You lower back is made up of very important structures that provide support to your whole body. These include lumbar spine (vertebrae), which have discs between them, ligaments, spinal cord lower back muscles, nerves such as sciatic nerve and other internal organs. Your lower back therefore turns out to be a very important section of your body and any feeling of lower back pain should be a cause for alarm.
Lower back pains can present in various ways. You will definitely experience muscle pain in case such pain emanates from lower back muscles. This can however be difficult to differentiate from sciatic pain in case it emanates from sciatic nerve. Whichever the case, any back pain cannot only be painful but can also make you uncomfortable and hinder you from performing everyday tasks. Generally, ‘normal’ back pains that occur due to fatigue of lower back structures should clear within 72 hours. You should seek medical attention for any back pain that extends beyond this period.
Causes for back pain vary greatly. The following are some of the major pain causes:
- Pregnancy – Back pain is one of the symptoms of pregnancy and it occurs because pregnancy shifts your body’s center of gravity due to the added weight. This means that your lower back structures strain to continue supporting your body, causing pain. Pregnancy back pain can be on and off but should not be a cause for worry.
- Premenstrual syndrome – You may experience back pain caused by menstrual cramps just before the onset of your menses, in which case such pain acts as a signal of the impending flow.
- Injury – Injury to the bones at your lower back (osteoporosis) can cause severe back pain.
- Arthritis – Arthritis disease that affects joints of your spine can cause lower back pain.
- Nerve injury – Any injury to your sciatic nerve results is sharp pains. You are likely to experience hip pain. You sciatic nerve can sustain injury in case you have slipped disc, something common during pregnancy.
- Aging – As you age, your spinal canal narrows. This causes spine pain.
- Overuse – Overusing your lower back causes pain, which should fade away after resting. Sitting, standing or bending for long hours causes such pain.
- Diseases – Certain diseases and health conditions can cause back pain. Such include peptic ulcers and inflammation disease, gallbladder disease, urinary diseases and pancreatitis amongst others.
There is no universal treatment for pain symptoms. Your treatment will depend on the nature and cause of your pain. Your doctor has to evaluate your overall condition and address the cause before prescribing any medication. In most cases, treatment is by use of anti-inflammatory painkillers that offer back pain relief. In some cases such as in case of slip disc, pain management can be troublesome and your doctor may undertake treatment using other technologies.
Although back pain treatments are available, exercise for lower back remains the most effective long-term treatment regime. You may however not perform any exercise; back exercises need to be exercises that restore strength to your lower back and eliminate sore back. Such are:
- Ankle pumps – Perform this by lying on your back and moving both of your legs (bent at the knee) towards your chest and back. Do this at least ten times daily.
- Heel slides – Perform this by lying on your back before bending and straightening your knees flat on the floor (or ground) several times.
- Abdominal contraction – Perform this by lying on your back with bent knees. Put your hands below your ribs and tighten your abdominal muscles with the aim of squeezing your ribs.
- Stretches – Performing simple back stretches regularly can go a long way in managing your back hurts, which should eventually go away.
These are just some of the exercise for lower back that you can perform regularly to keep your lower back healthy and in top form. However, you need to consult your doctor in case of persistent back pain.