Low back related conditions

Back Pain Burbank Spine Rehab Chiropractic

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Not all low back pain is created equal

 

Everyone’s lower back pain is unique. Pain can come on suddenly or build over time, increase when sitting or lying down, or at other times it seems to follow you everywhere you go.

Regardless of your exact pain, everyone who suffers from lower back pain has one thing in common: you want it gone. And now. While most cases of low back muscle strain subside naturally within a couple of hours to a few days, if your pain has continued for more than a week or two, it’s time to seek medical attention.

First, let’s discuss the different types of lower back pain and the underlying causes.
 

Sciatica

The term sciatica describes leg pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness that starts off in your lower back and travels down the sciatic nerve in the back of each leg. Sciatica isn’t a medical diagnosis but is a symptom of an underlying medical condition.

You might be experiencing sciatica nerve pain if your pain is:

  • In just one side of your buttock, or in one leg

  • Worse when you’re sitting down

  • Best described as burning, tingling vs.  a dull ache

  • Making it hard to move your leg, foot, and/or toes
     

Lower Spinal Disc Pain 

Disc pain is most common in the lower back, where most spinal movement and weight-bearing activities occur. There are many different terms used to describe issues with a spinal disc and disc pain, including: 

  • Herniated, slipped, or bulging disc

  • Pinched nerve

  • Ruptured/torn disc

  • Disc protrusion

There are also two ways a spinal disc can result in lower back pain:

  • Disc pain. Sometimes the disc itself degenerates to the point of causing spinal segments to become unstable. This can result in chronic, low-level pain around the disc mixed in with bouts of more severe pain.

  • Pinched nerve. Most of the time it’s not the disc itself causing lower back pain,  it’s the material leaking out of the disc. This material pinches and irritates nerves in the area, producing sharp, shooting pains that radiate to other parts of the body.
     

Spinal Arthritis

Stiffness and lower back pain can often be traced back to spinal arthritis. This type of lower back pain moves in a distinct cycle throughout the day, such as:

  • The lower back pain and stiffness are worst first thing in the morning.

  • Over the course of the day, the pain becomes more tolerable.

  • When evening comes, the pain and stiffness get worse.

  • Pain that disrupts sleep is often an indicator of osteoarthritis.

There’s also localized tenderness when you press down on the affected area of the spine. You might also experience pinching, tingling, or numbness in the spinal cord, which happens when bone spurs form at the edge of the joints of the spine and irritate the nerves.
 

Pulled Lower Back Muscle

A pulled lower back muscle is the culprit in most episodes of lower back pain. It happens when the soft tissues supporting the lower spine, including muscles, tendons, and ligaments, become damaged. The pain usually comes on suddenly and can often be linked to a specific event or activity.

A pulled back muscle might sound like a minor injury, but the pain and muscle spasms that result can be severe. The soft tissues in your lower back help support the weight of the upper body. When they’re under too much stress, the low back muscles or soft tissues become injured.

Symptoms from a pulled lower back muscle include:

  • Strained muscles that feel sore, tight, or achy.

  • Pain that gets worse the more you move. You might also feel stiffness when you try to walk or stand. 

  • Pain concentrated in the lower back. Pain from a pulled muscle doesn’t travel to other parts of the body.

  • Inflammation that feels tender to the touch.

  • Temporary pain relief when you’re resting. 

It’s not uncommon to experience occasional pain flare-ups for up to 4 to 6 weeks after the lower back injury.

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