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Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is a common affliction that affects many individuals at some point in their lives. Lower back pain can get in the way of recreation, work, and day-to-today routines. For that reason, lower back pain is a serious issue for those who suffer from it.

Many people suffer from acute back pain, which is a temporary bout of back pain brought on by an injury to the lower back. Injuries often occur due to involvement in sports activities, gardening, work, or even a car accident. The type of pain experienced as a result of such injuries can range anywhere from stabbing pain to dull throbbing pain.

Why does lower back pain occur? The back is made up of the tissues, bones, and muscles that make up the body’s ‘trunk,’ the trunk being the area that extends from the pelvis up to the neck. The spinal column is located in the back, which importantly houses the spinal cord. Around the spinal cord are vertebrae, which are approximately thirty bones stacked on top of one another. Tiny nerves extend from the spinal cord through spaces between vertebrae. Discs between the vertebrae, called intervertebral discs, maintain flexibility of the spinal column.

As individuals age, muscle elasticity and tone as well as bone strength decrease. As a result, the intervertebral discs lose flexibility. Pain happens when an individual does something to strain the back, causing a spasm or strain on the vertebrae. If this strain or spasm is too extreme, it may cause one of the intervertebral discs to move out of place, which may put pressure on the nerves that are extending from the spinal cord through the spaces between vertebrae. This in turn causes back pain.

Lower back pain most typically occurs in men and women between the ages of thirty and fifty, though it can happen to anyone. Several underlying conditions may cause lower back pain, including sciatica, spinal degeneration, osteoporosis, skeletal irregularities, bulging disc, fibromyalgia, and spondylitis. All of these conditions require medical intervention.

Most lower back pain diminishes within two weeks of onset. If it does not, individuals should seek medical care. Possible methods of diagnosing a more serious problem include discography, computerized tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, x-ray imaging, ultrasound imaging and electrodiagnostic procedures. Bone scans may also be necessary.

Most acute back pain can be treated with reducing inflammation, analgesics, restoring use, and preventing further injury. Ice and heat don’t necessarily treat back pain, but they do help the individual experiencing the pain find some comfort. Bed rest may be utilized sparingly, however, too much rest can actually have a negative effect on healing. Exercise can actually be of great help as it assists strengthening back muscles. Of course, gentle exercise is recommended and if the exercise being used is creating more pain for the individual, it should be discontinued immediately.

There are many medicines on the market that assist in the process of healing from a back injury, too, such as over-the-counter analgesics, anticonvulsants, opioids, and in certain cases, anti-depressants.

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