What Are The Symptoms?
Signs and symptoms of low back pain may be stiffness, tightness, aching, burning or stabbing or shooting pains, pressure, or tingling. The pain may spread to the buttocks, thighs, or knees. People may also experience muscle spasms. The symptoms are more noticeable when bending or arching the back, when lifting heavy objects, or when sitting or standing for long periods of time.
Back Pain Results
Back pain results when the spine is stressed by injury, disease, wear and tear, or poor body mechanics. Acute low back pain is abrupt, intense pain that subsides after a period of days or weeks. It typically resolves with rest, physical therapy, and other self-care measures. You play an important role in the prevention, treatment, and recovery of back pain. However, if chronic, pain will persist despite treatment and need further evaluation.
Acute low back pain
Occurs suddenly and usually heals within several days to weeks. The source of pain is usually in the muscles and ligaments, joints, or discs. Sometimes mechanical back pain is caused, not by a pinched nerve, but by tight muscles, degenerative discs, and inflamed facet joints.
Chronic back pain
Persists for more than 3 months; it may be felt all the time or worsen with certain activities. Although its source may be hard to determine, contributing factors may include nerve damage, tissue scarring, arthritis, or emotional effects of pain. People with chronic symptoms may be referred to a pain specialist.
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Back Pain - Causes
Excess weight, lack of exercise, poor posture (e.g., slouching) and improper lifting stress the spine and make injuries more likely. Causes of acute low back pain are identified only 20% of the time. Although the specific cause may not be found, some conditions that cause back pain are:
• Muscle Strain: A sports injury, fall, or strenuous activity can strain muscles and ligaments. Lack of exercise increases the risk.
• Bulging or herniated disc: The gel-like center of a spinal disc can bulge or rupture through a weak area in the disc wall and compress nerves.
• Stenosis: Narrowing of the bony canals in the spine can compress the spinal cord and nerves.
• Osteoarthritis (degenerative disc disease): As discs naturally age they dry out and shrink. Small tears in the disc wall can be painful. Bone spurs can form. The facet joints enlarge and ligaments thicken.