When does low back pain or lower back pain occur?


Lower back pain

Low back pain, lumbago or lumbar pain is a fairly common aliment located in the lower back. It affects at least 80% of the population (young people, adults and the elderly) at least once in their lives, due to alterations in the different structures that make up the spinal column (vertebrae, intervertebral discs, mucles, ligaments…).

The most frequent cause of this bkac pain is mechanical low back pain; which is usually related to muscle overload, a herniated disc or repetitive movements. In most cases, these ailments can be avoided by introducing good lifestyle habits (exercise, balanced diet, correct posture…).

On the other hand, it should be borne in mind that this discomfort can extend byond the lumbar region (radiating lumbar pain) and spread to the lower limbs of the body. Moreover, it can persist over time and develop into  chonic low back pain, becoming disabling.


What causes lumbago

The causes of back pain are very varied, but most often have a biomechanical origin (overexertion, posture, trauma…). This mechanical low back pain, which appears both suddenly and progressively, can be very painful and become truly limiting.

The mechanical causes of low back pain alter the normal position of the spine and thus expose the vertebrae to incorrect weight bearing:

  • Bad posture at work, static postures and other attitudes that lead to the strain of a ligament or muscle in the back.
  • Blows or trauma (fractures due to osteoporosis)
  • Repetitive or sudden movements (repeated heavy lifting, sudden wrong movements, frequent bending and twisting of the trunk…)
  • A herniated disc
  • Lumbar facet syndrome
  • Canal stenosis (osteoarthritis of the spinal column)

As with other conditions, it is key to seek help when the pain does not go away or significantly impacts daily life. In addition, mechanical low back pain can become complicated and lead to chronic low back pain, sciatica or a herniated disc, among others.

Back pain can also be due to inflammatory causes (inflammatory low back pain). This type of low back pain is much less common than mechanical low back pain. It is usually caused by infections, tumours  or serious organic problems.

Symptoms and treatment of low back pain

Although the symptoms of low back pain vary depending on the cause and severity of the injury, the most common signs are severe, throbbing pain in the lower back (it can extend to other parts such as the buttocks or legs), a feeling of stiffness, difficulty in movement or loss of flexibility, among others.

In its diagnosis, according to our specialists in lumbago in Mallorca, it is essential to study each case individually and use instruments such as the patient’s medical history, physical examination and imaging tests (when necessary). In this way, the origin of the discomfort is established and the most appropiate treatment for back pain is determined:

  • Medications for low back pain
  • Heat or ice applications to the painful area
  • Suspension of physical activities
  • Avoidance of actions that overload the spine
  • McKenzie method for low back pain

However, surgery may be appropiate when non-surgical treatment for back pain is ineffective or insufficient. Before making any decision, it is important to have had at least a couple of consultations with specialists to get to know the case in depth.


How to prevent low back pain

Obesity, bad posture, a sedentary lifestyle, inadequate physical effort, incorrect positions… are some of the factors that contribute to aggravating low back pain and, therefore, aspects to which we must pay special attention.

Although low back pain may hide an uncontrollable cause, many times steps can be taken to aliviate or prevent back pain:

  • Do exercises to strengthen the lumbar muscles: avoid sports that involve overexertion of the back
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet: being overweight puts more strain on the muscles of the spine.
  • Wath your posture when walking: avoid slouching, do not overdo it with high heels or heavy bags
  • Take care of your back when sleeping: use a mattress that is neither too hard nor too white, sleep on your back with a pillow under your knees and another under your lower back
  • Maintain postural hygiene at work: place the computer screet at eye level, put your back straight against the backrest, support your feet and have a suitable chair.
  • Carrying weight with your knees bent: do not bend your back to lift a heavy object or make sudden movements. It is important to bend your knees and keep your back straight in these cases.
  • Be careful with repetitive movements: if they cannot be avoided, they should be done correctly, with breaks and stretching, short walks or frequent changes of posture.