Back pain or Lumbago is a very widespread complaint. Approximately 80% of all Indians will have low back pain at least once in their lives. Though back pain can affect people of any age, it is significantly more common among adults after the age of 35 years.
Pain in the lower back may be linked to the back bone (spine), discs between the bones (vertebrae) of the spine, ligaments around the spine and discs, spinal cord and nerves, lower back muscles, pelvic internal organs, and the skin around the lumbar area.
Symptoms & Causes of Back Pain
The most common reasons of back pain are
- Strained Muscles
- Strained Ligaments
- A Muscle Spasm or Muscle Sprain
- Bad Mattress- if a mattress does not keep the spine straight, there is a greater risk of developing back pain.
The more important reasons of back pain are: (You need to call Back pain doctor, if one of these conditions exist)
- Ruptured disc- Each vertebra in our spine is cushioned by discs. If the disc ruptures there will be pressure on a nerve, resulting in back pain. Bulging disc (Herniated disc) – in the same way as ruptured discs, can result in more pressure (pinched nerves) on a nerve. Click on Slip disc to know more about this condition.
- Sciatica – A sharp shooting pain that travels through the buttock and down the back of the leg (radicular pain), caused by a bulging or herniated disc pressing on a nerve. Click on Sciatic pain to know more about this condition.
- Arthritis- Patients experience problems with the joints in the hips and lower back. In some cases spinal stenosis can develop, which is the term used to describe when the space around the spinal cord narrows. Click on Facet joint pain to know more about this condition.
- Abnormal curvature of the spine- If the spine curves in an unusual way the patient is more likely to experience back pain. Examples are scoliosis, a condition in which the spine curves to the side and kyphosis – commonly known as hunch back.
- Osteoporosis- Bones, including the vertebrae of the spine, become brittle and porous, making compression fractures more likely. Click on Spine fracture to know more about this condition.
Some reasons of back pain are troublesome and need urgent attention:
- Cauda equina syndrome– If you are feeling a dull pain in the lower back and upper buttocks, as well as loss of sensation in the buttocks, genitalia and thigh. There are sometimes bowel and bladder function disturbances (loss of control of urination or passing stool)
- Cancer of the spine – Sudden start of back pain in older age group without any injury or fall.
- Infection of the spine – if the patient has fever as well as a painful warm area on the back, it could be caused by an infection of the spine.
- Weakness in the legs and not able to stand or walk properly along with pain.
The following factors are linked to a higher risk of developing low back pain:
- A mentally hectic job
- A sitting routine or inactive daily life
- Age – older adults are more prone than young adults or children
- Presence of anxiety & depression
- Obesity and overweight
- Strenuous physical exercise, if not done properly (Unsupervised weight lifting in gym)
- Tough physical work.
- Patients who have been taking steroids for a few months
How to diagnose the exact reason of back pain?
- X-ray show the alignment of the bones and whether the patient has arthritis or broken bones.
- MRI or CT scans– These are good for revealing herniated discs or problems with tissue, tendons, nerves, ligaments, blood vessels, muscles and bones.
- Bone scan– a bone scan may be used for detecting bone camcer or compression fractures caused by brittle bones (osteoporosis).
- Nerve Conduction or Electromyography (NCV or EMG)– This study can confirm nerve compression which may occur with a herniated disk or spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal).
The doctor may also order a blood test if infection is suspected.
Back Pain Treatments
Usually the treatment starts with physiotherapy along with pain killer medicines, if you are facing the pain for the very first time. Back pain relief should come within 3 – 6 weeks with the help of physiotherapy and pain killer medicines, followed by back pain exercises to avoid the reappearance of back pain.
- You need to call Spine specialist:
- If physiotherapy and back pain exercises are not working in this time period or
- If back pain exercises are giving more pain or
- If pain is coming back again and again or
- If duration of pain is more than 6 – 12 weeks with or without treatment.
Interventional Pain and Spine Centre, Delhi, India, with its branches (Contact) at Rohini, Ashok Vihar, Punjabi Bagh, Paschim Vihar (Delhi) and Rohtak (Haryana) is the most advanced spine clinic to treat back pain without any major surgery and with minimally invasive, pinhole techniques. You can meet the best spine specialist in Delhi at our centre.
To know about the most advanced, state-of-the-art and revolutionary treatments offered by our specialists, please click the following links:
- Percutaneous Disc Treatments
- Facet Joint Denervation
- Radiofrequency Ablation
To know the benefits of these latest and safest techniques, click on FAQ’s.