Many modern people learn about how the lower back hurts at a fairly young age. Often, the characteristic pulling pains appear for the first time at the age of 25 - 27 years. This is the age when the process of formation of the spinal column ends.
In this article, you will learn about why the back hurts in the lumbar region and how to treat at home the main diseases accompanied by a similar clinical symptom. Find tips for choosing the right specialist. Get information about modern effective therapies without harm to your health.
Let's start by telling you what exactly can hurt in the lumbar region - what structural tissues are there and what they are responsible for. The basis is made up of bone tissue. It forms the five lumbar vertebrae and their processes, the sacrum and the ilio-sacral joints. The sacrum is also 5 vertebrae, but by the age of 23 - 25 they grow together into a single triangular bone.
Cartilage is located between the vertebrae. These are intervertebral discs, each of which has an annulus fibrosus (dense elastic membrane) and a nucleus pulposus (internally gelatinous body with a gel-like structure). These formations provide an even distribution of amortization and mechanical loads. They maintain the physiological height of the intervertebral spaces. This is very important to avoid compression and damage to the radicular nerves extending from the spinal cord through the foraminal foramen in the vertebral bodies.
Nerve fiber is also a native tissue, which is very abundant in the lumbar region. First of all, this is the structure of the spinal cord - the central part of the human autonomic nervous system. With its help, all body functions are effectively controlled. Vessels, hearts, liver, gallbladder, intestines and so on work under its control. Without the influence of the autonomic nervous system, a person is not even able to raise their eyelashes and open their eyes. This is a very important part of the body.
Paired radicular nerves extend from the spinal cord, which is covered with hard membranes. They exit through the lateral foramen of each vertebra. Responsible for the innervation of certain parts of the body. Together, the lumbar and sacral radicular nerves form the lumbosacral plexus through their branches. Large nerves depart from it: sciatic, femoral, inguinal, obturator, lateral subcutaneous.
The stability of the lumbar spine and the entire spine is ensured by the ligamentous apparatus. There are short transverse and long longitudinal ligaments. Sprains, tears, and scar deformities often cause lower back pain in young and active people. In addition to ligaments, tendons and paravertebral muscles are involved in this matter.
I would like to tell a little more about the latter. In addition to ensuring the stability of the position of the vertebra and its flexibility, the paravertebral muscles are responsible for diffuse nutrition of the cartilaginous tissue of the intervertebral discs.
The annulus fibrosus and the nucleus pulposus of the disc are completely devoid of their own circulatory system. They can receive fluid and nutrition only in the course of diffuse exchange between them and the paravertebral muscles surrounding them. If the muscle fiber is weakened and unable to fully contract, then a degenerative destructive process begins. The intervertebral discs become dehydrated and lose their elasticity and height. They cease to protect the radicular nerves from compression from the vertebral bodies.
Also in the region of the spinal column in the lumbar region are soft tissues, blood and lymphatic vessels. They can also be exposed to various factors of negative influence. We will talk more about the causes of pain in the lumbar region later in the article.
The reasons why lower back hurts
Before treatment, it is necessary to establish the reasons why the lower back hurts - only the etiological effect makes it possible to ensure the patient's complete recovery.
For example, if the lower back hurts due to the displacement of the vertebral body or intervertebral disc, then it is completely useless to treat osteochondrosis with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in such a situation. Or rather, it is even harmful. But to put the displaced vertebra or intervertebral disc in its place, to strengthen the surrounding muscles, ligaments and tendons is already the right way. Thus, the doctor completely restores the physiological state of the tissues and relieves the patient of pain.
So, let's see what are the causes of lower back pain:
- osteochondrosis - degenerative dystrophic damage to the tissues of the annulus fibrosus due to disruption of diffuse nutrition processes;
- complications of osteochondrosis, for example, a reduction in the height of the disc with an increase in the occupied area (stage of protrusion) or rupture of the annulus fibrosus with an exit through the crack of a part of the nucleus pulposus (intervertebral hernia);
- instability of the position of the vertebral bodies and their periodic displacement relative to the central axis and each other by the type of antelisthesis and retrolisthesis;
- stenosis of the spinal canal, including provoked by the displacement of the vertebral body or prolapse of the intervertebral hernia into the spinal canal;
- stretching and microscopic rupture of the tissue of ligaments and tendons, including with the subsequent process of gross scarring - pressure is exerted on the nerve fiber, which provokes pain;
- muscle fiber inflammation - myositis (ischemic, infectious, aseptic, traumatic, calcifying, etc. );
- fractures and cracks of the vertebral bodies and their processes, including the subsequent formation of rough calluses;
- deposition of calcium salts on the bodies of the vertebrae and their processes (osteophytes);
- piriformis syndrome;
- cauda equina syndrome;
- curvature of the spinal column, poor posture and twisting of the pelvic bones;
- destruction of the ilio-sacral joints of the bones.
