Lumbago can be a very debilitating back pain disorder for many patients. Fortunately, there are chiropractic and massage alternatives to traditional medical treatments.
What is Lumbago?
Lumbago means the same thing as lower back pain. There are many causes and types of lumbago. Pain may come and go, it can worsen with certain activities, and it can be chronic. Lumbago may also be distributed in different ways: it can be localized or it can radiate elsewhere. Sometimes an injury or accident can cause the low back pain. Patients may not even necessarily have symptoms at first, such as with a herniated disk. Lumbago can involve soft tissues, the bones of the spine (vertebrae), facet joints, disk degeneration, and nerves. Because of this, lumbago can be difficult to diagnose. At times, there could be “red flags”, such as leg weakness, numbness, fever, chills, weight loss, and bladder/bowel control issues.1 80% of people may develop lumbago in their lives. The experience can range from an acute flare-up to a chronic (over 12 weeks) duration. When it is diagnosed, the pain can be called “mechanical, non-mechanical, or referred pain”. Mechanical pain involves sprain/strain, and referred pain can be sciatica, for example. It is important in the diagnostic period to differentiate lower back pain from “radiculopathy and serious spinal problems” (tumor, fracture, or infection).2 Typical symptoms of lumbago can include back pain, spasm, radiating pain, or tingling. Common causes include herniation, osteoarthritis or spondylosis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, spinal stenosis, scoliosis, and tumor.3
Typical medical treatment for lumbago pain management may involve medication, such as acetaminophen, NSAIDs, or opiods. Doctors may utilize the “straight leg raise test” to diagnose herniation, as well as facet joint blocks and nerve blocks for spinal pain. In some cases, “transforminal epidural injections and sacroilliac injections (are used) as diagnostic tests”. In patients where the “red flags” are cause for concern, some doctors may employ MRI scans. If pain medications and structured exercises are not helpful, some patients may even undergo surgery, such as spinal fusion.4 The problem with medications is that they can have serious side effects; surgery carries its own set of risks.
Chiropractic and Massage Alternatives
There are other options to just pain management for lumbago. Massage, electrical stimulation (TENS), and ultrasound, as well as stretching and exercises, can be used by chiropractors to help patients work through their lower back pain.5 Chiropractors are experts in spinal manipulation and adjustment. They can help patients prevent future back pain. There are many available treatment options including physiotherapy, heat and cold, movement techniques, and directed exercises. Some chiropractic offices employ massage therapists. Massage can be another form of treatment for lumbago, and it can be especially helpful for patients who have difficulty relaxing tense muscles. Stress reduction is a benefit of massage. There are many different massage techniques that can be tailored to the patient.6
Find out more about lower back pain and treatment options.