in different cases.
Pain can be induced immediately during or after certain activities, like bending over or lifting some heavy objects. You may even feel pain in your lower pack without understanding its actual reason.
Starting from your lower back, the pain can reach your legs, too.
Along with pain, the following symptoms related to low back pain can also make you feel uncomfortable.
If the muscles in your lower back feel strained, they will contract as a coping mechanism. This is called muscle spasm.
The intensity of your low back pain will shoot up with muscle spasms. So, it will be difficult for you to sit, walk or stand properly.
Stiffness is a condition where your mobility is affected. So, you may find it difficult to get up after being seated for long.
If stiffness increases in such conditions, only a brief walk or stretching can help.
Low back pain can impact your posture to a great extent. Usually, one should have a straight posture while standing. But with low back pain, your standing posture may become a little crooked or bent.
Crookedness happens when a person suffers from low back pain. The torso does not remain aligned with the spinal cord. The torso gets sideward bent.
How To Alleviate Low Back Pain?
A Harvard Health Publishing says that 80% of people suffer from low back pain at some point in their lives. However, you can alleviate pain and improve your posture affected by the same with certain measures.
Low Back Pain Massage Can Help
Massage is an excellent method to get rid of low back pain. However, remember that you only opt for massage therapy from a certified professional.
Two types of massages can greatly help combat low back pain.
The technique most effective in this context is soft tissue or structural massage. Structural or soft tissue massage alleviates musculoskeletal problems.
Relaxation massage in circulation motions, including strokes and kneading, can also help to combat low back pain.
Will A Low Back Pain Brace Work?
Yes, a brace will work when you suffer from low back pain. It supports the ligaments, joints, and muscles and helps them become more stable.
Also, as you wear a brace in lower back pain, your muscles will offer better support to the spinal column. As a result, you will feel less stress on your spine.
In addition, when you wear a brace, heat is radiated from it. That heat works in offering some relief to your tensed muscles and pain.
Bracing really helps when you have low back pain caused by muscle straining or ruptured discs. People with spinal deformities like scoliosis are often treated with braces to improve the spinal curvature.
Wear Right Shoes For Low Back Pain
If you choose your shoes right, you will be able to combat your low back pain better. These shoes are responsive and supportive.
To put it simply, if you wear the right shoes, your back, knees, ankles, and hips will be in good health, and their functionalities will be enhanced.
Use A Low Back Pain Heating Pad
You can use a heating pad for compressing and helping the muscles to have reduced tension. Thus, your lower back pain can be alleviated. Heat compress also promotes better blood circulation. So, healing will be faster.
A heating compress can reduce swelling, and at the same time, a cold compress can minimize inflammation. So, you can try a combination of both to get rid of low back pain.
Maintain A Moderate Weight
If you are overweight or obese, your spine is strained. The spine gets tilted in the process of dealing with the extra weight you carry.
Excessive straining of the spine is definitely a major cause of low back pain. So, maintain a moderate weight and lose pounds through proper exercise and dieting.
Certain medical conditions can also aid in excessive weight gain. So, consult a doctor fast if you have pre-existing medical conditions.
Smoking hinders the flow of blood to the discs in your spine or vertebrae. As a result, they become prone to degeneration. Disc degeneration or herniated discs can cause low back pain.
Smoking also induces back pain by reducing calcium absorption in our bodies. When our bodies do not absorb calcium in adequate amounts, the bones or nails become weak, and they don’t grow properly.
As a result, you can develop osteoporosis, which is a medical condition associated with the risk of having low back pain.
Be Careful About Lifting Heavy Items
Don’t be impulsive or have an “I Can do it all” attitude while lifting heavy items. Understand how much weight you can lift comfortably and when you need to seek help.
The best mechanism to lift heavy items safely is using the leg muscles instead of putting much pressure on the muscles of your lower back.
Use Medicated Ointments And Creams
Medicated ointments, creams, and even patches can be of great help in dealing with low back pain. With topical application of these, the pain will go away quickly.
If there is soreness or stiffness in your back, you can apply them. Most effective ointments or creams to get rid of back pain come with lidocaine, menthol, or camphor.
These ingredients impart a sense of numbness immediately after application. The heating or cooling effects of these ingredients also help in relieving swelling or inflammation.
