Lower Back Pain

by LMatthews on August 28, 2013

lower back pain lumbar spinal stenosisLower back pain can have a number of causes, including lumbar spinal stenosis. This means that pain in the lower back may be accompanied by a variety of different symptoms, some overlapping, and necessitate radically different treatments. Getting a diagnosis of lower back pain is not, therefore, the end of the story as your physician will need to figure out why you’re hurting and what can be done about it.

Chronic lower back pain can be the result of spinal degeneration and conditions such as osteoarthritis and lumbar spinal stenosis. It may also be a sign of persistent poor posture that is straining the muscles in the lumbar spine. As such, simply deciding that lower back pain inevitably means back surgery makes little sense as it could be as easy as moving your computer screen three inches lower at your workstation, or changing where you store your paperclips so you’re not continually bending down to the bottom drawer for stationery.


Causes of Lower Back Pain Symptoms

Other causes of lower back pain may include, but are not limited to:

  • Disc degeneration, herniated discs, bulging discs, or ruptured discs.
  • Spinal fracture.
  • Vertebral collapse.
  • Ligament thickening or abnormal cartilage development.
  • Osteophyte (bone spur) growth.
  • Sitting/sleeping in a draught.
  • Poor driving posture or commuting posture.
  • An old unsupportive mattress.
  • Urinary tract infections.
  • Spinal tumor or other cancerous growth.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Manganese deficiency.
  • Depression.

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Several remedies for lower back pain symptoms work for a number of different causes, such as physical therapy to strengthen and stabilize the spine, making it more obvious when posture is not optimal for back health. Good nutrition, quitting smoking, and practicing mindfulness and meditation/relaxation techniques can also help where a mix of physical and psychological factors are contributing to lower back pains.

Lower Back Pain Relief

In some cases, lower back pain relief will only be achievable through surgery to remove mechanical obstructions that are causing pinched nerves and/or spinal cord compression. A lumbar discectomy, laminectomy, or foraminotomy may be performed alone or in combination with other surgical techniques, including spinal fusion. Surgery is almost always the last resort, however, with conservative treatments for lower back pain tried first for several months. Epidural steroid injections have been popular for treating lower back pain in recent years but a spate of contaminated steroids and the news that such injections increase spinal fracture risk may have some patients with lower back pain thinking twice about this treatment. Many pain medications have side effects that become more problematic as the drugs are used long-term, including opioid induced androgen deficiency, and even worsening pain with the drugs over time. Addressing the cause of lower back pain early is advisable so as to take steps to reduce spinal degeneration and keep symptoms from progressing, where possible.

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