Low back pain is one of the most common conditions in the country. It is prevalent in individuals that work physical jobs that lead to overuse or desk jobs that lead to poor posture.
So why is lower back pain so common? Well, your lower back supports your spine, which supports just about everything else in your body! The muscles in your lower back are being used in almost every movement you make.
Because of that, having a healthy spine is essential to your quality of life. Learn more about symptoms, causes, risks, and treatment for low back pain.
Types of Low Back Pain
Low back pain can be mild or severe. If you are experiencing low back pain that is debilitating, be sure to see a back specialist near you for a diagnosis and treatment options. Here are a few types of pain you may experience from spinal conditions:
- Aching pain in the lower back
- Sharp pain in the lower back
- Muscle spasms in the lower back, hip, or pelvis
- Pain or numbness in the legs or feet
Many people experience low back pain from injury or working overly physical or overly sedentary jobs. This means that most of the time, low back pain can be prevented.
Being overweight, smoking cigarettes, genetics, and age can all increase your risk for low back pain.
Treatment for low back pain varies by acute or chronic conditions.
Acute pain is short-term and should only last for a few days to a few weeks. If you are experiencing acute back pain, avoid triggering the affected area and take over-the-counter medications for pain relief. You can also use heat or ice on the area to reduce inflammation.
If your low back pain will not go away after a few weeks or worsens, you may have chronic low back pain and should see a back doctor as soon as possible. Your back doctor may recommend medication, physical therapy, injections, or a brace. If your condition is severe, you may need surgery.
At Elite Sports Medicine, we aim to treat low back pain with non-operative care, and surgery is always a last resort.
When surgery is needed, minimally invasive procedures are considered first. These procedures have quicker recovery and less side effects. One minimally invasive procedure we offer is called radio frequency ablation, which has no recovery time. Other procedures we offer to treat low back pain are:
- Anterior lumber interbody fusion (ALIF)
- Oblique lumbar interbody fusion (OLIF)
- Extreme lateral interbody fusion (XLIF)
- Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF)
5 Tips for Preventing Low Back Pain
1. Always Use Proper Lifting Technique
If you work a physically demanding job, you become susceptible to developing spinal conditions. Make sure to always use proper technique when lifting heavy items. Always lift with your legs and maintain a squat position when you pick something up and set it down. Never lift something that is too heavy for you, and do not be afraid to ask for help.
2. Stretch Often
Stretching is an excellent way to relieve pain and tension in your lower back. Additionally, hamstring stretches can help with pain relief.
3. Build Strength in Your Core
Strengthening your core muscles will help to support your spine, protecting your low back. Try engaging your core for 5 minutes or more each day.
4. Find the Right Sleeping Position for Your Pain
If you are experiencing constant pain, your sleeping position and mattress could be the problem. Seek help from a back specialist to determine what is causing your pain and how they can help.
5. Get an Ergonomic Chair and Desk
If you work at a job where you are primarily sitting, the structure of your chair is extremely important. Ask your place of work about getting an ergonomic chair that properly supports the spine. Additionally, you should have a sit-stand desk. Make sure you are switching between sitting and standing multiple times per day.
Yoga Stretches for Low Back Pain Relief
Yoga can be a great way to stretch your body and relieve pain and tension. If you are experiencing low back pain, try looking up a yoga video on YouTube targeting back pain. Here are three simple stretches you can do every day to help low back pain relief:
Photo by Katee Lue on Unsplash
Find a comfortable place to kneel such as a yoga matt or carpet. Kneel while keeping your feet together and your palms at the top of your matt. Hold this pose for 30 seconds or more while taking deep breaths.
Photo by LOGAN WEAVER on Unsplash
This common pose stretches your hamstrings, which can help to relieve lower back pain. You can start this pose from child’s pose or by kneeling. Bring your palms to the front of your matt and push your butt upward. Try to keep your legs as straight as you can. Hold this pose for 30 seconds or more.
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels
Start by standing with your feet flat and shoulder width apart. Move your arms down to your toes, keeping your legs straight. Keep your head tucked in and hold for 30 seconds or more.
Low Back Pain FAQs
Is low back pain common in early pregnancy?
Yes, low back pain is common in the first trimester due to changes in hormone levels. If you are not expecting a child, this symptom can be a common symptom of PMS as well.
Is low back pain a symptom of COVID-19?
Yes, one symptom of COVID-19 is muscle or body aches, and low back pain can be grouped in with this symptom. If you’re experiencing low back pain along with other COVID-19 symptoms, get tested immediately and quarantine until you receive your results.
Is low back pain common?
Yes, low back pain is extremely common. According to the Global Burden of Disease, back pain is the leading cause of disability in the world.
Is low back pain a diagnosis?
No, you cannot be diagnosed with low back pain. Low back pain is a symptom of other conditions that will need to be diagnosed by a medical professional.
Can low back pain cause headaches?
The German Headache Consortium study has research that links low back pain to tension headaches; however, there still needs to be more research done on this topic.
Does low back pain go away?
Most of the time low back pain will go away on its own with proper rest and conservative treatment. However, chronic low back pain can be related to a condition that may require surgery. If you have low back pain that will not go away, seek help from a spine doctor.
How long does low back pain last?
According to the CDC, acute back pain will only last for 1 month. Most of the time, it is less than a month. Subacute back pain will last for 1-3 months, and chronic back pain lasts more than 3 months. If you have low back pain for more than 3 months, you need to see a back doctor for treatment options.
What helps low back pain?
If you are experiencing low back pain there are a variety of things you can do to relieve the pain:
- Over the counter medication
- Prescription pain medication
- Cold or heat on the affected area
- Physical therapy
- Massage therapy
- Adjust your sleeping position
- Light exercise like walking or yoga
- Steroid injections
Can low back pain cause pelvic pain?
Low back pain can often spread to other areas in the body. If you have low back pain, you may also have pain in the front pelvic area. This can be caused by a number of reasons. It is important to seek the help of a medical profressional to determine what is causing your pain and how you can treat it.
Can back pain cause nausea?
Your back pain won't directly cause nausea; however, having back pain and nausea at the same time can be symptoms of certain conditions.
Book an Appointment with One of the Best Spine Doctors in Nashville
If you are experience chronic low back pain, seek help from an orthopedic doctor specializing in surgery of the spine. Our spine specialists, Dr. Chris Glattes and Dr. Colin Crosby see patients in Nashville and Franklin, TN. If you do not live in the middle Tennessee area, seek help from the best back doctor near you.
To learn more about back pain, check out our all-encompassing guide from a back doctor.
George, M. (2019, January 23). 7 Tips to Protect Your Lower Back. Spine-health. https://www.spine-health.com/blog/7-tips-protect-your-lower-back.
Peloza, J. (2017, April 20). Lower Back Pain Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment. Spine-health. https://www.spine-health.com/conditions/lower-back-pain/lower-back-pain-symptoms-diagnosis-and-treatment.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2020, April 27). Low Back Pain Fact Sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Low-Back-Pain-Fact-Sheet.
Winderl, A. M. (2017, November 6). 8 Yoga Poses to Relieve Lower Back Pain. SELF. https://www.self.com/gallery/yoga-poses-to-relieve-lower-back-pain.