Lower Back Pain
What is Lower Back Pain?
Lower Back Pain (LBP) is a common disorder which refers to any type of back pain caused by strain on muscles of the vertebral column and abnormal stress. Around 80% are affected by LBP at some point in their lives.
In most cases, the cause is not due to a disease or serious back problem. In fact the underlying cause is often not identified or even looked for... the assumption is that the pain is from a mechanical problem such as a sprain of a ligament or muscle. In other instances, it could be a problem with one of the large sacroiliac joints or one of the small facet joints which connect with each other between two vertebrae. Another common cause might be a disc problem. This tends to cause nerve pain and might need further investigation.
It is often impossible for a doctor to locate the root or cause of the pain which for some can be unsettling... for others it is reassuring as it implies there is no serious underlying problem.
Lower back pain is classified by duration as acute (up to 6 weeks), sub- chronic (6 to 12 weeks) and chronic (12 weeks or more).
What are the Symptoms of Lower Back Pain?
Lower back pain can develop as a result of a sudden sharp movement from lifting something heavy or twisting the body awkwardly. Alternatively, it is possible to simply wake up one morning with lower back pain.
The pain can be anything from mild to severe and is usually located in one specific area. The pain can spread to one or both buttocks and thighs.
If you sneeze, cough or move your back, the pain is likely to be worse, whereas lying down flat usually eases the pain.
In most cases, the pain will disappear within 7 to 10 days, however, it is not uncommon to have further recurrences in the future. Those whose pain is more severe initially may have bouts of lesser pain ongoing for a long period afterwards. In a limited number of cases, the pain persists and becomes chronic.
Who is Prone to Lower Back Pain?
The older you are, the more likely you will suffer from lower back pain. Anyone from 30 to 40 and older.
Back pain is more common in people who are unfit.
People who are overweight, as this can place stress on the back causing pain.
If your job requires lifting, pushing, or pulling while twisting your spine, you may get back pain. If you work at a desk all day and do not sit up straight, you may also get back pain.
Some forms of arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis have genetic component and so can be hereditary.
Diseases such as cancer and arthritis can cause back pain.
If you smoke, it is possible that your body may not be able to get enough nutrients to the disks in your back. Smoker’s cough might cause back pain. Smokers tend to take longer to heal, so back pain may persist.
TRIGGER POINT SELF TREATMENT TECHNIQUE:
This technique involves locating the heart of the trigger/tender point. When this is compressed it may well trigger a specific referred pain map (preferably reproducing your symptoms). This technique involves applying direct, gentle and sustained pressure to the point:
1. Identify the tender/trigger point you wish to work on (as shown in the illustration above)
2. Place the host muscle in a comfortable position, where it is relaxed and can undergo full stretch.
3. Apply gentle, gradually increasing pressure to the tender point until you feel resistance. This should be experienced as discomfort and not as pain.
4. Apply sustained pressure until you feel the tender point yield and soften. This can take from a few seconds to several minutes.
5. Steps 3-4 can be repeated, gradually increasing the pressure on the tender/trigger point until it has fully yielded.
6. To achieve a better result, you can try to change the direction of pressure during these repetitions.
TRIGGER POINT SELF HELP - ADVICE
There are many reasons why you might have trigger points, so it is important to consider your trigger point pain in the context of the rest of your body. It must be stressed that the techniques offered on this page are not a substitute for therapy from a qualified practitioner; although aches and pains from trigger points are common, there can sometimes be an underlying pathology. It is advisable to always seek a proper diagnosis from a qualified medical practitioner or experienced manual therapist.
Stretching is an important part of the rehabilitation process and should begin as soon as pain allows and be continued throughout the rehabilitation program and beyond - Good maintenance prevents re-injury.
- Lying on your back, bend your knees into your chest and bring your arms out as a "T"
- As you exhale, lower your knees to the ground on the right
- Keep both shoulders pressed down firmly
- If the left shoulder lifts, lower your knees further away from the right arm
- Hold for 1-2 minutes each side
3 times on each side, twice daily