Back pain is one of the most commonly reported problems from patients to medical professionals. It is often uncomfortable, and in some cases, can be painful enough to restrict mobility and one’s ability to perform activities of daily living. Fortunately, the discomfort almost always corrects itself. There are instances, however, when back pain is the sign of a problem that may need medical attention, such as back surgery, in order to resolve.
If you are living with some form of back pain, learning about some of its most common causes can help you to identify the issue and find a proper treatment. The following are a few of the most common causes of lower lumbar discomfort.
The most predominate cause for lower back pain is a strain in the lumbar muscle that usually results from poor body mechanics when lifting, or from an injury during sports or other activities. The injury causes tiny tears in the affected muscle that can result in spasms and bouts of pain. Mild periods of rest, applications of heat, and physician-approved over-the-counter medications can help. To prevent recurring problems, proper body mechanics should always be practiced, and gentle strengthening exercises of the lower back can help support the lumbar region.
Spinal stenosis is a very common condition that is seen in the aging population and is marked by a narrowing of the spinal canal that creates pressure on the spinal cord and associated nerves. Pain is usually felt in the lower back and down the legs. Conservative treatments may include stretching exercises, rest, and medications. If the pain is severe and therapies have been tried and have failed, back fusion surgery or lumbar artificial disc replacement may be options.
Bulging and ruptured discs are often the source of lumbar discomfort. When the spongy inner portion of a disc pushes out of line in the vertebral column, it can push onto nerves that lay along the canal and cause pain. The discomfort is usually felt in the lower back and down the buttocks into the legs. Treatment may include exercise, medication, physical therapy and surgery as a last resort.
If you are living with back pain that has not responded to conservative treatments, it may be time to schedule an in-person consultation at The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration. Medical Director, Dr. Hyun Bae, is a conservative orthopedic surgeon that specializes in minimally invasive surgery. With help from his advanced diagnostic team, he can help you find the source of your back pain and can give you options for treatment. To request more information or a consultation, call (310) 828-7757.