Pain in the lower back is a symptom that can be linked to various diseases. They can be permanent or periodic, local or generalized.
If a person has lumbar spine pain, they will be prescribed a full exam to determine the cause.
Possible causes of back pain and their characteristics
Back pain can be caused for a number of reasons, depending on how severe the symptoms are. Pain syndrome lowers a person's quality of life, restricts mobility, and makes it impossible to carry out everyday tasks.
There are many causes that cause back pain in the lumbar spine. Some of them are very serious and require immediate specialist intervention.
Lumbar sciatica is a disease of the musculoskeletal system in which there is compression and inflammation of the roots of the spine. This pathology is of a secondary nature, since it develops against the background of degenerative processes of the musculoskeletal system.
Common symptoms in this case are:
- Pain syndrome, aggravated by sudden movements, weight lifting. The localization of the pain depends on the degree of damage. The syndrome can affect the lumbar and buttock areas at the back or front of the thigh. If the nerve endings under the first and second intervertebral discs are damaged, the patient has lumbago in the lumbar spine and buttocks.
- Increase the severity of pain when coughing and sneezing.
- Inability to stay in one position for long.
- Mobility disorders: inability to freely tilt the trunk forwards, backwards or to the side, inability to bend the fingers of the lower extremities.
If you have radiculitis of the lumbar spine, pain usually comes on suddenly and stops spontaneously. The next time the pain becomes more acute, more pronounced.
Osteoporosis of the spine is a phenomenon in which the process of leaching calcium from the bones occurs and the activity of the cells responsible for bone growth is disturbed. In such conditions, bones are quickly destroyed and their density is constantly decreasing. Osteoporosis is difficult to suspect in the early stages of development.
Most often, when the patient is very tense, he feels severe pain in the lumbar spine - with a sharp turn of the body, a fall and a weight lift.
In addition to severe pain in the lower back, osteoporosis has the following manifestations:
- chronic fatigue;
- belly bulge;
- impaired the mobility of the spine.
With a compression fracture caused by osteoporosis of the lumbar spine, there is acute pain that increases with palpation of the affected area, as well as muscle spasms.
In the case of scoliosis of the lumbar spine, its structures deviate to the right or left. These changes are reflected in the state of the surrounding tissue: they are irritated, foci of inflammation appear in the musculo-ligament-like structures.
Left-sided scoliosis is most commonly diagnosed. Left-handed people develop scoliosis on the right side.
In the initial stages, scoliosis of the lumbar spine may not occur. Negative changes can only be followed through the results of the X-ray examination.
The characteristic symptoms in this case are, in addition to severe pain in the lumbar spine:
- swelling in the lumbar region;
- chest pain;
- Shifting the pelvic girdle, making one lower limb shorter in relation to the other;
- blade divergence.
Characteristic features of pain in scoliosis of the lumbar spine: its appearance at the beginning of physical activity, a decrease in the intensity of discomfort when walking. Pain is usually short-lived.
Lumbar bruises occur with falls and blows. The lumbar region is most susceptible to traumatic influences.
Lumbar spine bruises are closed damage to tissues and parts of the spine that do not cause anatomical abnormalities. This type of injury is common in both athletes and people who work in the workplace.
The following additional symptoms are observed with bruises:
- hematoma formation;
- reddening of the skin;
- increased pain when pressing on the injury site.
If the bruise is severe, the conduction of nerve impulses in certain areas of the lumbar spine may in some cases be disrupted - a complete loss of sensitivity.
Symptoms are more pronounced with lumbar injuries and include the following:
- pain when examining the affected area;
- growing hematoma;
- pain when turning the body, inability to bend;
- swelling in the ankle area, which indicates poor blood circulation;
- Paralysis and paresis of the lower extremities.
Rheumatoid arthritis of the spine is another likely cause of lumbar pain. In this case, the joints located in this area are affected.
Rheumatoid arthritis pain most often occurs at night, usually in the morning. At the initial stage, the syndrome can be suppressed with the help of special exercises, but at night the pain reappears.
Other symptoms: increased local temperature over the affected area, accumulation of fluid in the cavities of the affected joint.
Osteochondrosis is a pathological process in which the intervertebral discs lose their elasticity. As the disease progresses, cracks and hernias form.
In the initial stage of osteochondrosis, back pain rarely occurs and does not differ in intensity. In the future, they will acquire a pronounced chronic character. The patient feels stiffness in movement, constant fatigue. Difficulties arise in flexing and straightening the back.
