Low Back Pain
Where does lower back pain begins? Where else can you get a better understanding of the lower back than the lumbar spine, which is actually your lower back. Understanding the structure and composition of the lumbar spine will help us better understand what lower back pain is.
The lumbar spine is composed of five lumbar vertebrae. In between these vertebrae are jelly donut like discs that acts as cushions between each vertebrae that allows the spinal cord to bend and twist in all possible directions.
The spine on the other hand, protects the spinal nerves. These nerves traverse the spine through the spinal canal. In addition, branches of the spinal nerves pass through the column via spaces on the sides of the spinal column.
Low back pain may come suddenly or gradually, getting worse over time. It may be mild, severe to debilitating. Depending on the cause, the symptoms may include the following: dull or achy pain in the lower back, stinging or burning pain radiating to the thighs and legs, numbness or tingling sensation, muscle spasms or tightness in the back, hips and pelvis, difficulty standing or walking, and pain that worsens due to prolonged standing and sitting.
The pain, depending on the duration and onset, may be acute, subacute, or chronic. Acute pain usually lasts for a few days or weeks at most. This type of pain usually heals and subsides on its own. In subacute pain, the pain can last for six weeks to three months. The pain is prolonged and mechanical in nature, and may hinder certain activities and sleeping. Chronic back pain is the most severe form. It lasts for more than three months and the pain is described as severe and debilitating.
The low back pain is also categorized into two: mechanical and radicular pain. Of the two, the more common is mechanical pain, also referred to as axial pain. In this category, the source of pain is primarily from the joints, ligaments, bones or muscles. This tends to be localized in the low back, buttocks or even legs. On the other hand, radicular pain occurs when a spinal nerve root is inflamed or impinged. The pain is characterized as sharp, burning and electric, and is often associated with weakness or numbness.
Common Causes of Pain
In most instances, back pain is the result of ligament and or muscle tension. This condition occurs when you spend an extended period of time lifting weights or heavy objects. However, back pain can also result from spinal nerve compression. On the other hand, herniated discs or bony spurs or growth resulting from osteoarthritis can put a harmful pressure on the nerves or nerve roots. In addition, fractures on the spine results to a reduced amount of space around the roots. Note that this variety of pain doesn’t go away, at times, even after a week.
For acute low back pain, you may ease the discomfort and pain through self-care. You can try certain home remedies like applying ice and heat, and taking a rest. Taking over-the-counter medications in moderation also helps provide temporary relief. But the meds must be taken only according the directions.
However, in severe and radicular pain, the most common treatment is epidural steroid injections. Injections are best for providing relief to radicular pain, which is not localized but radiates from the source to other parts of the body. Epidural injections are also great for treating nerve compression.
Here in AZ Pain and Spine, we offer epidural steroid injections and other treatment options for low back pain. We treat the pain according to its nature, category and the underlying cause, if any.
Why You Should Reach Out to AZ Pain and Spine
Low back pain, particularly the chronic and radicular pain, is best treated by the specialists. In the area, we are proud to say that AZ Pain and Spine is comprised of highly-trained, well-knowledgeable and experienced pain specialists. We provide safe and effective pain management and treatment solutions for low back pain and other pain conditions.
Get started with your treatment. Make an appointment with us today.