How do I know if my back pain is serious?

sudden back pain while running

What is the most common reason for lower back pain?

Nothing can ruin a day more than having low back pain, especially low back pain for no reason. You can’t sit, stand, walk, or move in any direction that a physical reminder isn’t haunting you. At first, you think it will go away, and for the majority of is, it does, often to return again. Especially as you age, it returns more frequent and stays longer, until you find out what’s going on and get it fixed. 

There are many different low back pain causes, probably the most common of all causes is pulled muscles and/or a pulled ligament. These  mechanical issues and soft-tissue injuries contain damage to the compression of nerve roots, improper movement of the spinal joints, and intervertebral discs. 

We typically think of low back sprains or strains that happen suddenly. Truth is they can also develop over time slowly due to repetitive movements. The symptoms of the low back pain being a muscle or ligament can’t be determined by the symptoms because they are the same for both.  What is the difference between a sprain and a strain? 

  • Sprains happen from over-stretching, which tears and affects ligaments that connect the bones. 
  • Strains happen from stretching a muscle too far, causing it to tear and often damages the muscle.

These types of low back pain like these will heal naturally with proper care. Then there is chronic low back pain, a pain that last for three months and goes beyond the natural healing process. Chronic low back pain will involve a disc problem, joint problem, and/or an irritated nerve root. Determining the low back pain is a symptom of what is the first step in curing or easing the pain. Common causes for chronic low back pain includes:

  • Compression fracture
  • Deformity
  • Degenerative disc disease 
  • Facet joint dysfunction
  • Lumbar herniated disc
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Sacroiliac joint dysfunction
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis 
  • Trauma

The presence of these conditions is not necessarily the cause of low back pain being experienced. For example, degenerative disc or osteoarthritis may be visible in imaging, but the low back pain may not be something the person mentions. 

When should I be worried about lower back pain?

Annoying, unpleasant low back pain is something we all will experience some time in our lives. Your day can be quickly ruined with low back pain, but is it something that will go away in a day or two, or is it something to be concerned about?  

Often, low back pain can be an indication of your back’s overall condition, even the most minor low back pain could be an indication of something more serious. Waking up with back pain from sleeping in different position is usually nothing of concern, however, if either of these scenarios are in place, the low back pain is not something to be ignored: 

  • Numbness: If you feel numbness in the lower part of your body while sitting in a chair that touches the buttocks, groin, and lower could be an indication of a serious problem and should be looked at immediately. 
  • Accident: If you are in a vehicle accident or you have slipped and fell so that your spine was involved and you now have pain in that area, you need immediate medical attention. X-rays should be taken to determine the damage and to confirm if the spine is fractured. 

Is walking good for lower back pain?

Walking is an overlooked and yet  relatively easy exercise  that can relieve low back pain and prevent future outbursts. Two direct and specific benefits that a regular routine of walking can do for your low back pain are: 

  • Strengthens the muscles supporting the spine
  • Increases flexibility in the lower back

Walking also offer these additional health benefits

  • Increases blood flow
  • Flushes out toxins
  • Reduce weight and maintain optimal weight
  • Controls blood pressure
  • Improve total cholesterol levels
  • Decreases anxiety and depression
  • Reduces heart disease and dementia risks
  • Increase production of endorphin, a natural pain-inhibiting hormone
  • Decreases overall perception of pain 
back pain and getting into bed

How should I sleep with lower back pain?

Most back pain is caused by bad posture, awkward position while sleeping, lifestyle habits and the strain and stress that creates. Here are five recommended sleeping positions when suffering from low back pain: 

  • One: Sleep on side with pillow between the knees: Allow the left or right side to be in contact with mattress and position a pillow between the knees and a smaller pillow taking up any gap between the mattress and the waist. Switch sides each night to minimize muscle imbalance.
  • Two: Sleep in fetal position: With a herniated disc, sleeping in curled fetal position, knees tucked in to chest and switch which side each night to prevent muscle imbalance.  This opens the spaces between the vertebrae that the herniated disc has ushed out any cushion. 
  • Three: Sleep on stomach with pillow under the abdomen to relieve some pressure off the back. Use of pillow under head is a personal comfort decision. 
  • Four:  Sleep flat on back with pillow under knees to keep spine in neutral position as the pillow keeps the lower back curved. Added support can be provided with a rolled towel placed in the small of the back. 
  • Five: Sleep in reclined position on  back in will create an angled between the thighs and trunk, reducing pressure on the spine. 

What can I do to relieve my lower back pain?

Low back pain is painful beyond your imagination if you’ve never experienced it. Is can be debilitating and game changing for your entire life. The best medicine is to keep active and use stretching exercises to ease the pain and strengthen the back. Call __PHONE__ today for custom treatment for your back pain in Chambersburg, PA.