Chronic Low Back and Buttock Pain
Chronic lower back and buttocks pain is amongst the most common combination of pain suffered by individuals. The muscles found in the lower back and buttocks are the most important postural muscles in the human body. And any underlying condition that affects them is very likely to reduce the efficiency at which physical activities are being carried out, thereby leaving the patient in a debilitating state.
The buttocks muscle is one of the strongest muscle, so when it gets marred by symptoms, physical functionality is gravely affected.
Most times, pain radiates from the lower back into the buttocks and it is referred to as sciatica or lumbar radiculopathy. Some characteristics of pains that take this form are listed below;
- The pains are always severe
- The pain can get worse when the patient tries to stand, walk or lie facing down, i.e. it is extension sensitive.
- The pain is also aggravated by flexion movements like sitting or trying to bend forward, i.e. it is flexion sensitive.
Possible Symptoms That Accompany Lumbar Radiculopathy Includes;
- Presence of pins and needles sensation
- Presence of muscle spasms in the lower back and buttocks.
Lumbar radiculopathy can also be classified based on the duration; it could be acute or chronic.
Acute Form: this kind of pain is sharp and It begins all too sudden. It could be as a result of a ruptured disc.
Chronic Form: this kind of pain comes gradually and it is as a result of the narrowing of the spinal canals where the nerves passes through along its course. The chronic pain could also be as a result of the piriformis muscle compressing the sciatic nerve, thereby making it irritated and inflamed.
Who is likely to get affected?
- Older people
- People who have poor physical fitness
- People who are involved in heavy-lifting
In this article, we will examine the causes and management of these devitalizing pain conditions.
Possible Causes of Chronic Low Back and Buttocks Pain
There are so many underlying conditions that can cause this kind of pain syndrome. Below are some of them;
Damage or Injury
Any damage to the disc in the spinal column would cause this pain syndrome, as the gelatinous material found in the inner disc is pushed out and irritates the nerves along the line
Narrowing of The Spinal Canal
When the spinal canal becomes narrow, it compresses and adds a lot of pressure to the spinal nerves that travel through the path. Thereby causing irritation to the nerves, which results in the generation of pain, numbness and tingling sensations. The narrowing of the spinal canal is called spinal stenosis.
Any irritation or injury to the piriformis muscle found in the gluteal region (buttocks) of the body would cause chronic back pain. The sciatic nerve runs alongside these muscle, so any slight inflammation or irritation of the muscle would cause it to swell thereby compressing the sciatic nerve, this would in turn result to buttocks pain.
As one gets older, the disks present in the vertebrae can undergo wear and tear, and as the disks starts to shrink in size, the cushioning effect of the disk is lost, making the bones (vertebras) rub against each other. This resultant effect of this is severe pain felt at the lower back which unarguably radiates to the buttock causing buttocks pain. And sometimes, this condition brings about numbness and tingling sensations.
Other possible causes of chronic low back and buttocks pain are;
- Muscle strain
- Sacroiliac joint dysfunction
- Piriformis syndrome
There are few occasions when the underlying causes of the chronic low back and buttocks pain are so rare and unusual, and they become life-threatening. They include;
Heredity: some inherited traits can cause small spinal anomalies, making its canal vulnerable to narrowing or the disc becoming damaged. Any of this can lead to back pain that radiates to the buttocks and down to the legs.
Tumor: any tumor that grows on or near the spinal column would obviously affect the sciatic nerve, causing severe back pain that radiates to the buttocks and legs.
Treatment of Chronic Low Back and Buttocks Pain
Treating chronic low back and buttocks pain needs a multidisciplinary line of treatment regimens. It could be a combination of medications and physical therapies to ensure quick recovery and alleviation of the pain symptoms.
The Physiotherapist may recommend;
- The administration of corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation and the pain
- Physical therapies like exercise can also be used to increase strengthen and increase mobility around the affected areas
- The use of surgery when push turns to shove.