Facts about Low Back Pain?
Low back pain or lumbago is a common musculoskeletal condition nowadays due to our hectic and stressful lifestyle. It is a condition that easily affects our daily routine and mood. For most episodes of low back pain, a specific underlying cause is never identified or even sought, and the pain is attributed generally problems such as muscle strain or joint sprain.
In individuals with chronic low back pain, the pain processing system itself may malfunction causing disproportionate levels of pain in response to stimuli that normally don't register as pain by the indiviual.
Who Gets It?
Don't be alarmed! Nearly everyone has low back pain sometime. Men and women are equally affected. It occurs most often between ages 30 - 50, due in part to the aging process but also as a result of sedentary life styles with too little exercise. Over exertion due to strenous activities can also bring about back pain. The risk of experiencing low back pain from disc disease or spinal degeneration increases with age.
Usually, low back pain unrelated to injury or other known cause is uncommon in pre-teen children. However, a backpack overloaded with schoolbooks and supplies can quickly strain the back and cause muscle fatigue.
Low back pain can be classified by duration of pain:
Acute episode - lasts for less than 6 weeks
Sub-acute episode - lasts for 6 - 12 weeks
Chronic episode - lasts for more than 12 weeks
The condition can be further classified by the underlying cause as:
What are the Possible Causes?
Structures on the back such as ligaments, vetebrae and muscles will degenerate as we aged making us more suceptible to injuries. Discs will also lose fluid and flexibility, which decreases their ability to cushion the vertebrae.
Pain can occur when, for example, someone lifts something too heavy or overstretches, causing a sprain, strain, or spasm in one of the muscles or ligaments in the back. If the spine becomes overly strained or compressed, a disc may rupture or bulge outward. This rupture may put pressure on one or more nerve roots. When these nerve roots become compressed or irritated, back pain results.
Low back pain may reflect nerve or muscle irritation or bone lesions. Most low back pain follows injury or trauma to the back, but pain may also be caused by degenerative conditions such as arthritis or disc disease, osteoporosis or other bone diseases, viral infections, irritation to joints and discs, or congenital abnormalities in the spine.
Obesity, smoking, weight gain during pregnancy, stress, poor physical condition, posture inappropriate for the activity being performed, and poor sleeping position also may contribute to low back pain.
Additionally, scar tissue created when the injured back heals itself does not have the strength or flexibility of normal tissue. Buildup of scar tissue from repeated injuries eventually weakens the back and can lead to more serious injury or more frequent relapse of back injury.