Pain often radiates to the lower extremities. At the same time, tingling and numbness occur.
An increase in the intensity of unpleasant sensations occurs with increasing physical exertion, making sudden movements and lifting weights.
If the back hurts in the lumbar region, it can be associated with such a dangerous pathology as cancer. In this case, a malignant tumor does not necessarily affect the bone structures of the spine. In this case, the pancreas, which is behind the stomach, may be affected and the lower back pain may occur. Severe pain indicates advanced stages of cancer.
Also, pain in the lumbar region can be associated with the fact that tumors of other organs have metastasized to the specified area.
In women, cramps in the lower back can be a signal that ovarian cancer is developing. In men, sharp and persistent cramps signal a prostate tumor.
Women are often concerned about back pain. A similar symptom can appear under the influence of pathologies, such as: B. :
- rupture of ovarian tissue;
- pathological processes of the uterus;
- cysts in the ovaries;
- cervical cancer;
- inflammatory processes of the fallopian tubes;
- benign formations on the inner wall of the uterus.
Lower back pain is common in women who have undergone an artificial abortion. Unpleasant sensations are caused by mechanical damage to the uterine tissue and the lengthy process of wound tightening.
With gynecological diseases in women, pulling, aching back pain. In addition, there is a violation of the menstrual cycle, loss of strength, irritability and an increase in body temperature. Often the pain syndrome is supplemented by secretions of various consistencies and colors from the vagina.
The pain syndrome in this case is caused by a hormonal imbalance and inflammatory processes that spread to the tissues of the lumbar spine.
Pain in the lower back of the belt is a sure sign of kidney disease.
A similar symptom accompanies pathologies such as:
- Nephroptosis (kidney prolapse).
With the presence of stones in the urinary tract, the pain in the lumbar region is not too pronounced, has a dull character. With inflammatory processes in which the kidneys are involved, the pain is painful and constant. The place of its localization in this case is to the left and right of the spine.
Acute pain indicates renal colic. The pain radiates to the groin, inner thigh, and anterior abdominal wall.
Additional manifestations that can indicate kidney disease are:
- increased blood pressure;
- swelling of the arms, legs and face that occurs after waking up and disappears during the day;
- change in urination: the process can be quick and painful or, conversely, rarely until it is completely stopped;
- increased sweating;
- Loss of appetite.
Lower back discomfort and pain are often associated with the fetus pressing on the kidneys in pregnant women. In this case, the pain syndrome is not associated with any pathology, it is a completely natural phenomenon.
Diseases of the genitourinary system in men
In the stronger sex, back pain often occurs in diseases of the urogenital system. Most often, the discomfort is caused by prostatitis - an inflammatory process of the prostate. With this disease, the urination process and sexual function are disturbed. In addition to lower back pain, there is pulling pain in the lower abdomen.
Another male disease that contributes to the occurrence of pain in the lumbar region is epididymitis, an inflammation of the epididymis.
Lumbar myositis is an inflammatory process of muscle tissue that manifests itself in muscle pain and weakness, sometimes in their atrophy. The disease can be caused by infectious processes, trauma, hypothermia and metabolic disorders in the body.
This pathology is characterized by:
- aching pain in the lower back that worsens with movement;
- Sensation of dull weakness in the muscles;
- Swelling, reddening of the skin.
With tuberculosis of the spine, the lower back often hurts. The type of pain syndrome in this case depends on how many vertebrae are involved in the pathological process, as well as the degree of deformation of the structures.
The main signs of spinal tuberculosis are:
- Severe pain in the lumbar region. This localization is associated with the fact that the lumbar region is the largest part of the spine that receives the maximum load.
- Increased sweat at night.
- Enlargement of the lymph nodes.
- Temperature rise within 37, 1-37, 3 degrees.
- Constant fatigue.
As tuberculosis of the spine progresses, there is an angular curvature of this structure, the development of abscesses in the lumbar and chest regions.
The fading of sexual function in women is often accompanied by pain in the lower back. A similar phenomenon is associated with a decrease in ovarian activity, which is reflected in the level of the hormone estrogen. In the conditions of its deficiency, bone tissue becomes more fragile and prone to damage.
Against the background of hormonal changes, the entire musculoskeletal system becomes vulnerable: the cartilage and intervertebral discs become weaker, the muscles and ligaments lose their elasticity. As a result, the lumbar region, which is always the most stressed, is particularly at risk.
In addition to pulling pain in the lower back, menopausal women experience headaches, excessive sweating and hot flashes.
