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Lumbago – Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

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What is Lumbago?

Lumbago is described as lower back pain which is a common musculoskeletal disorder. Lower back pain is said to be due to strain or sprain affecting the muscle and soft tissue of the lumbar region. Lumbago can limit one’s ability for movement and can hinder normal daily activities aside from causing discomfort. It is classified according to the duration of the symptoms.


Classification

  1. Acute – acute lumbago lasts less than 4 weeks
  2. Sub-acute – symptoms of this type of lumbago lasts 4 to 12 weeks
  3. Chronic – symptom is classified as chronic when the symptom lasts for more than 12 weeks

Lumbago Symptoms

Onset of lower back pain may come in suddenly or gradually. Symptoms vary from one case to another but normally, symptom of pain is accompanied by stiffness.

  • Lower back pain that does not radiate to any other part such as buttocks or legs.
  • Pain or ache at the lower back is experienced at certain movement or positions.
  • Pain is localized.
  • Stiffness in the back is experienced especially in the mornings
  • Difficulty in bending or twisting.
  • Pain is felt with every sneezing or coughing.

Immediate medical attention should be considered if symptom of lower back pain is accompanied by other symptoms which may indicate a more serious underlying condition beyond lumbago and these include:

  • Fever and chills
  • Leg weakness
  • Bowel movement incontinence
  • Bladder incontinence
  • Continuous abdominal and back pain I severe form

Lumbago Causes

The most common cause of lower back pain is usually overuse or sudden lifting of heavy load. Repetitive movement or use of lower back such as in bending may also cause lumbago. However, there are conditions that may cause lower back pain although these are less common:

  • Fractures
  • Poor posture
  • Insufficient oxygen supply
  • Stress
  • Restricted movement of the hip
  • Condition where the length of the legs are not equal
  • Abnormal structure of the feet
  • Certain underlying conditions or disorder such as: Slipped disc, Sacroiliac joint dysfunction, Degenerative discs, Scheuermann’s kyphosis, Apophyseal osteoarthritis
  • Congenital abnormalities
  • Inflammatory condition may also result to lower back pain such as:
    • Epidural abscess brought by infection
    • Rheumatoid arthritis as a result of inflammatory response in the joints
    • Ankylosing spondilitis affecting the joint in the spine and sacroiliac joint in the spine
    • Sacroiliitis where sacroiliac joint is affected or is inflamed.
  • Bone neoplasm may also result to lower back pain
  • Fractures of different types may also lead to lumbago especially those involving the lumbar region.

Lumbago Treatment

Lower back pain that is not a result of any serious condition often required conservative treatment. People suffering from lumbago are sometimes treated symptomatically without referring to underlying condition that may have brought them lumbago. This is true with acute lumbago unless accompanied by other symptoms that may signal more serious condition. Conservative treatment of lumbago in acute cases not debilitating may include:

  • Managing pain through application of hot or cold compress on the affected area.
  • Continuous range of motion activity within the limits of pain.
  • Bed rest of not more than 2 days.
  • Physical therapy such as massage or electrical stimulation.
  • Stretching and aerobic exercises which can help in restoring strength and motion of the lower back to alleviate pain.
  • Exercise help in blood circulation and release muscle tightness and spasm. Exercise motion may include:
    • Knee bend
    • Waist twists
    • Hip roll
  • Medications such as anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxant.
  • Lower back pain in chronic form may require medications such as anti-biotic to eliminate chronic pain brought by inflammation as a result of bacterial infection.
  • Chronic form of lumbago may also include tricyclic antidepressants.
  • Acupuncture can also help chronic lumbago.

Surgery is recommended when the chronic or severe pain is not alleviated through conservative treatment and when there is a progressing neurologic symptom. Surgery may include:

  • Microdisectomy
  • Disectomy
  • Laminectomy
  • Foraminotomy
  • Spinal fusion

People suffering with lower back pain can recover completely even with or without medical intervention. However, prevention of lower back pain is much better than treating it more so, suffering from it. It is always best to have a proper posture and consider proper position when working or moving about to avoid straining not only the lumbar region but all of the body parts. It is also best to consider living a healthy lifestyle and healthy diet.

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