Believe it or not, low back pain is among the most common health problems for people in the modern society. A staggering percentage of approximately 80% of Americans are confronted with it at least once in their lives, a perfect indicator of how likely it is for you to encounter it in case it has not affected you yet. However, back pain does have many forms, causes, and ways to enact itself upon you, so you do not necessarily have to dread it all that much right from the get-go. In this article, we will take a deeper dive into this issue and find out more about this seemingly superficial problem, learning when it should become a reason of worry for you and what measures you should take.
Symptoms which indicate lower back pain problems
If you are able to identify this health issue as it makes its appearance, you are more likely to remedy it in time, thus not having to sort to more drastic measures like surgery or complex treatments. But let’s not waste time and turn to listing the symptoms which indicate lower back pain has appeared:
- Morning pain: Most people diagnosed with low back pain report an accentuation of the discomfort when they wake up, first thing in the morning. As they awake and get out of the bed, starting to move around the house, they feel a sore and aching pain in this region, which is most likely caused by stiffness, an obvious result of decreased blood flow during their sleep.
- Prolonged sitting pain: When you sit down, especially if you hunch your back or sit in an incorrect position, you put pressure on the discs. This causes back pain to get exacerbated, the only thing you can do to relieve it being to walk and stretch your back.
- Pain through the feet, legs, and buttocks area: Some people who experience back pain notice a sharp, stinging sensation which moves down the thighs until it reaches their feet. This issue is known as sciatica, which is caused by an irradiation of the sciatic nerve.
- Dull axial pain: Axial pain is usually dull and aching, but it is one of the first indicators of lower back pain problems. Generally, it is accompanied by limited mobility and aches in the pelvic and hip regions of the body.
What causes low back pain to appear?
As you will soon find out, there is a long list of causes which trigger the apparition of low back pain problems. Knowing what these causes are can help you treat the issue or at least be better aware of whether a doctor’s involvement is necessary or if you have the right equipment or treatment at your disposal to handle it yourself.
- Strained ligaments;
- Strained muscles;
- Improper lifting of objects;
- Muscle spasms;
- An awkward movement;
- Heavy lifting.
- Sleeping: Yes, sleeping can be the cause of the pain you feel in the lower back area if you do not sleep in the right environment. First of all, it is essential to sleep the right amount of hours each night and do so preferable laying on your back as this is the ideal sleeping position for your body. Secondly, you have to take into account the surfaces you lay on. Resting your head on an unsupportive pillow does major damage to your spinal health. Thus, it is advised that you rest on a bamboo sleeping pillow which provides perfect support for your head and spine, and provides a healthy overall sleeping environment due to its hypoallergenic properties. Also, you should consider changing your mattress for a firmer one that will keep the spine aligned during the night.
- Carrying/lifting: You probably regularly lift or carry heavy objects, which is a fundamental cause for the appearance of back pain. First of all, if the object is indeed heavy, you are putting a large amount of stress on your spine, pressuring it to support the weight of said object. Furthermore, you are most likely lifting/carrying it in an improper manner, unintentionally damaging your spine by taking an incorrect approach to this activity.
- Bending down for long periods: While it is true that a lot of daily activities do require you to sit with your back bent in order to perform them, you must avoid sitting in this position for a long time as it inevitably leads to back pain in the lower region. Take breaks once every few minutes, stretch and walk around the room before you tend to your chore once again.
- Sitting for long periods: Sitting in a chair for a prolonged period of time, especially if you do so while sitting with your back hunched. Having a proper posture plays the most important role in the health of your back, so you must practice having this correct stance when you sit down. Furthermore, if you have the right posture when sitting at the desk, you get accustomed to sitting straight correctly as well, thus further reducing the possibility of back pain to occur.
- Osteoporosis – a health issue which makes your bones become brittle and porous.
- Ruptured discs – put pressure on nerves, causing back pain.
- Sciatica – sharp pain caused by a herniated disk or bulge which is pressing on nerves.
- Abnormal spinal curvature – scoliosis, for example, causes the spine to curve on the side, thus encouraging back pain to inevitably occur.
- Spine infection;
- Bad mattress and pillow;
- Spine cancer;
- Cauda equina;
- Sleep disorder;
When it is time to take action
We strongly recommend you take a form of action as soon as you start experiencing back pain in the lower region. This doesn’t necessarily you have to do to the doctor’s office, especially if the pain you feel does not seem severe as there are ways to relieve the tension you feel and treat the problem without medical interference. However, if the pain persists and it accentuates to a point where you cannot bear it anymore, go see a doctor immediately.
How to relieve symptoms at home and attenuate the health issue:
- Change your mattress and pillow! Switch to a firm mattress that keeps your spine aligned, and try sleeping on your back exclusively, and change your pillow with a bamboo sleeping pillow which keeps your head and neck aligned to your spine.
- Take breaks once every 50-60 minutes when you are at work if your job requires you to sit down. During the 5-10 minute break, walk around the office and stretch your back to release the tension you feel in your muscles.
- Avoid lifting heavy objects altogether, or carrying and pulling them for that matter as well. If you have no other choice, at least try to do the lifting or carrying with the help of other people, putting less pressure and stress on your back by dispersing the weight.
- Do yoga or any other type of physical activity at least 30 minutes per day. Sports require you to stretch muscles and sit in certain positions which aid make back pain go away, and they encourage an overall healthier lifestyle as well. Thus, you will have only benefits to reap if you follow this advice.
Is a surgical intervention necessary?
Surgical interventions are not recommended for mild to moderate pain, so it is unlikely for you to need the procedure. You should consider this option and talk to your doctor about it if you feel great pain for at least 6 weeks. But, to be safe, we recommend you talk to a specialist if you feel in any way that it might be needed. After all, it is better to be safe than sorry.