Ways to Reduce Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is generated by some combination of overuse, muscle strain and injury to the muscles, ligaments, and discs that support the spine. Many experts believe that over time muscle strain can lead to an overall imbalance in the spinal structure. Usually, the common causes of low back pain include:
Lumbar strain is believed to be the most common causes of low back pain. A lumbar strain is a stretching injury to the ligaments, tendons, and/or muscles of the low back. The stretching incident results in microscopic tears of varying degrees in these tissues. Lumbar strain most often occurs in people in their forties, but it can happen at any age.
- lumbar strain
- nerve irritation
- lumbar radiculopathy
- bony encroachment
- conditions of the bone and joints
The nerves of the spinal chord can be irritated by mechanical impingement or disease, which is another cause for lower back pain. Lumbar radiculopathy is nerve irritation that is caused by damage to the discs between the vertebrae. The disc damages occur due to the degeneration ("wear and tear") of the external ring of the disc, shocking injury, or both. As a result, the central softer portion of the disc can rupture through the outer ring of the disc and adjoin the spinal cord or its nerves as they exit the bony spinal column. This rupture is what causes the commonly recognized "sciatica" pain that shoots down the leg. Sciatica can be lead by a history of localized low-back aching or it can follow a "popping" sensation and be accompanied by numbness and tingling. The pain commonly increases with movements at the waist and can increase with coughing or sneezing. In more severe instances, sciatica can be accompanied by incontinence of the bladder and bowels.
Pelvic inflammatory disease, aortic aneurysm, peptic ulcers, gall bladder disease, urinary disorders such as kidney stones or urinary tract infections, prostate disease etc. also can cause low back pain.
The best position for relief when your back hurts is to lie on your back on the floor with pillows under your knees, with your hips and knees bent and your feet on a chair, or just with your hips and knees bent. This takes the pressure and weight off your back. The way to sleep is on your side with your knees bent. You may put a pillow under your head to support neck. You may also put a pillow between your knees. If you sleep on your back, put pillows under your knees and a small pillow under your lower back. Don't sleep on your stomach unless you put a pillow under your hips. Use a firm mattress. If the mattress is too soft, use a board of 1/2-inch plywood under the mattress to add support. Heating pads can relax painful muscle spasms. Use heat for 20 to 30 minutes at a time. Ice packs and massages may also give relief from low back pain.
Patients should avoid lift by bending over. To lift an object, bend your knees to avoid muscle strain. While patients moving heavy objects, it is good to push rather than pull it. Use flat shoes or shoes with low heels. Exercise regularly.
Also see this forum posting on exercises for people with a bad back
The information contained in this web site is provided as a public service for informational and educational purposes only. This information should not be construed as personal medical advice. Because each person's health needs are different, a physician should be consulted before acting on any information provided in these materials. Although every effort is made to ensure that this material is accurate and up-to-date, it is provided for the convenience of the user and should not be considered definitive.
Lower Back Pain Drugs and Medications
Medcine can reduce low back pain and muscle spasms in some people. But medicine alone is not an efficient treatment for low back pain. It should be used along with other treatments, such as exercise and physical therapy. Heating pads can help to relax painful muscle spasms. Use heat for 20 to 30 minutes at a time.
Ice packs and massages may also give relief.
Wet a towel with cold water, and squeeze it until it is just damp. Fold the towel, place it in a plastic bag, and freeze it for 15 minutes. Remove the towel from the bag and place it on the affected area or an ice pack. The application of this for first 48 hours is very much helpful for relieving pain. Put about 1 lb (0.45 kg) of ice in a plastic bag. Add water to barely cover the ice. Squeeze the air out of the bag and seal it. Wrap the bag in a wet towel and apply it to the affected area.
Two types of over-the-counter medications, acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID´s), are commonly recommended to alleviate low back pain. Acetaminophen and NSAID´s work differently and therefore may be taken at the same time. For short periods of time, prescription medications (such as narcotic pain medications and muscle relaxants) may be helpful to alleviate pain or related complications.
The nonprescription medicines such as: aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), naproxen (Aleve), ketoprofen (Orudis), and ibuprofen (Motrin) can reduce the back pain. There are several medicines may recommend, depending on how long you have had pain, what other symptoms you have, and your medical history. The medicines recommended most often are: Acetaminophen, NSAIDs, Muscle relaxants, Opiates, Antidepressants etc.
Anticonvulsants are sometimes used to treat low back pain, even though there isn't strong evidence that they help. Botulinum toxin an injection into the back muscles for chronic low back pain is an experimental treatment. Effective pain relief may involve a combination of prescription drugs and over-the-counter remedies. Patients should always check with a doctor before taking any drugs for pain relief. Painkillers can also used for the treatment of severe acute and chronic back pain only for short time. Antidepressants, Anticonvulsants, OTC Drugs etc. are also used for the treatment of low back pain.