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Understanding Your Back Pain

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Back pain is one of the top two complaints physicians come across. Numerous studies have shown that about 80% of the American population suffers from back pain at some point in their lives. The most common region of the back affected with this symptom is the lumbar or lower region of the back. This part of the backbone is responsible for transmitting the weight from the upper regions of the body to the lower limbs. Also, unlike the thoracic vertebra, it does not have the support of any adjacent bones, which makes it quite susceptible to trauma. Although people from all walks of life and age groups may be the victim of back trauma, such as a car accident or truck accident, it is most common in the older age groups, as they often suffer from some form of degenerative skeletal disease.

If you believe that your back pain is a result of an accident caused by another, call us at (314) 208-2808 today. Our personal injury attorneys in St. Louis are available 24/7 to help you.

Lumbar Back Pain: A Hindrance to a Healthy Life

The lumbar region is commonly known as the lower back region of the human body. It serves various important functions for us, including structural support and movement. Injury to any of the structures that make up this weight-bearing system of the lower back (muscles, bones, joints, and ligaments) leads to lower back pain, which is evident in various kinds of movement.

Nearly all of us, at some point in our life, experience lower back pain. In America, a minimum of $50 billion are spent per year on low back pain. Among racial groups, it is most prevalent among American Indians and Alaska Natives while Asian Americans show the least prevalence. Men and women are equally affected. It occurs most often between the ages of 30 to 50 due to normal aging, sedentary lifestyles, and even too much exercise and exertion. It is the most common cause of missed work and job-related disability. It is the second most common neurological complaint in the United States, the first being headaches. Most cases resolve spontaneously in a few days, while the less fortunate ones bear with it for an extended period.

Types of lower lumbar back pain include:

  • Acute or short-term low back pain: Lasts from a few days to a few weeks. It is mostly a result of mechanical injury; mainly trauma or it may be due to a disorder such as arthritis. Symptoms may include, shooting or stabbing pain, muscle ache, limited movement and flexibility, or an inability to support the body while standing. It may even travel down to different areas of the body according to the nerves which are being irritated.

  • Chronic back pain: It is usually persistent for more than 3 months. It may become progressive and cause further damage with time.

The Dixon Injury Firm Is Here to Help

With proper care and management, lower back pain can be dealt with very effectively. If diagnosed and treated in time, then irreversible damage can be avoided in a majority of cases and invasive procedures are not resorted to. Maintenance of a healthy back gives way to a healthy lifestyle.

If you are suffering from low back pain as the result of the negligent conduct of another, you are entitled to reimbursement for your injury.

To obtain additional information regarding your injury rights, contact our St. Louis personal injury attorneys today.

Causes of Back Pain

A wide range of disorders and injuries produce the symptoms of lower back pain, such as:

  • Muscle strain: The most common cause for lower back pain, this type can be caused by lifting heavy weights. Sudden movements such as bending down or turning around suddenly also result in muscle strains.

  • Increasing age: Time takes a toll on bone strength and muscle tone as well as elasticity. The cushioning effect of the spinal discs is lost, leading to a loss in flexibility and causes more wear and tear on the vertebral column.

  • Herniated disc: This can be the cause of severe lower back pain, often caused or aggravated by lifting heavy weights.

  • Degenerative disc disease: If you experience lower back pain usually in mornings or evenings, then it could be a result of degenerative disc disease. In this disease, the cartilage present between the bones begins to deteriorate, which means the vertebrae no longer have a smooth surface between them to provide friction-free movement.

  • Bone fracture: Caused by an injury, this may also result in extreme lower back pain.

  • Poor posture: Common in working men and women, particularly those with sedentary desk jobs, improper posture could cause significant back pain.

  • Inflammation: Even if it may be noninfectious, this can also cause stiffness and pain in the lower region.

  • Pregnancy: Due to rapid and significant changes in weight and center of gravity, many pregnant individuals find that they experience low back pain.

  • Renal diseases: These may cause renal colic, which is also localized to the low back area.

  • Osteoporosis: This is extremely common in post-menopausal women and older men, and may result in lower back pain.

  • Lumbar strain (acute, chronic): A stretch injury to the ligaments, tendons, and/or muscles of the low back, causing microscopic tears. It is one of the most common causes of low back pain.

  • Nerve irritation: Due to some pressure on the lumbar nerves due to mechanical forces, by bones or ligaments.

  • Lumbar radiculopathy: Nerve irritation caused by damage to the intervertebral discs due to wear and tear.

  • Bone and joint conditions: They may be acquired over time or may be inborn (congenital).

Symptoms of Low Back Pain

Lower back pain symptoms may be as follows:

  • The pain may vary from mild to severe intensity, and in character may be dull aching, burning, pricking, radiating, colicky, etc.

  • Muscle spasms

  • Experiencing cramps quite often or stiffness in the lower back region

  • The pain gets worse with prolonged sitting such as traveling or driving for long hours

  • If you suffer from low back pain then you will have trouble bending down or turning around abruptly

Low Back Pain Treatment

Low back pain should always be treated according to the symptoms. If the duration is less than four weeks, then it is acute back pain. If you have had it for more than twelve weeks then you are suffering from chronic back pain. In this case, a physician must be consulted immediately if you do not wish to have back pain throughout your life.

Some of the more common treatments for back pain include:

  • Self-care: If you have debilitating acute back pain, then self-care will help in reducing it to a huge extent. Avoid climbing stairs, as it puts additional pressure on back muscles. Avoid bending down to pick an object, instead bend your knees and sit and pick it up.

  • Improve your posture: If the pain you are experiencing is a result of bad posture than try sitting up straight. While standing or walking, keep your shoulders back and do not hunch as hunching results in spraining your back muscles and also gives a bad impression of low self-confidence.

  • Exercise: Exercise as much as you can, but do not overindulge as this will put additional pressure on your low back muscles or you may end up with a sprain. If you have chronic back pains then stretch your muscles, which will decrease the stiffness. Try to decrease your body weight as it decreases the stress on your back.

  • Application of heat: Try applying heat through different modes of heat packs available in the market. But do not expose it directly to your skin.

  • Sleep on a hard surface: it is very effective in cases of chronic back pain to buy medicated mattresses that are designed to provide a hard surface for sleeping, which improves your symptoms.

Preventive Measures

If you are susceptible to lumbar back pain, then try and take the following preventive measures:

  • Try not to stand continuously for long periods of time

  • Keep your body in shape with exercise and maintain a healthy weight as obesity increases susceptibility to lower lumbar back pain

  • Buy a medicated mattress that will provide your back the support it needs

  • Be it work or home, try to maintain an erect posture while sitting; this simple tip can save you from a lot of back problems

  • Perform back-strengthening exercises on a regular basis

  • Avoid lifting heavy objects

  • Avoid excessive use of stairs

One can never be too careful when it comes to back problems, as they are notorious for persisting for a very long time. Our back functions to support the weight of the upper body while we stand. It helps us in bending, extending, and rotating around the waist. Many individuals pay the price of being inattentive towards their back problems in the form of major impairment of many physical activities. Thus, the best form of back pain is one that has been consulted, diagnosed, and treated on time.

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