Stubborn Lower Back Pain: What to do about it?

It is said that almost 80 percent of the people suffer from lower back pain at least once at some point in their lives, making it one of the most common ailments of the modern world.

Pain in this part of the body occurs because the back is that one structure that supports our body weight and is easily susceptible to wear and tear, as well as injury, strains and sprains.
Back pain can be divided mainly into three categories, acute, subacute and chronic, based on how long they tend to last.

Stubborn or chronic low back pain is the one which keeps on lingering and lasts for long periods of time.

Understanding The Causes Of Back Pain

There are many reasons why your back might hurt, some of which are briefly presented here:

1. Non-specific back pain

The most common form of back pain is the “non-specific back pain.”

Although it is referred to as ‘non-specific’ because its triggers are not always known, there are some factors that can be attributed to the onset of this type of back pain.

For example, it may occur due to twisting or lifting heavy objects improperly, prolonged sitting or not exercising enough, poor posture, or even a bad mattress.

It can also occur due to age as more wear and tear of the spine occurs and can lead to other reasons mentioned ahead.

2. Pinched Nerve

One form of back pain that occurs due to a pinched nerve is commonly called sciatica. This occurs when the sciatic nerve, along some point in its pathway, is pinched or compressed, resulting in severe burning pain along the route of that nerve, along with other symptoms, as the pain signals are triggered.

3. Herniated Disc

A herniated disc can also lead to back pain, putting pressure on the surrounding nerves.

4. Spinal Stenosis

Another type of back pain occurs due to spinal stenosis. This means that the spinal canal (a hollow tube-like structure present between the vertebrae and which lodges the spinal cord) has narrowed. Spinal stenosis can also in turn pinch a nerve and cause pain.

5. Others

Back pain can also be felt due to issues with lower back muscles, injuries, fractures, infections or a number of other serious diseases. These can include fibromyalgia, arthritis or even cancer.

Risk Factors to watch out for:

Chronic pain can also occur due to these factors. You’ll notice that some of them might not be directly related to the back, but they play an important role in aggravating the pain. Keeping a check on these will prevent back pain from occurring, and also improve your overall health.

  • Smoking
  • Being physically inactive
  • Being over-weight or obese
  • Prolonged sitting (e.g. at long working hours at a desk)
  • Frequent lifting of heavy objects
  • Psychological distress

Lower back pain treatment options to go for:

Before starting any treatment, try to pinpoint why it is being triggered. Is your mattress too old and worn out? Or is the chair you sit on everyday uncomfortable? Is your lifestyle sedentary and you need to improve your fitness?

Try figuring out where the problem is, so that you can plan to eliminate it along with taking measures to treat it.

However, if your back pain severely affects your ability to carry out everyday tasks, or lasts for a very long time, it is recommended that you seek medical help from your primary care provider or from a qualified healthcare professional.

1. Get up and Stay up

The discs and cartilage in the back don’t have a very good blood supply and rely on the compression and movement of our daily activities to get their supply of nutrients. This speeds up the healing process.

2. Exercises and Physical Therapy

Staying active and performing regular exercise can reduce back pain. People with chronic pain, however, may need a slightly more active treatment, and are likely to benefit from the help that a physiotherapist can offer.

Back pain due to an unspecified cause has shown to be improved with properly tailored back exercises.

3. Improving Posture

If posture is your problem, try to avoid prolonged sitting. If your working hours are long and there is no choice, incorporate some simple stretches that you can perform at your desk (like side and back bends, and touching your toes), or use an alarm to remind you to get up for a short walk every half hour or so.

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4. Talk Therapy

For some people, cognitive behavioural therapy has proved to improve their pain, especially if a talk therapy is paired with physical therapy. People who think negatively, are depressed or anxious heal slowly and take longer to recover.

5.Other Remedies

Chronic back pain can also be improved by alternating between ice packs and heating packs, massage, yoga, deep breathing, and occasionally using anti-inflammatory pain medications.

Additionally, some people may find that spinal manipulation may help ease their pain, although it may not be recommended for all types of back pain.

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