Lumbar pain–more commonly called lower back pain–affects 60 to 80 percent of adults in the United States. Stemming from the area of five bony vertebrae just above the tailbone, lumbar pain can be severe. Fortunately, most cases are treatable through non-surgical methods. Here’s the information you need to feel better.
Disc Herniation: A Frequent Cause of Lumbar Pain
A marvelous system of cushions and spacers is built into your spinal column. These intervertebral discs are composed of a stiffer outer shell and an interior, jelly-like substance. When stressed from impact, heavy lifting, or degenerative disease, these discs herniate or bulge out from their normal positions in the spine.
Nerve impingement and pain results, particularly in the lower back, buttocks, and down the leg on the affected side. Also called sciatica, this stubborn, burning pain impacts mobility and even bladder and bowel control.
Other Reasons For Lumbar Pain
Additionally, people with lumbar pain may have muscular strain and spasms due to accidental injury, exercise, or even lack of movement. Finally, some patients have spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal, or spondylolisthesis in which an injured fifth vertebrae moves out of position and impinges on the sacrum below the lumbar region.
How to Relieve Lumbar Pain
A complete in-office evaluation with your orthopedic doctor in Kingsport, TN, will give you the answers you need for lower back pain relief and prevention of future symptoms. Your care plan will be fully individualized to your physical examination and imaging results, your health history, and desired therapeutic outcomes. It may surprise you to know that most lumbar pain solutions are non-surgical, even when the diagnosis is a herniated disc. Here are just some of the interventions you may be instructed to employ to relieve your symptoms.
Get Physical Therapy
At Watauga Orthopaedics, our physical therapists complete functional capacity evaluations on lower back pain patients. They recommend targeted stretching and strengthening exercises and may use the following to control and even eliminate back discomfort:
- Massage therapy
- Applied heat and cold
- Assistive devices, such as bracing
Take Pain Medication
Your doctor will recommend over-the-counter medications to relieve pain during flare-ups of pain. Usually, people take aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen for lower back pain. Prescription muscle relaxants and/or opioid medications are reserved for more extreme cases.
Adjust Your Workstation
Ergonomics is the science of workplace efficiency. As applied to lower back pain, proper ergonomics places chairs at comfortable heights, adjusts computer screens to eye level, and cushions concrete floors. Use proper body mechanics if you do heavy lifting tasks. Also, if your job involves a lot of sitting, consider using a standing desk, and always take regular breaks to stretch and move around.
Learn To Relax
Stress suppresses the production of beneficial endorphins in the brain. It also tightens muscles. So, employ stress relieving techniques that work for you–deep breathing, yoga, and meditation, as examples.
Consult The Experts at Watauga Orthopedics
Our bone and joint care is second to none. We have an extensive multidisciplinary team at three locations to serve you: Kingsport, Johnson City, and Bristol, TN. If you have lower back pain, please call our office team at (423) 282-9011, or book a visit online through our homepage. We look forward to seeing you and helping you feel and function at your very best.