A violation of the blood circulation caused by pathological vascular processes can also cause pain in the lumbar region. Thrombophlebitis, atherosclerosis, and phlebothrombosis all contribute to the onset of pain syndrome.
The appearance of blood clots in the veins, inflammation of the vascular walls, narrowing of the vascular lumen - all this obstructs the full flow of blood and thereby limits the oxygen supply to the tissues and structures of the body, which has a negative effect on their condition.
Additional symptoms associated with vascular disease are vein swelling, heaviness in the extremities and bluish skin color.
With intestinal diseases, pain can radiate into the lower back. This is due to the fact that the intestinal tract occupies a significant space in the abdominal cavity. If part of it undergoes pathological changes, it grows and puts pressure on other organs. The spine is also at risk.
In ulcerative colitis, aggravation of appendicitis, intestinal obstruction and irritable bowel syndrome, the pain extends to the lumbar region.
With pathological processes that spread to the stomach, the pain is localized in the upper part of the lower back. They appear after a meal with the appearance of a feeling of hunger if harmful products are misused.
The following symptoms are observed in parallel:
- stool disorders;
- stomach pain.
Being overweight puts additional strain on the spine, especially the lumbar spine. Constant pressure carries the risk of developing musculoskeletal pathologies, causing injuries to the intervertebral discs, curvatures of the spine and osteochondrosis.
In addition to the above pathological causes, there may be pain in the lumbar zone due to prolonged driving or computer use, excessive exercise in the gym, hobbies for summer housework, and a sedentary lifestyle.
Which doctor should I go to?
The occurrence of back pain is often caused by serious disorders in the body. Hence, it is important to consult a doctor in a timely manner to diagnose and treat the true cause.
If the patient has pain in the lumbar spine, a specialist must be consulted:
- is regular;
- appears constantly after physical exertion;
- does not disappear while lying down;
- is associated with numbness of the limbs and an increase in body temperature.
The main specialists to turn to if your back hurts in the lumbar region are:
- vertebrate (treats osteochondrosis and other neurological diseases);
- Nephrologist (urologist): this specialist diagnoses and treats whether pain in the lower back is associated with pathological processes in the genitourinary system.
If necessary, other specialists are involved in the diagnosis and treatment process: an orthopedist, surgeon, gynecologist, oncologist, gastroenterologist.
If there is pain in the lumbar region, the following diagnostic measures are prescribed:
- general examination, identification of anamnesis;
- tests to determine the nerve endings retained;
- blood test to assess the hemoglobin level;
- X-ray examination of the spine;
- ultrasound of the abdominal organs;
- Endoscopy of the uterus, stomach, intestines;
- bone scintigraphy.
The activities listed will allow you to get a complete picture of the patient's condition, identify the disease causing pain in the lumbar spine and determine the appropriate course of treatment.
Approaches to treating back pain
The main treatment for back pain depends on what caused the symptom. Therapy is aimed at eliminating the existing disease.
The treatment is based on the following:
- the use of drugs to suppress inflammatory processes;
- Performing physiotherapy procedures to accelerate the recovery of the affected structures;
- physical therapy exercises.
During the treatment process, the patient must avoid active sports, as well as physical activity, so as not to aggravate the course of the pathological process. During the rehabilitation period, the patient may be advised to practice yoga, swimming, and hiking in the fresh air.
The therapy also includes dietary changes. The patient should refuse heavy food, everything fat and fried. It is important to give up bad habits - this will greatly speed up the healing process.
For pain in the lumbar region, drugs are usually prescribed in the form of injections that contain vitamin B. The tasks of these drugs are:
- Accelerating the recovery of damaged nerve fibers;
- increasing the functional activity of the central and peripheral nervous system;
- Acceleration of metabolic processes.
If there is severe, intense pain in the lower back, strong pain relievers are prescribed.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that control inflammation are also given by injection.
After an injection of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, drugs of this group are prescribed in the form of tablets for oral administration.
For muscle cramps that cause back pain, drugs such as muscle relaxants are prescribed.
Patients are also prescribed external drugs. They usually have a warming effect and help suppress pain. They are only prescribed as part of comprehensive treatment.
If there is pain in the lumbar region, special ointments are recommended.
A series of therapeutic exercises are prescribed only after the pain syndrome has been reduced. During the period of exacerbation, therapeutic exercises are contraindicated.
If you have pain in the lumbar region, the following exercises are recommended:
- Increases the pelvic region.You need to lie on your back and bend your legs at right angles. You should carefully lift the pelvis and return it to its original position. Repeat 10-15 times.
