CHRONIC LOWER BACK PAIN
Lower back pain is a very common disorder that involves the muscles, nerves and bones of the back region of the human body. The pain can sometimes vary from a mild constant ache to a sudden sharp discomforting feeling.
Lower back pain can be classified based on the duration of the pain felt; it could be acute, sub-chronic, or chronic.
- Acute lower back pain – it is a pain lasting less than 6 weeks
- Sub-chronic lower back pain – it is a pain that spans from 6 to 12 weeks (does not exceed the 12-week mark)
- Chronic lower back pain – it is the type that lasts longer than 12 weeks.
But in this article, we would place our emphasis more on “chronic lower back pain.”
Statistics have shown that approximately 9%-12% of people in the world have lower back pain at any given period in time. Also, about 40% of individuals have lower back pain at some time in their lives. Majority of the sufferers of this ailments are found in developed countries.
What are the signs and symptoms off chronic lower back pain?
Chronic lower back pain comes with a lot of associated sleep problems; a great amount of time is needed to fall asleep, there are a lot of disturbances during sleep, sleeps are always short, and there is no totally no satisfaction derived after sleeping.
Furthermore, majority of chronic lower back pain sufferers exhibits a high degree of anxiety and depression.
What are the underlying causes of chronic lower back pain?
Lower back pain by itself is not a disease but it is as a result of so many underlying bodily ailments and sometimes, it could be as a result of strenuous physical activities that exerted a lot of pressure on the back muscles, discs, ligaments and even nerves. When carrying out a diagnosis, the actual cause of the lower back pain is seldom found. So physical tests and other examinations are being implemented to get to the root cause of the pain.
A large amount of people that suffer from chronic lower back pain have arthritis, or may experience wear and tear of the spine, which may be due to: heavy use from work and also engaging in high-energy sporting activities, injuries and fractures and also surgery.
Below, are other underlying problems that results in chronic lower back pain;
Herniated disk – The disks serves to provide cushioning and support to the spines. But in this condition, parts of the spinal disks that presents some amount of cushioning effect gets pushed onto nearby nerves, causing grave pain and limited movements in the spine.
Spinal stenosis – It is the narrowness of the spaces between the spinal nerves and spinal cord. It could also be referred to as degenerative joint or spine disease.
Scoliosis or kyphosis – This is the unusual curvature of the spine. This condition brings about chronic pain to the lower part of the back.
Fibromyalgia – It is a condition in which a person has widespread body pains, and it lasts for a long period of time (chronic). However, the cause of this is unknown. So anyone that has this disorder is at greater risk of having chronic lower back pain.
Piriformis syndrome – This is a pain disorder that involves the piriformis muscle in the buttocks. This too can cause chronic lower back pain.
Who are at risk of getting chronic low back pain?
Well, you stand a higher chance for chronic low back pain if you:
- Are over-weight
- Are pregnant
- Do not exercise regularly
- Are over the age of 30
- Always feel depressed or stressed
- Live a sedentary lifestyle
How can chronic low back pain be diagnosed?
This condition can be diagnosed based on its underlying cause. Whether it is caused mechanically, non-mechanically or by a referred pain. This is usually done by Medical Imaging.
Managing chronic low back pain
Managing chronic low back pain involves the use of Multidisciplinary Treatment Programs. The use of non-medication based treatments like Exercise Therapy can be used, and it has been proven to be highly effective in resolving pain related complaints and improving bodily functions. The use of Exercise Therapy is also proven to reduce the recurrence of the pain for as long as six months after completion of the treatment program.
Notwithstanding, the use of NSAID is recommended should in case, the other non-medication based treatment proves non-effective.
At Southlake Pain Center, we proffer the following treatments. They include;
- Lumbar Radiofrequency Ablation
- Lumbar Facet Injection
- Lumbar Inter-Laminar Epidural Steroid Injection
- Lumbar Caudal Epidural Steroid Injection
- Lumbar Medial Branch Block