Lower back pain is one of the most common orthopedic ailments and is experienced in people of all ages.
While a small ache or pain after doing some exercise or rigorous job is considered normal, long-lasting or severe low back pain is something which needs immediate attention.
In general, there are three types of low back pain that should not be ignored. These are lasting low back pain, radiating pain down the leg and pain as a result of a lumbar strain. Here we will explore the unique symptoms and degrees of pain which are attributed to each category of pain.
Most people at one time in their life has experienced some degree of low back pain from over doing exercise, lifting too much weight or sleeping in an awkward position.
However, there are a few guidelines for when the pain becomes something which should be examined by a back specialist. First, the pain that is persistent and arises in the area which you believe was strained performing some form of task. Pain that lasts for more than three days and does not subside or decrease in severity should prompt you to contact a doctor.
The second symptom which you should not ignore with pain in your low back are signs of inflammation or swelling. This is a sign that muscle tissue is highly irritated and must be examined sooner than later. When there are indications low back muscles are swollen and inflamed it is a sure sign of a severe condition.
Pain that radiates down your leg is indicative of a serious condition and should never be ignored. This pain is usually a cause for concern because it is sudden, sharp, and can even cause the lower extremity to lose significant strength. This is commonly referred to as a herniated or bulging lumbar disc. The patient can also experience paresthesia or numbness throughout the lower extremity. Heavy lifting or a fall is often the cause of this form of low back pain.
The bulging or herniated lumbar disc impinges on a nerve root resulting in severe pain shooting down the leg. Usually there is intense pain in the leg but tolerable pain in the lower back region. These conditions certainly can be treated by an orthopedist and physical therapy however if the disc injury is significant and symptoms do not improve surgical intervention should be considered.
Typically, these lumbar disc problems do not cause stiffness or swelling only sharp radiating pain coinciding with numbness. The common diagnosis of this condition is called sciatica or lumbar radiculopathy.
One of the more painful back injuries is a lumbar strain. This condition is characterized by extreme pain, swelling, tenderness, and loss of strength. This particular injury is usually caused by poor body mechanics while lifting or overuse by exercising. The strain results in small tears in the paralumbar muscle group of the lower back region. While it is not a complete tear injury, it can cause an immense amount of lower back pain.
Another significant symptom of this injury is the loss of strength in the lower back. Not only does this limit the amount that one can carry, but it does not allow the back to fully support the upper body. This results in the inability to stand without discomfort and many times may require assistance. Lumbar strain can be treated effectively with medication and physical therapy. A Physical therapist will use modalities to reduce the acute pain and provide a program of lumbar stretching and strengthening.
Whenever there are signs of ongoing lower back pain symptoms always seek the help of professionals to help in recovery and educate you in maintaining a healthy lower back.