Statistics show that lower back pain is a common ailment affecting four out of five people. Additionally, most people will report an incident of lower back pain at some point in their lives.
There are two types of back pains, acute and chronic. Acute back pain is short-term and only lasts a few days to a few weeks. Simple remedies such as pain relievers or bed rest can relieve acute back pain.
Chronic back pain, on the other hand, lasts longer than 12 weeks and persists despite different treatments. The pain tends to intensify over time and requires medical attention.
The good news is that most cases of acute lower back pain are easily manageable at home with simple procedures like relaxation techniques, massage therapy, and bed rest.
Common Causes of Severe Pain in the Lower Back
Mechanical lower back pain accounts for 97% of back pain diagnoses. This is pain related to the spine and surrounding areas such as spinal joints, discs, vertebrae, or soft tissues.
Other causes of lower back pain include:
1. Strains and Sprains
The lower back is involved in the major physical movement of the upper body. These include standing, twisting, and bending. When undue pressure is exerted on the spinal cord, the lumbar spine takes the brunt of the strain, which can lead to low back pain.
2. Poor Posture
Poor posture can lead to pain in the back due to muscle strain and uneven distribution of weight to the spinal cord. Daily tasks like working on your computer can cause muscle strain and tension in your lower back.
Osteoporosis is a condition affecting the bone structure. It results in fragile, weak bones. The condition develops over time and is usually diagnosed after incidents of easily broken bones.
Osteoporosis can cause weakening of the spinal column, making it hard to carry out simple physical activities. The weakening lumbar vertebrae, or lower back bones, cannot support daily functioning. This can cause chronic low back pain.
Arthritis is also called joint inflammation. It is characterized by pain and tenderness of the joints. Arthritis affecting the spine is called spinal arthritis and affects the neck and lower back.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of arthritis that can cause pain in the lower back by weakening bones and the surrounding tissues of the lumbar region. It manifests as chronic lower back pain that can sometimes cause numbness in the legs.
5. Neurological Disorders
Neurological disorders affect the brain and cause nerve pain in different parts of the body. They can be an underlying cause of lower back pain.
6. Kidney Pain
Kidney pain is caused by factors such as kidney stones and UTIs. Due to the positioning of the kidney in the body, kidney pain can feel like back pain. A quick visit to the doctor can help to tell the difference and get the correct diagnosis.
Symptoms of Chronic Back Pain
Pain in the lower back is the most common symptom of lumbago. The pain can be a dull ache, a burning sensation, or stiffness. The pain usually worsens with bending or simple physical activity like standing up.
Additionally, in the event of a strain, muscle spasms cause intense pain in the lower back. This can trigger painful and sometimes uncontrollable contractions.
The National Institute of Health and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases advises seeking medical attention if pain persists for more than a few weeks. See your doctor if other symptoms develop, such as:
- Severe low back pain that does not subside with OTC medication.
- Tingling and loss of feeling in the lower back, legs, or arms.
- Weight loss
Who’s at Risk Of Lower Back Pain?
Lower back pain risk factors include existing health conditions, lifestyle choices, and injuries. Here’s a glimpse of who’s at risk of lower back pain;
People with excess weight may end up putting pressure on the pelvis by pulling it forward towards the belly. This exertion creates tension, especially in the back and abdominal muscles causing severe back pain.
Stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems have been linked to lower back pain. This is mainly because issues such as depression and anxiety can lead to inactivity, poor posture, and other changes that can increase the chances of low back pain.
Smoking affects the spinal canal by restricting the blood flow in the arteries. This result in excess pressure on the spinal cord and spinal nerves, which can cause chronic pain in the lower back.
Some diseases such as spinal stenosis and sciatica can lead to chronic low back pain. Spinal stenosis is caused by the narrowing of the spinal canal caused by degenerative wear and tear. It can be caused by a herniated disc or a serious spinal injury.
Sciatica is caused by a slipped disk that exerts pressure on the nerve roots. The most common symptom of this condition is radiating pain in the sciatic nerve, generally felt down the lower back, buttock, or thigh of one or both legs.
If your daily work duties entail constantly lifting heavy weights or moving heavy objects, you are at a higher risk of acute lower back pain. Repetitive bending, slouching, heavy lifting, or squatting can cause joint pain and affect the lower back. A physical therapist can help with work-related back pain.
Treatment Options For Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is treated depending on the cause and intensity. Acute pain is easier to manage and generally resolves within a few weeks.
Chronic lower back pain is harder to manage and may require a physical exam or blood tests to treat. Here are some common treatments for lower back pain:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs are OTC pain relievers for acute low back pain. These pain killers work to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
They are available over the counter in major pharmacies and as prescription drugs. The most common NSAIDs are:
- Aspirin (Bayer, Bufferin, and Ecotrin, St. Joseph).
- Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin).
- Naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox DS, Naprosyn).
- Celecoxib (Celebrex).
- Hyaluronic acid is used for the treatment of low back pain caused by degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis, or age.
- Other stronger medications used to treat low back pain include Gabapentin and pregabalin, antiseizure medicines that can block pain signals.
- Spinal manipulation is sometimes coupled with other treatments such as moderate or vigorous exercise for temporary pain relief of lower back pain symptoms.
- Surgical treatment is an option for back pain that does not respond to conventional treatment options. Surgery is- rarely used in lower back pain treatment because most lower back pains resolve in about three months.
However, surgery can help correct certain conditions such as nerve damage or herniated discs caused by osteoarthritis. The procedure helps to relieve pain caused by nerve compression on intervertebral discs.
Compounded Medication for Back Pain
At Fort Worth Pharmacy, we understand that commercially available lower back pain medication may not suit everyone’s needs. Extreme side effects and allergies are some of the many unpleasant realities of drugs. That is why we offer compounded pain medications.
These drugs are not only suited for treating lower back pain, but they also take into account your unique needs.
We carefully consider any allergens you may have to dyes or other unnecessary substances used in the production of drugs and offer you a prescription solution tailored to your requirements.
Reach out to us today for compounded OTC and prescribed medication to treat your lower back pain.