Lumbago


lumbago-300x450Lumbago is the general term often used to describe mild to severe pain or discomfort in the lumbar area of the spine. It can also more simply be referred to as low back pain. The pain can be acute or chronic, and affects young and old people. In fact, most people experience lumbago at least once in their life.

Causes:

The causes of lumbago can be complex and are not always obvious. As well, the severity of the pain is not always a good indicator of the extent of the physical damage. Sometimes a pulled muscle can be painful enough that it is extremely difficult to stand, while someone with a herniated disc in their spine may feel no pain at all.

Some common causes of lumbago include:

  • Muscle strain (for example from physical work or exercise)
  • Herniated disc (sometimes called a slipped disc)
  • Osteoarthritis or spondylosis (spinal arthritis)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Scoliosis (curvature of spine to the left or right)
  • Spinal stenosis (compression of spinal cord or spinal nerves)
  • Fracture
  • Cancer
  • Infection
  • Vascular disease

Symptoms:

It is important to note that the experience of low back pain tends to be different for each person. Some associated symptoms may include:

  • Pain felt in the buttocks, the back of the thighs, or in the groin area
  • Back pain that occurs or feels worse with movement (bending or moving side to side)
  • Spinal muscle spasms that cause the back to feel  stiff and sore
  • Possible tingling sensations in the low back, buttocks and legs

It is important to note that the following symptoms (so called “red flags”) could indicate a serious problem and the patient should see a doctor immediately:

  • Fever or chills
  • Severe trauma
  • Substantial leg weakness or numbness
  • Bladder or bowel incontinence – difficulty passing urine or having a bowel movement
  • Severe and continuous pain in the abdomen and back

Diagnosis:

Diagnosis can be difficult because there are many structures in the low back that can cause pain, including:

  1. Soft tissues (muscles, ligaments, tendons)
  2. Bones (building blocks of the spine)
  3. Facet Joints (allow movement)
  4. Discs
  5. Nerves (including those that branch from the spinal cord into the legs and feet)

Because all of these structures weave together to make up the spine, and because the nerves serving all of these structures overlap quite a bit, the brain cannot tell exactly which structure is damaged and causing the pain. Getting an accurate diagnosis can be challenging, but can be obtained through a combination of a thorough patient history, physical examination, and diagnostic tests (x-Ray, CT scan or MRI). A doctor will need to know both the type of pain, including how it feels and when it occurs or what makes it better or worse, and whether or not the pain radiates anywhere else in the body. Not only will this information help determine the cause of a patient’s lumbago, but will also influence the type of treatment that will be recommended.

Treatments:

If low back pain is caused due to damage in a soft tissue, it will usually heal itself. While rest is important, regular activity (within the limits of pain) is also very important to keep the back muscles strong and prevent the formation of scar tissue. Most people feel better anywhere within a few days to within six weeks. In cases of both acute and chronic low back pain, several treatments can be used to ease the pain:

  • Chiropractic care
  • Medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Spinal injections
  • Acupuncture

We offer ultrasound guided diagnostic injections with local anaesthetic and therapeutic injections with cortisone or dextrose (prolotherapy), facet joint injectionsmedial branch nerve blocksnerve blocks with sclerosing agent,epidural injectionsBotulinum toxin injectionschiropracticphysiotherapy,acupunctureactive exercises, medication, psychotherapy, biofeedbacklumbar supportsTENS/MET devices, and orthotics for patients suffering from lumbago.

Sources:

http://www.spine-health.com/conditions/lower-back-pain/understanding-low-back-pain-lumbago

http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/diseases/facts/lumbago.htm

http://www.spineuniverse.com/conditions/back-pain/lumbago-mild-severe-low-back-pain

 

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