Discover More About Common Lower Back Pain Conditions
Lumbar Strains and Lower Back Pains
A lumbar strain refers to an injury in the lower back, usually in supportive tissue like tendons and muscles. It's something many people experience at least once in their life. Causes can include over-exercising, lifting wrong, twisting at the waist, or playing sports. Everyday life is enough to cause lumbar strains sometimes.
Symptoms of a lumbar strain will include lower spine pain and spasms in the lower back. The area may feel sore when you touch it.
The treatment provided by a lower back doctor will depend on the extent of the injury. It can involve rest, icing, pain medication, and stretching exercises. The lower back doctor might also go over safe ways to lift and lifestyle changes that can help protect this area of the back.
Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease
Lumbar degenerative disc disease refers to age-related wear and tear on the discs in the lumbar region (lower back) of the spine. Discs are fluid-filled structures that provide a cushion between the joints of the spine. There is one between the vertebrae all down the back.
Over time, these discs can wear down. It's not clear why some people are more prone to this degeneration than others. It may be related to genetics or what the patient did for a living. Someone who spent a lifetime lifting heavy boxes may be more at risk for this condition than someone who works in an office, for example.
As the discs wear down, arthritis forms in the joints of the lower spine. Once arthritis sets in, there may be a pain in the lower pack, along with tingling and numbness in the buttocks and legs. A lower back pain doctor may prescribe medication or other types of therapy, including surgery. to relieve this pain.
Lumbar Disc Herniation
Disc herniations can occur anywhere on the spine. A lumbar disc herniation appears in the lower back.
Discs are fluid-filled sacs that cushion the spine. Like a balloon, the walls of the disc can become worn and then bulge or protrude out. In some cases, the disc ruptures. When that happens, the two vertebrae lose the cushion between them, and the bones rub together.
A lumbar disc herniation can cause extreme lower back pain. Often all a lower back doctor needs to do is to provide medication and therapy for a few months. The treatment prescribed by a lower back doctor can include rest, over-the-counter pain medication, and physical therapy. In more serious cases, an epidural steroid injection can reduce inflammation and provide pain relief.
Lumbar stenosis is a narrowing of the canal that holds the spinal cord. It is often the source of lower spine pain.
The lumbar region of the back consists of five vertebrae. Nerves travel down the center of the vertebrae and through to the legs. Over time, the canal can narrow as discs start to degrade. These discs lose their height and may bulge into the canal. In addition, spurs can form on the bone inside the canal. These come together to make it narrow enough to impinge the spinal nerves causing lower back pain.
Along with pain, lumbar stenosis might cause weakness in the legs and buttocks. There may be cramping in the calves. In serious cases, they can be some loss of motor function in the legs and incontinence of the bladder and bowel.
Treatment by a lower back pain doctor could include both non-surgical and surgical options.
Spondylolisthesis refers to vertebrae that slip forward and backward. Degenerative means it gets worse over time.
Degenerative spondylolisthesis can be a congenital problem or result from an injury or trauma, or it can be due to arthritis in the spine. Although spondylolisthesis is a condition that affects both children and adults, when it’s degenerative, it is due to aging. As the joints in the spine weaken with age, certain lumbar vertebrae can slip out of place.
The symptoms would include lower spine pain that can be radiating down the leg. The pain gets worse when standing. Treatment from a lower back pain doctor would involve physical therapy, bracing if necessary, and possibly surgery.
Isthmic spondylolisthesis refers to one vertebra slipping forward over another. The cause can be a defect in the spine or fracture. It is seen in both children and adults.
The symptoms of isthmic spondylolisthesis would include lower back pain, leg weakness, tight hamstring muscles, and an irregular gait. The treatment prescribed by a lower back pain doctor will depend on the degree of the vertebral slippage the lower back doctor finds and the cause. It usually involves rest, drug therapy, and physical therapy. Some bracing may be necessary, as well.
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Contact our spine doctors today to learn more about common lower back pain conditions. Our experts specialize in diagnosing and treating lower back conditions. Give us a call at 978.687.2321 or fill out our contact form below.