This is not a complete list of the reasons why the lower back hurts - before treating, an experienced doctor will necessarily collect anamnesis data from the patient, compare them with the parameters obtained during the examination and draw appropriate conclusions about what led to the development of a particular disease.
The following aspects can be provocative factors in the development of pain in the lumbar region:
- overweight - the more a person's body weight, the greater the load on the tissues of the spinal column, the faster they are destroyed;
- leading a sedentary lifestyle, in which there is not enough physical influence on the muscles of the back, they do not work and the process of diffuse nutrition of the cartilaginous intervertebral discs is disrupted;
- improper organization of the place for work and night sleep;
- violation of the rules for choosing suitable clothes and shoes;
- hard physical work with excessive tension in the muscles of the lumbar region;
- violation of posture, the habit of stooping;
- lumbar injuries;
- improper installation of the foot;
- alcohol consumption and smoking - provoke a violation of the microcirculation of blood and lymphatic fluid, which leads to a violation of tissue trophism.
See an experienced doctor to help identify a potential cause and eliminate it from your life. This will be the first step towards recovery.
Lower back hurts - symptoms, how to check
And now let's talk about how to check that the lower back hurts - what examinations are worth going through and what symptoms you need to pay attention to. Before you check that your lower back hurts, you need to make an appointment with a vertebrologist or neurologist. These doctors will be able to make the correct preliminary diagnosis already during the initial examination. Depending on it, they will recommend a number of additional examinations.
Most often, the examination begins with an overview X-ray of the lumbar spine. In the picture, the doctor can see a fracture, crack, osteophytes, a decrease in the height of the intervertebral spaces, destruction and deformation of the joints, displacement of the vertebral bodies. To assess the condition of soft tissues (discs, ligaments, tendons, muscles), an MRI examination is required. According to indications, ultrasound of internal organs, electromyography and electroneurography can be performed.
How to understand that the lower back hurts - the answer to this question is unlikely to make it difficult for someone who at least once faced a similar manifestation of the disease. Lower back pain is difficult to confuse with something else.
It can be sharp, constraining, in the form of lumbago, dull, constant, and so on. Depending on the nature of the pain, the doctor will be able to make a preliminary diagnosis. How to find out that the lower back hurts - you need to try to bend forward and reach the floor with your fingers. If this causes an increase in the attack of pain, then there is no doubt. The pain is associated precisely with the destruction of the tissues of the spinal column.
The second thing worth paying attention to is palpation of the spinous processes of the spinal column. if the spine collapses, then it is always sharply painful. It is best if the probing is carried out by another person. It is impossible to objectively compare the force of pressure and the degree of manifestation of pain.
Other symptoms of lower back pain:
- pain can radiate to the lower limb;
- there is weakness in the leg from the side of the lesion of the radicular nerve or its branch;
- the muscles in the lesion focus are overly tense, they cannot be relaxed without a therapeutic effect;
- mobility is severely limited;
- colon and bladder dysfunction (constipation and urinary retention) may occur.
All of these symptoms indicate that the spinal column is affected. Need advice from a vertebrologist or neurologist. Then, treatment is carried out in order to restore the damaged tissues of the spine.
Lower back pain - what to do, how to treat
If your lower back hurts, you need to make a diagnosis before treating it. The point is that pain is just a symptom. You can only treat a disease that is accompanied by this symptom. Otherwise, nothing good will come of it. Symptomatic treatment does not lead to recovery. They lead to the transition of the disease into a chronic course. This can cause disability in the future for the patient.
So, what to do and how to treat if the lower back hurts from osteochondrosis. You need to start with the procedure for manual traction of the spinal column. During the procedure, the doctor increases the distance between the vertebral bodies. This helps to expand the tissues of the intervertebral disc. Compression is eliminated from the radicular nerve. The patient completely resolves the pain syndrome.
If the back hurts in the lower back, before treatment, you need to eliminate all types of shock absorption and physical activity. At home, in the early days, bed rest should be provided. Also, after the relief of the pain syndrome, it is necessary to begin rehabilitation treatment. Different methods are used for it. Manual therapy, in contrast to pharmacological drugs, shows positive results.
With the help of a course of manual therapy, patients are able to cope with even large intervertebral hernias without surgery. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you contact your local manual therapy clinic for treatment for low back pain.