Anyone who has experienced back pain knows what an inconvenience it can be.
It can make it difficult to do everything from carrying in the groceries to playing with your children or pets.
We’re Capitol Physical Therapy, a Washington DC physical therapist clinic, and we want to help you understand some of the common causes of lower back pain, and how we can help you to manage your pain.
Keep reading to learn more.
What Is Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is quite common – eight in ten Americans will experience it at some point in their adult lives.
It can be localized (which means is felt solely in the lower back, above the tailbone) or radiating pain which travels to the legs and feet.
You may deal with acute pain – pain that shows up and goes away after a short time.
You may also have chronic back pain – this is back pain that continues on long after the event that originally caused it.
Although the pain may sometimes feel as though it is dire, the causes of lower back pain are generally not due to a serious issue or problem.
Keep reading to learn more about some common symptoms and causes of lower back pain.
Symptoms Of Lower Back Pain
Some of the symptoms of lower back pain will vary, depending on what the underlying cause of the pain is, however some will be common across all causes.
Aside from the obvious – pain in the lower back area – some things to watch for include:
- Low back stiffness
- Muscle spasms
- Numbness throughout the body
Generally, lower back pain will subside on its own, however, the following symptoms could indicate something more serious.
If you experience any of the following, you should seek medical attention:
- Change in sensation in the legs
- Unexpected weight loss
- Losing control of the bowels
- Difficulty going to the washroom
What Causes Lower Back Pain?
There is not one single cause of back pain.
In fact, leading researchers are still trying to figure out the main source of lower back pain.
But we do know some of the conditions or injuries that are prone to causing lower back pain.
Keep reading to learn more about these common causes of lower back pain.
1. Repetitive Strain Injury
Repetitive strain injury occurs when muscles and ligaments stretch too much and sustain tears from being over-used.
The cause of this is often repetitive motion, for instance, repeated twisting or lifting.
Physical therapy treatments for repetitive strain injury can help you manage this type of back pain.
The sciatic nerve links travels from the lower back to the hips, buttocks, and down each leg.
When a herniated disc presses on this nerve, it results in inflammation of the sciatic nerve, which is called sciatica.
This can result in a burning pain in the legs and feet.
Dry needling for sciatica pain is just one physical therapy method that can help if you’re dealing with this sort of back pain.
RELATED : Physical Therapy Treatments For Sciatica
3. Scoliosis Or Spine Curvature Abnormalities
However, while some are born with scoliosis, others can develop it during puberty.
These conditions place pressure on muscles, ligaments, tendons, and vertebrae, and can cause pain and poor posture.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition which causes pain and tenderness in muscles and bones.
The exact cause of fibromyalgia is not known, but current research suggests it’s an issue with how the brain processes pain, making it seem worse than it actually is.
Pain can range from being a mild, dull ache to intense discomfort.
Diagnosing fibromyalgia can be complicated since we understand so little about it, though research is coming a long way.
Physical therapy treatments for fibromyalgia, including dry needling, can help you manage this sort of back pain.
Arthritis is pain in the joints which occurs when cartilage meant to provide protection to joints from rubbing together wears down.
It can result in pain, swelling, stiffness and a reduced range of motion.
The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, but there are over a hundred different disorders that fall under this umbrella term.
Another common form of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis which is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system causes the body to attack itself.
Fibromyalgia is today understood to be a form of arthritis as well.
6. Spinal Stenosis
When your spinal column narrows, resulting in excess pressure on it, this is spinal stenosis.
The cause is usually degeneration of spinal discs which act to provide cushion for the vertebrae.
When this happens, the spinal cord can become compressed resulting in numbness, cramps, and weakness.
7. Herniated Disc
Also called a slipped or ruptured disc, a herniated disc occurs when the soft center of one of your spinal discs pushes through a crack in its tougher exterior casing.
The risk of this type of injury tends to increase with age, and often has a sudden onset after lifting or twisting the back.
How Can A Physical Therapist Help With Lower Back Pain?
If you are suffering from lower back pain, a physical therapist can help you to determine the cause of the pain and provide interventions.
This is because the cause often determines the kind of treatment that will best reduce your symptoms.
The goal is to lessen symptoms and prevent reoccurrence.
However the key to lasting, effective relief is to seek treatment as soon as possible – the longer you experience symptoms the harder it will be able to treat the cause.
Physical therapy treatments for low back pain can include:
- Movement exercises which are designed to decrease pain
- Manual therapy, in which a physical therapist uses hands-on techniques in order to help improve range of motion and reduce stiffness
- Progressive strengthening exercises which focus on the core stability
It’s also important to remember to stay consistent with your therapy in order to get the best possible results.
Book Your Appointment With Capitol Physical Therapy Today
Are you dealing with lower back pain?
Is stiffness, inflammation, or numbness making it difficult to do things you used to be able to do with ease?
Although it may be tempting to just “wait it out” and let the pain go away on its own, this can often cause things to get worse because you’re not tackling the underlying source of the pain.
If your lower back pain is making life more difficult, don’t wait any longer for relief.
We’re here to help.
1331 H St NW #200,
Washington, DC 20005
9560 Pennsylvania Ave. # 202,
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
Capitol Physical Therapy offers orthopedic and other pain related solutions, with our versitile team of physical therapists in Washington, DC