Periodic or persistent back pain affects about 80% of the world's population. The problem occurs more often in women. The symptom is called lumbodynia. It is so common because of the constant high stress on the lumbar spine. He experiences pressure from 50 kg (in the supine position) to 220 kg if the person is sitting slouched over. The problem indicates a lifestyle bias or serious illness. With age, it aggravates and can lead to disability of the patient.
Physiological causes for pain
Discomfort in the form of pain is a defense reaction of the body. So he reacts to various "abnormal" processes inside, which doctors call pathologies. The body hurts when uncomfortable and after physical exertion, telling the brain that it is difficult for it to complete the tasks.
An uncomfortable position
Lumbar pains accompany prolonged inconvenience. The problem worries drivers and office workers, as they spend a lot of time sitting, when the lower back is exposed to maximum stress. A person has a backache from fatigue. If he does something for a long time in a bent position.
The back hurts after sleeping if the sleeping place is poorly equipped. For example, the surface of the bed is too hard or soft to provide adequate support for the spine and quality muscle relaxation.
Muscles and ligaments can hurt in the back. They support the spine in a stable position and undergo stress with intense physical effort. Conditions for the occurrence of pain arise with sudden movements, accompanied by muscle tension in the lumbar region. This happens if a person carries weights, pulls heavy objects, lifts them up and down (bending "in half").
Muscles can also strain during sports. If a person exercises a lot, his ligaments need time to recover. If there is no good rest, they wear out or become inflamed, which the nervous system signals with pain.
Women's back pain
The problem of lumbar pain is very common among women, since the beautiful half of humanity regularly experiences them under certain conditions. Menstrual abdominal pain is often accompanied by pulling discomfort in the lower back and sacral region. This is not associated with increased stress, but is a consequence of the production of prostaglandins (pain mediators). Before and during menstruation, the synthesis of mediators triggers hormonal changesin the female body.
The lower back of girls hurts while carrying a child (in 95% of pregnant women). Not only does the spine experience great stress outside of pregnancy. The pressure on the lower back increases many times over as the woman's weight increases. Additional loads are created by the pregnant belly. It pulls the body of the expectant mother forward, changing the axial load distribution. As a result, the woman's gait changes, low back pain occurs, the intensity of which increases in accordance with the duration of pregnancy. The loads increase in any position of the expectant mother, therefore, a good rest, lying on a quality mattress is extremely important to alleviate the woman's condition.
Discomfort often occurs in people who do not play sports or lift heavy objects at all. The reason for this is the weakening of the muscular apparatus. The back muscles must be strong in order to properly support the spine and relieve stress from it. If this does not happen, bone and cartilage tissue wears out faster, which is accompanied by pain.
The spine is formed by a skeleton of bone tissue - the vertebrae. Between them there are soft "layers" of cartilaginous tissue - vertebral discs. Vertebrae provide strength and stability, cartilage - flexibility and elasticity of the spine. The main structural elements are hollow in the center. The canal is filled with the spinal cord. All components are surrounded by blood vessels, nerve fibers. Pathologies in any element of the lumbar spine cause lumbodynia.
The disease develops when the intervertebral cartilage discs wear out. Due to heavy loads, the lumbar discs are damaged very often. The most common causes of severe lower back pain are protrusion (subsidence) and hernias (damage and protrusion of the contents) of the discs, in which the nerve roots of the spine are pinched. Osteochondrosis affects people over 35 years old. The disease is especially common in the elderly.
The lumbar spine is considered the strongest because it forms the main "axis" for the entire human body. However, with falls and sudden movements, the vertebrae of this section are most often injured. Most of the fractures and bruises of the spine are localized precisely in the lower back.
The vessels provide nutrition to all tissues of the spine. If their lumen narrows or overlaps, the trophic processes in the spine radically worsen. As a result, inflammation occurs, which always manifests itself in pain.
Entrapment of nerves
Nerve fibers can be damaged due to any damage to the cartilage and vertebrae, in case of infectious diseases. Any pathology of the nerves is accompanied by sharp shooting and sometimes unbearable back pain.
Osteoporosis leads to calcium leaching and bone fragility. If vertebral tissue is depleted, there is an increased risk of serious back injury. In addition, osteoporosis can change the shape of the bones of the spine and increase the pressure on the nerve roots.
Another cause of pain is tumors in the vertebrae. The most common type is hemangiomas. These benign neoplasms develop asymptomatically for a long time, but when the tumor becomes too large and extends beyond the vertebra, the patient experiences severe pain.
Arthritis can affect any joints in the body. The inflammation leads to joint damage and pain. It can be provoked by advanced and chronic infectious diseases. Another cause of arthritis is autoimmune damage to the connective tissue.
