Chronic Lower Back Pain Causes & How to Treat It
Sep 28, 2023
Chronic lower back pain can cause severe discomfort and can affect the quality of your life. Having to cope with something as invasive as this consistent pain requires understanding its causes. Over time, chronic lower back pain can lead to additional mental effects on someone who suffers with it daily. In this article, we'll examine chronic lower back pain causes and explore methods of chronic lower back pain treatment you can accomplish at home.
Acute vs. Chronic Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain comes in two varieties:
- Acute lower back pain: Acute lower back pain is a sudden and typically short-term discomfort or pain in the lower region of the spine. It often results from a specific injury, such as lifting a heavy object improperly or a sudden awkward movement.
- Chronic lower back pain: Chronic pain in the lower back is persistent discomfort or pain in the lower back that lasts for three months or longer. Unlike acute pain, it is not always associated with a specific injury.
Chronic Lower Back Pain Causes
Chronic lower back pain causes can vary, including:
- Degenerative conditions: These conditions may range from herniated discs to osteoarthritis. These conditions lead to deterioration of the body's tissues, resulting in chronic pain in the lower back region.
- Muscle and ligament issues: Muscle strain often leads to pain. If you've been lifting heavy objects for a while, it could lead to damage to your lower back muscles. Ligament sprains in the lower back can also cause lower back pain.
- Lifestyle factors: You may run into chronic lower back pain if you have poor posture or operate non-ergonomically at your office. Lower back pain could also come from lifestyle diseases like obesity since it puts extra strain on those muscles.
These causes of chronic lower back pain affect a person over a long period, leading to an inability to function and ongoing discomfort. Treating these chronic lower back pain causes is essential to restoring a person's quality of life. Like with any new treatment, you should first check with your doctor to ensure that this treatment is safe and that there is not an underlying injury that could potentially be worsened by starting a new regimen.
Chronic Lower Back Treatment Options
Chronic lower back pain treatment comes in several varieties, targeting the causes directly. Below are the most common chronic lower back pain treatment options available.
Trying Different Exercises and Equipment
The use of exercises and associated equipment can help when handling chronic lower back pain. Here are some of the options available:
- Exercises and stretches: Stretches that focus on the lower back can help get muscles and ligaments back in shape and relieve lower back pain.
- Foam rollers and massage guns: Massage guns and foam rollers can lead to relief from back pain but may be challenging to use in some situations.
- Massage chairs and lumbar support: Massage chairs can be beneficial for chronic pain management through targeted massage as well as lumbar heat therapy.
Working With Health Care Professionals
Health care professionals can help you manage your chronic lower back pain and offer remedies for relief. Here is a list of what health care professional options may help you handle your pain:
- Massage therapy: Hiring a massage therapist to help with lower back pain brings relief, but it may be expensive or inconvenient if done often. Alternatively, back massage techniques you can do yourself, or with help from another, is another option.
- Chiropractic care: A chiropractor can help with lower back pain, but it will require a long-term commitment to overcome this problem, meaning regular visits to the doctor.
Medical or Surgical Procedures
When natural options fail, it is possible that your health care provider will suggest a more invasive option for lower back pain. This includes:
- Injections and surgery: Invasive procedures like epidural injections or surgery may be considered for severe pain in the lower back when other treatments are ineffective.
These chronic pain treatment options are great for individuals who have pinpointed specific causes associated with their lower back pain. Lifestyle improvements can also help a person suffering with the long-term effects of lower back pain.
Lifestyle Improvements for Chronic Lower Back Pain
Lifestyle triggers are activities that happen during your daily life that may lead to lower back pain. Persistent lower back pain requires addressing these triggers and taking the necessary steps to ensure they don't lead to long-term discomfort. Among the lifestyle adjustments that may be useful are:
- Proper lifting techniques: Learn and practice safe lifting techniques to reduce strain on the lower back during daily tasks.
- Maintaining good posture: Learn how to improve posture while sitting, standing, and walking to alleviate chronic pain caused by poor alignment.
- Incorporating regular exercise: Engage in low-impact exercises like swimming or walking to strengthen core muscles and support the lower back.
- Hydration and nutrition: Stay well-hydrated and maintain a balanced diet to support overall spinal health and reduce inflammation.
- Stress management strategies: Pain can be a physical sign of stress. Using stress-reduction techniques, such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises, as stress can contribute to muscle tension and chronic pain.
- Regular physical check-ups: Schedule routine check-ups with a healthcare provider to monitor your spine's health and address any emerging issues.
- Support from friends and family: Seek understanding and support from loved ones to maintain a positive mindset and emotional well-being.
- Improving ergonomic placement: Adjusting workstations and home setups can promote better posture and reduce the risk of chronic lower back pain.
- Weight management: Maintaining a healthy weight and consuming a balanced diet can alleviate stress on the lower back and reduce chronic pain.
Noticing and making changes to overcome these triggers is crucial to ensuring you can get relief from your chronic lower back pain. Alongside these improvements, other general changes could help with chronic pain management.
How Do You Overcome Chronic Pain In The Lower Back?
There's no easy answer to this question. While the problem might be due to a single issue, sometimes it could be a combination of factors. Regular checkups alongside planned treatment options can help relieve the pain or at least offer some respite from it. When other options, like exercises and talking to a healthcare professional, don't work, the option of buying a massage chair can provide on-demand relief for some individuals, making it a viable option to explore.
Whatever you decide to do should reflect your current condition and work in tandem with what a medical professional recommends as well.