If you want to reduce pain and inflammation in lower back pain, taking certain supplements can be a great idea. However, these supplements should be taken in adequate doses and only if they don’t interact with your pre-existing medical conditions or medicines you already take.
The following supplements can help you get rid of low back pain naturally.
- Vitamin D
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Devil’s claw
- Glucosamine and chondroitin
Exercises are helpful in dealing with low back pain in two ways. First of all, exercise can promote muscle building and make them stronger.
At the same time, exercises can promote a faster healing process if you have low back pain.
However, if you don’t have a proper exercise routine or have been missing it for quite some time, it is always better to take one step at a time.
Start with walking, cycling, or simple cardio exercises, and then you can definitely switch to more advanced physical activities that can help you combat low back pain.
Nevertheless, stretching is the most beneficial exercise if you want to improve your low back pain. Here are some stretching techniques you can follow.
Trunk rotation strengthens the muscles of your abdomen, back, and those surrounding the pelvis. Also, it releases the tension in the muscles of your lower back.
Knee To Chest Stretch
You can try some knee-to-chest stretch to combat low back pain. This exercise lengthens the lower back and releases tension from the muscles in the lower back.
Pelvic tilt, seated hamstring stretch, and flexion rotation are some other stretching techniques to try if you have low back pain.
Try OTC Medications For Pain Management
If you have severe low back pain and you need to get quick relief, you can try the over-the-counter pain-relieving medicines.
You can take acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce inflammation and aches in low back problems.
However, too much consumption of pain-relieving medicines can lead to digestive and kidney problems.
So, if you need to take these medicines frequently because of the low back pain, you should consult a doctor first.
Try Physical Therapies
Different physical therapies can help you to reduce or heal spraining and straining in your spinal muscles, bones, and nerves.
If you have been suffering from low back pain for quite some time now, you can definitely find a certified physical therapist.
Following physical therapies are commonly used to alleviate or heal low back pain.
- Muscle relaxation therapy
- Heat therapy
- Ultrasound therapy
- Electrical stimulation therapy
These therapies alleviate the stiffness, spasms, and pain in lower back problems. At the same time, they help you to become more mobile.
So, with these therapies, your posture is likely to improve. At the same time, these therapies will keep your abdominal muscles strong.
Chiropractic Methods Can Help
Chiropractic is a manipulation method widely used in healing low back pain. If you suffer from low back pain for a few months, try this technique.
However, always ensure to consult a certified chiropractor as the wrong techniques or therapies can further aggravate the condition.
Expert and experienced chiropractor in Singapore assist to apply different techniques so that the spine is moved through its complete range of movement.
Take Part In Stress Management Activities
Stress and low back pain are closely related. The secretion of cortisol hormone in stress makes the muscles in your lower back tense. There is also a change in your breathing pattern.
So, if you want to manage your low back pain, you will need to take part in stress management activities.
Stress management activities can include meditation, yoga, counseling, listening to music, and mindfulness-based stress reduction therapy.
Change Your Diet Plan
It is observed that people who have a certain food intake pattern are at greater risk of having low back pain.
Usually, people who take fruits, whole grains, and dairy products in lesser amounts become subject to low back pain. Similarly, if you consume high sugar on a regular basis, your spinal health will be affected.
Nevertheless, here are some anti-inflammatory food items you can include in your diet to better manage your back pain.
- Black pepper
- Green tea
- Fiber-rich food
- Whole grains
- Green leafy vegetables
- Ginger and turmeric
- Fruits, etc.
You can exclude the following food items from your diet to reduce the risk of inflammation and low back pain.
- Red meat
- Excessive dairy products
- Saturated and trans fats
- Refined flour
- Food items with gluten
Consult an expert dietician to know about the right diet plan for you. Diet plans can never be generic and must be made according to a person’s weight, height, and medical conditions.
Low back pain is not an uncommon condition, and many people suffer from this, affecting their regular movements and quality of life. However, this pain can indicate some really serious medical conditions that demand immediate attention.
Barring straining and spraining, ruptured discs, sciatica, arthritis, IBS, malignancy, and other health issues can cause low back pain. You can alleviate the symptoms of pain, stiffness, and spasms with some positive changes in your lifestyle and with the help of physical therapies.
So, do some stretching, eat right, and try to manage stress to get some relief. You can even try physical therapies, chiropractic methods, or massages to restore mobility and better spinal health.
Be active and stay healthy!