Lower back pain is one of the most commonly complained-about ailments, with around four out of every five reporting this pain at some point in their lives. The lower back, also known as the lumbar spine, is a structure of interconnecting bones, joints, nerves, ligaments, and muscles that all work together. The lower back provides support, strength, and flexibility and ultimately helps keep us upright. Still, due to the complex nature of our lumbar spine, it can be susceptible to injury and pain. In this blog, we’re taking a closer look at potential causes of your lower back pain and sharing viable solutions.
Muscle and Ligament Strains
Lower back pain is often a result of muscle or ligament strain or sprains that can occur suddenly or develop slowly over time. A muscle strain happens when the muscle is stretched too far, which causes a tear. A muscle sprain occurs when over-stretching and tearing cause damage to the ligaments, which help connect the bones. Some of the most common causes of lower back sprains and strains include:
- Lifting a heavy object or lifting with improper form, like twisting the spine while lifting
- Sudden movements that put too much pressure on the lower back, such as an accident, or a fall
- Repeating a specific movement over a prolonged period of time
- Poor posture
- Sports injuries, especially high-impact sports like football or sports that require twisting
Chronic Back Pain Conditions
The body’s natural healing process for lower back injuries can take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks. When pain in the lower back persists for longer than three months, the pain can be classified as chronic and may involve more issues than just a sprain or a strain. Causes of chronic back pain may include:
- Problems with discs: Lumbar degenerative disc disease and lumbar herniated disc are two different conditions that may lead to herniation or inflammation
- Problems with joints: Facet joint dysfunction, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, and osteoarthritis all target the joints, leading to lower back pain
- Fractures: Trauma may cause acute fractures or dislocations that lead to pain, and osteoporosis may even lead to a compression fracture over time
Lower Back Pain Treatment Options
Early treatment options for back pain align with early treatment recommendations for other sports injuries. The first course of action typically calls for rest, ice and heat therapy, and over-the-counter pain relievers. Cold packs and pain relievers both work to reduce inflammation, while hot water bottles and heating pads improve blood flow. Depending on the cause of your lower back pain, light stretching can also be therapeutic, but it’s important to consult a doctor to determine the root cause of the issue first.
If back pain does not improve over time, then you may require additional treatments. At Paris Orthopedic Specialists, we believe in exhausting all non-surgical treatments whenever possible, so if you are experiencing lower back pain, physical therapy, back braces, and steroid injections may be able to help. While injections and prescription-strength pain relievers may temporarily reduce pain, physical therapy can help identify and treat the underlying cause of the pain. If you have been experiencing chronic back pain, contact a provider at Paris Orthopedics to learn more about suitable treatment options.
Consult an Orthopedic Specialist
The team at Paris Orthopedics and Sports Medicine is dedicated to helping our patients recover from a wide range of orthopedic conditions. Our services include general orthopedic medicine, joint replacement, sports injury treatment, and osteoporosis treatments at our bone health clinic. If you are experiencing chronic pain of any kind, call (903) 737-0000 to make an appointment.