Lower back pain is the second highest reason for a visit to the doctor. It can disable you from work or recreation. It can occur through a car accident, fall, lifting injury, sport, or as simple as poor posture over time. The lower back is made up of ligaments, bones, muscles, and discs to provide stability while performing most of day to day activities such as walking, bending, sitting, standing, and lifting. Injury here can impair normal daily functions and definitely bring loss of enjoyment of life. Injury to the discs may cause neurological loss such as burning, numbness, tingling, or weakness into the legs. Most of the time pain improves with time, however, with injury, the effects can be long lasting.
- localized low back pain (achiness, soreness, burning, sharp, stiffness)
- leg pains (burning, achiness, numbness, shooting)
Screening and Diagnosis:
A highly trained physician will evaluate the cause of the injury whether it be traumatic or repetitive. After thorough examination, herniated disc and spinal fracture or instability should be ruled out due to the severe dysfunction that these injuries may provide. X-ray or MRI may be recommended as these are the “gold standard” in evaluation. Functional tests may be administered for work and recreation to make appropriate modifications. Neurological tests should be administered to make sure that there is no potential for leg dysfunction.
Severe acute pain should only involve rest for a few days. Medication may be prescribed by the physician to reduce pain and inflammation. Bracing may help stabilize the low back to make it bearable to walk, sit, stand, or lift. Next a highly trained chiropractor or physical therapist may be used to improve proper biomechanics of the lower back. Core stability exercises and stretches may improve functional loss. If the pain is severe or there is neurological loss into the legs, then interventional pain management or surgery maybe recommended. Conservative treatment may take weeks to months before stabilization is met.