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Lumbar Pain

  • What is Lumbar Pain?

    Back pain is common, it usually only causes problems for a short period of time, and you can take steps to ease symptoms and prevent future problems. The most common area of back pain is in the lower back (Lumbar Spine). This area bears the stress of your weight throughout the day.

    Most people have low back pain at some point in their lives, but few people with low back pain have a chronic medical problem. Most people get better within two to six weeks. Low back pain can be separated into 2 categories:

    • Mechanical Pain, which is caused by wear and tear (degeneration) in parts of the Lumbar Spine
    • Neurogenic Pain, which occurs when spinal nerves are inflamed, squeezed or pinched
  • There are many causes of back pain, and they can be classified according to the source of pain. Common causes of back pain include:

    • Arthritis
    • Bone tumour
    • Fracture
    • Irritation of a nerve root
    • Ligament injury
    • Muscle strain or injury
    • Other non-spinal causes such as viral infections, kidney stones or gynaecological problems in women
    • Poor posture
    • Slipped disc
    • Spinal Stenosis (narrowing of the Spinal Canal)
    • Spine curvatures (scoliosis or kyphosis)
    • Trauma
  • Symptoms from low back problems vary. They depend on which structures are affected. Some of the more common symptoms are:

    • Back stiffness and reduced range of movement
    • Muscle weakness in the hip, thigh, leg or foot
    • Pain radiating from the buttock to the foot
    • Pain spreading into the buttocks and thighs
    • Sensory changes (numbness, prickling, or tingling) in the leg, foot or toes

    Rarely, symptoms involve changes in bowel or bladder function, for instance from a large disc herniation that presses on the nerves that go to the bowels or bladder.

  • Most people with low back pain get better with no treatment. If possible, it is best to stay active and to get back to your normal activities as soon as possible. The main goal of treatment is to control the pain. Some of the following treatments may be used:

    • Back brace, usually for two to four days, to support a problem disc
    • Bed rest, usually for no more than two days, to take the pressure off sore discs and nerves
    • Medication to help you to sleep and to control pain, inflammation and muscle spasm
    • Physiotherapy to relieve pain, improve back movement and maintain a healthy posture
    • Spinal injection — To relieve pain

    Surgery is usually only done if severe pain does not improve. Types of surgery include:

    • Laminectomy to relieve pressure on the spinal nerves
    • Discectomy to remove a portion of the disc that is pressing on the nerve root
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