Millions of individuals all over the world suffer from chronic low back pain. There are various factors that trigger the discomfort in the lower back that can be due to poor posture or working habits, conditions such as arthritis or other degenerative changes to the spine.
Low back pain might also be an indication of a medical condition such as kidney disease. In some circumstances, the back pain can be caused by issues with one or several discs. Once the doctor suspects that a disc is responsible for causing the low back pain, being familiar with the condition is vital to ensure proper care in the future.
What are the types of low back problems?
In the low back region of the spine, there are 5 vertebrae and 4 discs. Due to the normal aging process and wear and tear, the discs eventually lose fluid and end up dry. These discs become smaller in size and lose some of their natural space. In some cases, the jelly-like interior of the disc start to protrude outwards. Since this occurs to a certain degree as part of the aging process, many individuals already have a disc bulge but not aware of it. Remember that issues with the lower back do not always trigger symptoms or entail treatment.
What are the indications of low back problems?
The symptoms that manifest with low back problems usually depend on the location and severity of the issue. A disc problem can trigger low back pain that is localized and mild or can be intense and spread down to the legs.
Once a disc compresses one of the adjacent nerves, there might be tingling, numbness and burning sensation in the hips, back and the legs. There is also loss of strength in the legs as well.
Since the nerves controlling the bowel and bladder also go through the lower back, loss of control over these functions is also observed. Once the doctor assesses the extent of injury, the right treatment can be started. Surgery is usually the last resort and an option for those who have extreme pain or loss of function.
Prevention is the ideal way to avoid low back problems from occurring in the first place. On the other hand, if an individual already has an injury, certain steps can help avoid re-injury in the back as well as managing the symptoms.
- When lifting, always observe the correct form such as bending the knees, utilizing the abdominal muscles and requesting for help when lifting heavy objects.
- Exercise at least 2-3 times in a week such as strengthening the abdominal and back muscles as well as stretching exercises to keep the lower back flexible.
- Those who are overweight are encouraged to perform aerobic activities to cut down the excess pounds that can strain on the back.
Always bear in mind that low back pain and other related issues can develop once the disc impinges on neighboring muscles, nerves, tendons or ligaments.