Pain in the part of the back between the ribs and legs—better known as the lower back—is one of the most common areas of the body that people feel pain and discomfort. In fact, lower back pain is one of the most common causes of job-related injuries; that’s because the lower back is responsible for supporting your upper body.
While the majority of lower back pain cases go away on their own after a couple days, millions of people suffer from chronic back pain that requires medical attention.
What Causes Lower Back Pain?
There are many different conditions that cause or contribute to the development of lower back pain. Many of these contributing factors involve some form of nerve compression that may generate pain and other symptoms. Spinal disorders can develop as a result of trauma, or they can be caused by degenerative disorders caused by age. Some of these conditions include:
- Bulging or herniated discs: A bulging or herniated disc can put pressure on the spinal nerve roots, causing pain in the lower back or legs.
- Spinal stenosis: Also known as lumbar stenosis, this condition causes the open spaces within the spine to shrink. This puts pressure on the spinal cord and the nerves that travel through the spine to your arms and legs.
- Spondylolisthesis: This grouping of arthritis conditions covers everything from cartilage breakdown to muscle inflammation.
- Fracture: Just like any other bone in your body, the bones that make up your spine—known as vertebrae—can fracture.
- Osteomyelitis: This acute infection causes inflammation in the spinal cord, which can result in chronic lower back pain.
- Spinal tumors: Both cancerous and noncancerous tumors can affect the bones of the spine.
How Is Lower Back Pain Diagnosed?
Most cases of lower back pain do not require urgent care—unless the pain is a result of trauma. For chronic pain sufferers, your chiropractor can help diagnose and treat the cause of your lower back pain. He or she will most likely start with a physical exam to diagnose the root of your pain—not just the symptoms.
In some cases, additional imaging tests—like an MRI, CT Scan, or X-Ray—may be ordered. However, the majority of lower back pain cases can be diagnosed with a physical exam and detailed patient history.
How Is Lower Back Pain Treated?
The treatment used to alleviate your lower back pain will depend on your medical history, the type of pain being felt, and the severity of the pain. Acute injuries (pain that has lasted less than three months) can usually be treated conservatively with spinal manipulations, heat or ice therapy, and rest.
For chronic pain sufferers, there are a number of chiropractic treatments available to reduce or even eliminate pain. Spinal manipulation is usually the first line of defense against lower back pain, but other treatments can be effective as well. Some of these other treatments may include:
- Physical therapy
- Electric muscle stimulation
To learn more about lower back pain treatment, or to schedule a consultation, please contact our office.