The lower back can hurt not only due to pathologies of the spine. Painful sensations associated with pathologies of internal organs or some systemic diseases can be given to the lumbar region.
Back pain is associated with kidney damage. Renal colic is accompanied by sharp and sharp pain on one or both sides of the back. More often it is felt just under the ribs in the back of the body.
Lumbar discomfort often occurs against the background of intestinal diseases, with inflammation of the pelvic organs (bladder, prostate - in men, ovaries and uterus - in women).
Psoriasis and ankylosing spondylitis lead to lumbar pain. In these diseases, violations occur in the structure of the connective tissue (cartilage). It loses its elasticity, and therefore often becomes inflamed. Over time, significant disturbances in the functioning of the joints occur, and the nerve endings are under persistent compression (impaired). With ankylosing spondylitis, the intervertebral spaces "ossify".
Lower back pain can cause herpes zoster. Rashes with this disease appear on the shoulder blades, ribs, but most often - on the lateral surfaces of the trunk in the lumbar region. The first pains appear before significant changes in the skin. When a blistering rash appears, the discomfort intensifies, complemented by itching. Even after the spots disappear completely, the person still has severe pain along the inflamed nerves. They can bother the patient for several months.
Malignant lesions of the spinal cord and bones do not initially change the patient's condition. As the tumor grows and the atypical cells spread in the structure of organs and tissues, changes occur in which the nerves are affected. This is manifested by severe pain. Discomfort in the lower back is felt not only with lesions of the lumbar spine, but also if the tumor grows in the internal organs, which are innervated by the nerve ganglia from this department.
Lower back pain can be phantom (in other words, invented by the patient himself). This happens with psychoneurotic disorders. The psyche does not work properly against the background of shocks, stresses, prolonged psycho-emotional stress. Discomfort can arise if a person instills illness in himself, suffers from overwork. Such signs appear for the first time after depression or a nervous breakdown and can bother the patient for many years.
How to get rid of lumbar pain
If unpleasant sensations occur in the lower back, the patient should fully rest, reduce the intensity of the load. As a rule, after a good rest, the discomfort subsides or disappears altogether. This is a typical symptom of pain provoked by an improper lifestyle, poor quality rest. If the pain persists, you need to think about a visit to the doctor.
The nature of back pain is diagnosed by traumatologists, vertebrologists, orthopedists. You can contact any of the listed specialists. At the first consultation, the doctor will interview the patient, examine him, conduct several tests (check the sensitivity of the nerves, the condition of the muscles). If a diagnosis cannot be made based on the information received, an additional examination will be scheduled. To assess the condition of the bone tissue, an x-ray is prescribed. The structure of cartilage, nerves, the condition of the blood vessels and the spinal cord can be assessed by MRI. If the doctor suspects a systemic disease, the patient is prescribed laboratory diagnostics (general and biochemical blood and urine tests). Only after making the correct diagnosis, the specialist will prescribe the treatment.
The list of drugs depends entirely on the diagnosis. To quickly eliminate symptoms, the patient will be prescribed a short course of pain relievers (usually from the NSAID group). With strong inflammatory and autoimmune changes, glucocorticoid drugs are prescribed. For diseases of cartilage tissue, chondroprotectors are recommended in injections or tablets. If the problem is with the muscles, muscle relaxants are recommended. To restore the work of nerve endings, B vitamins are prescribed.
The main treatment is directed at the cause of the pain. If it is caused by diseases of the internal organs, drug therapy will correct disorders in the functioning of the kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, and genitals. The symptoms will disappear as the underlying disease is eliminated. With unbearable pain, a nerve blockade is performed (analgesics are injected directly into the zones of the nerve roots).
To enhance the action of injections or tablets, external pain relievers (patches, ointments, gels) may be prescribed. Such drugs can be used independently, with recurrent lower back pain against a background of tension or increased stress. To relieve the condition, you can use pepper or menthol patch. They are also allowed to be used without a doctor's prescription.
To treat low back pain, a specialist may recommend special treatments. These include acupuncture, physiotherapy with electric currents, ultrasound, therapeutic ultraviolet rays. In some cases, exercise therapy and massage are indicated. If the vertebrae are displaced, the help of a chiropractor may be required to set the bone back in place. Any procedures must be selected together with a doctor. It is forbidden to undergo treatment in which they act directly on the spine, without diagnosing the disease. In this case, the procedures may not only be useless, but also harm the patient.
To prevent lower back pain, you need to monitor the health of the spine from a young age. It is important to correctly exert loads on the back (to lift objects squatting, and not bending, push heavy objects, and not pull them towards you). You should engage in moderate physical activity and select exercises with a trainer. It is also important to treat infectious diseases in a timely manner, avoid stress, take any medication reasonably and as prescribed by a doctor.