Lower Back Pain
Low back pain is one of the most common injuries in adults. It can be caused by a variety of problems with any parts of the spine including spinal muscles, nerves, bones, discs or tendons. A back-muscle strain or ligament strain is one of the most common causes of acute lower back pain. Lifting a heavy object, twisting, or a sudden movement can cause muscles or ligaments stretch or develop microscopic tears.
To understand more about spine anatomy please click on this video:
Typical sources of low back pain include:
- The large nerve roots in the low back that go to the legs may be irritated
- The smaller nerves that supply the low back may be irritated
- The large paired lower back muscles (erector spinae) may be strained
- The bones, ligaments or joints may be damaged
- An intervertebral disc may be degenerating
These lower back pain symptoms include any combination of the following:
- Difficulty moving that can be severe enough to prevent walking or standing
- Sciatica: pain that also moves around to the groin, buttock or upper thigh, and sometimes into the foot and ankle
- Pain that tends to be achy and dull
- Muscle spasms, which can be severe
- Local soreness upon touch
To watch a video about low back strain click here:
Sciatica develops if there is a pinched nerve in the low back. This includes any combination of the following symptoms:
- Pain typically is ongoing (as opposed to flaring up for a few days or weeks and then subsiding)
- Pain may be worse in the leg and foot than in the lower back
- Typically felt on one side the buttock or leg only
- Pain that is usually worse after long periods of standing still or sitting: relieved somewhat when walking
- More severe (burning, tingling) vs. dull, aching pain
- May be accompanied by weakness, numbness or difficulty moving the leg or foot
To watch a video about Sciatica click here:
The causes of low back pain can be complex, and there are many structures in the spine that can cause pain. The first line of treatment for low back pain includes:
- Pain-relieving medications such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, muscle relaxants, or prescription medications.
- Physical therapy and exercise helps strengthen the back to avoid future injury and speed the recovery process.
- Lifestyle adjustments to avoid aggravating movements and reduce body weight.
- Alternative therapies such as massage, yoga, and acupuncture may provide benefit to some patients
At Restore Medical Partners, we will ask patients to describe the location, severity and type of pain, in addition to the history of the pain: when the patient started to feel it, and any activities or positions that make the pain better or worse. We will review your MRI or order imaging if you do not have imaging completed on your first visit. Then, we will explain to you what is causing your low back pain. Our goal is to prevent major surgery and use minor interventional techniques to relieve your pain and get you back to doing the things you enjoy. For arthritis pain, we may recommend radio frequency ablation. For a disc herniation causing sciatica or lumbar radiculopathy, we may recommend an epidural steroid injection. For muscle spasm, we may recommend trigger point injections into the muscles. Some patients may require a combination of techniques to completely resolve your pain symptoms.