What is Lumbago?
Lumbago is a general term for lower back pain. Usually, lumbago and lower back pain are the same condition. Notably, there are many causes of lower back pain. Additionally, it can be difficult to diagnose the cause of pain. The healthcare professional may diagnose the cause of back pain based on what type of pain the patient is experiencing and where the pain is located. Specifically, pain can be localized, or it can radiate down the legs. Moreover, the pain is disproportional to the extent of damage. Otherwise, the patient might experience very little pain compared to the damage. For example, common causes of lumbago pain are pulled back muscles, pinched nerves, and herniated discs. The lower back is made of muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones, joints, discs, and nerves. Unfortunately, everything can become injured or affected by disease and wear.1
Understanding Lumbar Radiculopathy
Radicular pain is often a symptom of spinal nerve compression or inflammation. The pain radiates down the leg. Often, sciatica is another name for radicular pain. The foot can also experience pain. Further, certain activities and positions aggravate lumbar radiculopathy. The pain usually follows the path of the sciatic nerve. Sciatica occurs when a spinal nerve in the lower back is compressed. Unfortunately, sciatica is one of the most common types of pain. Sciatica describes the pain, but it is not a diagnosis. In addition to pain, other symptoms of lumbar radiculopathy are numbness, tingling, muscle weakness, and reduced reflexes. Radiculopathy is actual nerve dysfunction. Often, the leg pain is much worse than the lower back pain. Lumbar radiculopathy can be caused by herniated disc, foraminal stenosis, diabetes, nerve root injuries, and spinal surgery scar tissue.2
About Lumbago with Sciatica
Patients can experience lumbago and sciatica without being diagnosed with lumbar radiculopathy. Lumbar spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis, and pregnancy can cause sciatica. Furthermore, being overweight, a lack of regular exercise, wearing high heels, and sleeping on a bad mattress can contribute to sciatica. Symptoms of sciatica are pain, burning or tingling sensation, weakness, and numbness. Pain can be present in the lower back, hip, and leg. The pain can be debilitating, or it can be mildly irritating. Usually, sciatica only affects one side of the body. Sciatic lumbago can be a minor issue, or it can be a very serious condition. Patients who experience weakness, numbness in the upper thighs, or loss of bowel or bladder control should seek medical attention immediately. The patient’s condition could worsen without proper medical attention.3
Other Causes of Back Pain
Many people suffer from back pain, and it is one of the most common types of pain. Specifically, lumbago is lower back pain. Additionally, the upper and middle back can also experience pain and other symptoms. Generally, the upper and middle back areas are less prone to injury and pain. They do not bear the same weight that the lower back does. Usually, the symptoms of upper and middle back pain are aching, stiffness, sharp pain, and a burning sensation. The more serious symptoms are limb weakness, tingling or numbness in the limbs, and loss of bladder or bowel control. The cause of the symptoms could be muscle strain or injury, or the cause could even be poor posture. Other conditions that cause upper and middle back pain are pinched nerve, fractured vertebra, herniated disc, osteoarthritis, myofascial pain syndrome, and gallbladder issues.4
Back Spasm Causes
Back spasms are often a symptom of an underlying condition. They can occur anywhere on the back, and they are often accompanied by lumbago. Spasms can be infrequent and mild, or they can be severe and debilitating. Usually, back spasms and the condition that caused them can be treated without surgery. Back spasms occur when the muscles, tendons, or ligaments of the back have been injured. They can also be caused by more serious medical conditions, but heavy lifting is one of the most common causes of back spasms. Sports often lead to back spasms. Patients who have weak abdominal muscles are also vulnerable to back spasms. Arthritis and a ruptured or bulging spinal disc can also cause back spasms. Often, back spasms are treated with ice and heat packs as well as medications. Anti-inflammatory injections may also be recommended. Unfortunately, medications come with side effects.5
Many patients want to avoid taking medications or injections to treat their pain. Fortunately, chiropractic care offers natural, safe treatment. Chiropractors train to treat back pain. This natural form of therapy can help patients manage chronic back pain. Patients often visit chiropractors to manage their lumbago. Chiropractors use spinal manipulations to return the body to its natural alignment. When the body is out-of-alignment, the patient unconsciously compensates for the imbalance and puts extra stress on certain areas of the body. In addition to treatment at the office, chiropractors can recommend lifestyle changes for their patients to try at home. Two recommendations are practicing good posture and using ergonomically-designed furniture. Chiropractors can also teach their patients about exercises that they can try at home to manage their lumbago pain. The patient’s doctor can work with their chiropractor to create a treatment plan that works for the patient.6
Exercises and Stretches for Lumbago
Patients can try many stretches and exercises to manage their lumbago and sciatica, and there are also certain movements that patients should avoid. Patients with sciatica should generally avoid toe touches, sit-ups, and leg lifts. Instead, the workout focus should be on core strength. Partial crunches, hamstring stretches, wall sits, press-up back extensions, bird dog pose, knee-to-chest, pelvic tilts, and bridge pose are some recommended exercises for back pain. Patients can do some weight lifts, but they should talk to their doctor before using it as a treatment for back pain. Aerobic exercises and some Pilates are also beneficial. Aerobic workouts strengthen the cardiovascular system, improve stamina, and work the whole body. Patients should only try Pilates with an experienced instructor, and they should inform their instructor about their condition.7
Want to learn about more causes of lower back pain?