For Appointments: 0877 - 6690000, 7993933777

Toll Free No: 1800-208-6777

For Appointments: 0877 - 6690000,
7993933777

Toll Free No: 18002086777

Is lower back pain quite common?

Almost 80% of the population suffer from low back pain at some time in their adult life. It is one of the most common reasons for doctor visit, sick leave and disability. On a happier note, for 90% of patients, the low back pain is short-lived and goes away within a few days or couple of weeks. However, some cases may take a longer time to show improvement and in a few instances the persistent pain could require a thorough evaluation to identify the cause. 

According to experts, almost 80% of the population suffers from lower back pain at some time in their adult life. It is one of the most common reasons people visit doctor, and one of the most common causes for sick leave and disability. On a happier note, for 90% of patients, the low back pain is short-lived and goes away within a few days or couple of weeks. However, some cases may take a longer time to show improvement and in a few instances the persistent pain could require a thorough evaluation to identify the cause. 

Overview

 Symptoms

What is the back made up of?

Bones, muscles, and other tissues make up the structure that forms the back. The spinal column, in the middle, supports the weight of the upper body and also acts as a protective conduit for the spinal cord – the nervous system that controls the body’s movements and transmits sensations. The spinal column (or spine) comprises about 30 vertebrae, which are small bones arranged one on top of another, through which the spinal cord runs.

Sponge-like pads of cartilage between the vertebrae enable the back to be flexible and also cushion the stress on the bones when the body moves. The vertebrae are held in place by ligaments and tendons attach the muscles to the spinal column.

The spine comprises the following: 

What are the common causes for lower back pain?

Back pain, in an overwhelming number of cases, is a result of muscle strain due to lifting a heavy weight or twisting; sudden impact in an accident; a herniated disc brought about by stress on tissues and bones of the spine; or osteoarthritis, a degenerative disease of the joints. Lower back pain is commonly caused by:

back pain, can be due to muscle strain associated with lifting a heavy object sudden twisting.  It can also be the result of:   sudden impact in an accident, herniated disc brought about by stress on tissues and bones of the spine, or osteoarthritis, a degenerative disease of the joints.

Other causes of low back pain are:

When to visit a doctor?

Back pain is as common as the common cold and not everyone needs to visit a doctor. One may try home therapy before visiting a doctor. However, one should be aware that back pain should not be neglected under certain conditions such as:

Back pain is as common as the common cold. However, back pain should not be neglected under certain conditions:

  1. Back pain in children (<10 years) and the elderly (>70 yrs).
  2. Back pain in patients with risk of osteoporosis like those on cancer medications, on prolonged bed rest, with hypothyroidism or diabetics, on anti-epileptics etc.
  3. Back pain that radiates to the leg, with weakness of the leg or foot, loss of sensation in peri-anal area and difficutly with urination (either straining while urinating or urinary leakage. Back pain associated with features of infection like fever, loss of weight, loss of appetite.
  1. Back pain in children (<10 years) and the elderly (>70 yrs).
  2. Back pain in patients with risk of osteoporosis like those on cancer medications, on prolonged bed rest, with hypothyroidism or diabetics, on anti-epileptics etc.
  3. Back pain with neurological signs like radiating pain along the leg / weakness of foot / difficulty in urination (either straining at urination or urinary leakage) and /or loss of sensation in the perianal region.
  4. Back pain associated with features of infection like fever, loss of weight, loss of appetite.

Importance of accurate diagnosis

Your doctor will take a careful medical history and do a physical exam to decide if you need need an X-ray or other test such as an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or a CT (computerized tomographic scan) to confirm diagnosis.  Most people with back pain may not require further studies.

The doctor will need to take a careful medical history and do a physical exam to look for certain red flags that indicate the need for an X-ray or other imaging test. In some patients, imaging such as X-ray, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), or CT (computerized tomography) scan may be advised to confirm diagnosis.

Treatment options for lower back pain

In most cases, the lower back pain is the result of muscle strain and spasm and does not entail surgery.

To treat the pain, the following options may be adopted:

Bed rest for severe back pain.  This should not last longer than 2 to 3 days. Patients should get back to active life as soon as possible.

  1. Medications for severe back pain
  2. Exercise – effective in speeding up recovery and helping strengthen the muscles of the back and abdomen. It also helps reduce the risk of the back pain recurring.
  3. Lumbar corsets – helpful only in the work setting. Regular use could weaken spinal and abdominal muscles and delay recovery.

In most cases, the lower back pain is caused due to muscle strain and spasm and does not entail surgery.
To treat the pain, the following options may be adopted:

  1. Medications.
  2. Bed rest – although not recommended beyond 2 to 3 days. Patients should get back to active life as soon as possible.
  3. Exercise – effective in speeding up recovery and helping strengthen the muscles of the back and abdomen. It also helps reduce the risk of the back pain recurring.
  4. Lumbar corsets – helpful only in the work setting. Regular use could weaken spinal and abdominal muscles and delay recovery.

Surgery for lower back pain

Surgery is rarely indicated for isolated back pain. For back pain associated with any structural problem of the spine, surgery may prove beneficial. The type of surgery would depend on the cause for the back