Low Back Pain

Low back pain refers to pain that you feel in your lower back. You may also have back stiffness, decreased movement of the lower back, and difficulty standing straight.

Low back pain that is long-term is called chronic low back pain.

Low Back Pain Causes

Low back pain is common. Almost everyone has back pain at some time in their life. Often, the exact cause of the pain cannot be found.

A single event may not have caused your pain. You may have been doing many activities, such as lifting the wrong way, for a long time. Then suddenly, one simple movement, such as reaching for something or bending from your waist, leads to pain.

Many people with chronic back pain have arthritis. Or they may have extra wear and tear of the spine, which may be due to:

  • Heavy use from work or sports
  • Injuries or fractures
  • Surgery
  • You may have had a herniated disk, in which part of the spinal disk pushed onto nearby nerves.
  • Normally, the disks provide space and cushion in your spine. If these disks dry out and become thinner and more brittle, you can lose movement in the spine over time.

If the spaces between the spinal nerves and spinal cord become narrowed, this can lead to spinal stenosis. These problems are called degenerative joint or spine disease.

Treatment for Lower Back Pain

 Your back pain may not go away completely, or it may get more painful at times. Learn to take care of your back at home and how to prevent repeat episodes of back pain. This can help you continue with your normal activities.

Your doctor may recommend measures to reduce your pain, including:

  • A back brace to support your back
  • Cold packs and heat therapy
  • Traction
  • Physical therapy, involving stretching and strengthening exercises
  • Counseling to learn ways to understand and manage your pain

These other health care providers may also help:

  • Massage therapist
  • Someone who performs acupuncture
  • Someone who does spinal manipulation (a chiropractor, osteopathic physician, or physical therapist)

If needed, your doctor may prescribe medicines to help with your back pain:

  • Aspirin, naproxen (Aleve), or ibuprofen (Advil), which you can buy without a prescription
  • Low doses of prescription medicines
  • Narcotics or opioids when the pain is severe
  • If your pain does not improve with medicine, physical therapy, and other treatments, your doctor may recommend an epidural injection.

Other treatments that may be recommended if your pain does not improve with medicine and physical therapy include:

  • Spinal surgery, only if you have nerve damage or the cause of your pain does not heal after a long time
  • Spinal cord stimulation, in which a small device sends an electric current to the spine to block pain signals

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Doctor Root is a caring Pain Management Specialist in the San Fernando Valley. He treats a variety of pain conditions and is committed to walk this journey to a life with less pain!

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