- keep your balance.The exercise is performed while standing. You need to stand on tiptoe and try to keep your balance in this position for about 10-15 seconds. Repeat 3-5 times.
- Raise your legs from a prone position.Lie on your back and alternately lift your stretched lower limbs as high as possible. Do 5-10 exercises for each leg.
- Movement on the buttocks.You need to sit on the floor and straighten your back. Use your pelvis and buttocks to move forward and then back. You need to go forward about 2 meters and back the same amount this way. The number of approaches is 2-3.
You are not allowed to do gymnastics with spinal injuries, tumors and hernias or with acute diseases.
Physiotherapy procedures are performed unless the pain in the lower back is caused by an acute inflammatory process. The acute pain syndrome is initially relieved by conservative methods, and only after this is physiotherapy prescribed.
For pain in the lumbar region, the following procedures are prescribed:
- Magnetotherapy.This method improves blood circulation in the affected area.
- electrophoresis.This method is necessary if you want to speed up the delivery of drugs to the lesion (analgesics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, chondroprotectors).
- Laser therapy.You can use this technique to normalize your metabolism and improve blood circulation in the affected areas.
To strengthen the bone elements, include in the diet cottage cheese, dairy products and whole milk, fatty sea fish and black bread.
If the patient is overweight, which puts additional stress on the spine, flour, sweets and sugary carbonated drinks must be excluded from the diet.
Traditional treatments should in no way become the main therapy for lower back pain. They are exclusively an auxiliary method and are only used with the consent of the attending physician.
For back pain you can use the following traditional medicine recipes:
- Honey-based ointment.To make a medicinal composition, you need to take 3 tablespoons of natural bee honey and melt it with a water bath. Let the composition cool. Add 2 tablespoons of pharmacy alcohol to the honey, add 100 g of petroleum jelly and rub it in areas where the pain is localized. For greater effectiveness, you can apply a compress with this ointment. In this case, it is not rubbed into the skin, but spread over it in a thin layer, provided with cling film and wrapped over it with a warm scarf. Let the compress stand for 3-4 hours, and then wash off the composition with warm water.
- Salt compress.It is necessary to dissolve the table salt in hot water (proportions - 1: 10) and stir. In the finished solution, moisten a cheesecloth folded in several layers, cover the lower back with a compress, wrap it with a towel and warm it with a scarf. Let stand overnight, remove the rest of the compress in the morning.
- Garlic compress.You need to take 3 heads of garlic, peel, chop. Pour the resulting mass with warm water (2 glasses) and leave for 3 hours. In the infusion, moisten a cotton cloth and sprinkle it over the entire surface with freshly squeezed lemon juice. Apply cold compress. Let a damp towel come to body temperature for 20 minutes. Then repeat the process for applying the compress. This can be repeated until the patient feels relief.
- Compress with a body.You need to mix bodyagi powder with olive oil in a ratio of 1: 30. Lubricate the sore lower back with the resulting composition and leave the product on the skin for 40 minutes. After the specified period, the product must be washed off with warm water.
- Compressing dried burdock leaves.You need to moisten the raw material in boiling water, attach it to the back and wrap it with a warm scarf. Let the compress sit for at least an hour.
- Baths with additives.Taking a bath can make the pain less severe. 200 g mustard powder, 600 ml stock on mint leaves can act as additives. Take a bath within 20 minutes. The water should be warm.
All of these treatments are designed to relieve back pain, meaning they are symptomatic.
Treatment of a specific diagnosed disease should be done according to a separate scheme.
To reduce the risk of back pain, you should:
- monitor your posture;
- only stand and walk with your back straight;
- perform special exercises to strengthen the spine and back muscles.
- Do not subject the spine to excessive stress. Do moderate exercises that use the muscles of the back.
- avoid hypothermia;
- As much as possible, take part in a sport that does not negatively affect the spine: swimming, yoga, walking are especially useful;
- does not make sudden movements when lifting loads;
- sleep on a mattress of medium firmness, preferably orthopedic, the pillow should also be orthopedic and medium-sized;
- Keep track of weight, follow a diet if necessary, and do special exercises to combat extra pounds.
- take vitamin and mineral complexes, especially during times of hormonal changes in the body.
Back pain can be associated not only with diseases of the spine, but also with functional disorders of the internal organs. A specialist can use diagnostic measures to determine the real cause of the pain syndrome. Both the symptom itself and its cause should be treated.