Acute lower back pain can be intense and incessant but chronic lower back pain is altogether a different level of back pain. If your back pain is persistent for more than three months, then it should be considered to have moved in classification from acute to chronic.
Acute lower back pain can occur at any unexpected, awkward time. Most likely, it originates from some sudden injury or fall, or even after you have endured a slip disk. Basically it is a kind of muscle strain which gets healed after some medication and rest.
On the other hand, if acute back pain remains untreated for a long time, and then it can turn into a chronic one, but apart from that, I can say that in most of cases, the causes of chronic back pain outbreak remains unspecific. However, if you fall victim to a severe backache, and it continues for many weeks, and no amount of medication, or professional massage seems to heal you of the condition, then you can assume (or perhaps assure) that you are actually suffering from a chronic pain.
So beware! As the name suggests, chronic back pain maintains no time table, and it can flare up at anytime and once it does, it can cripple the unfortunate victim with an inability to live a normal life.
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Chronic Lower Back Pain Causes.
Maintaining what I said previously, from my experience and observation I can say that you cannot blame one single event as the key to your back woes. Chronic backaches can spring up due to a number of reasons, including structural back problems, diseases that otherwise affect the whole body, physiological factors as well as biomechanical factors. If you are desirous of a comprehensive study on chronic back pain, then you should not start without apprising yourself of what actually leads to chronic low back pain.
People Who Are Most Likely To Fall Prey To Chronic Back Pain.
To start with, I have seen that certain groups of people are more vulnerable to chronic pain. They include the following individuals:
- Chain smokers.
- Pregnant women.
- People who have just undergone surgery.
- People who had injuries and fractures in the past.
- Overweight individuals.
- Those who easily get depressed.
- Those who do not exercise regularly.
- Professionals like truck drivers and sandblasters, whose job requires lots of bending, twisting and vibrations.
Now let us have a look at more back pain facts.
Mechanical Causes Of Chronic Back Pain.
Since the low back architecture includes the bones of the back, and the cushions or “disks” between them, the cartilage or lines of bones that link spine to ribs, and other supportive constructions around the spine, including tendons , ligaments and muscles, Chronic lower back pain can develop due to :
- Musculoskeletal pain.
- Spinal Stenosis.
- Bone Fracture.
- Other innate diseases.
Non-mechanical Physical Causes Of Chronic Back Pain.
Though this group of conditions account for a negligible fraction of the causes of chronic backache, it is always wise to be aware of them. They may be due to:
- Visceral diseases.
- Ankylosing Spondylitis.
Poor sitting/ standing posture can also lead to chronic lower back pain.
Neurological Disorders And Chronic Lower Back Pain.
The roots of nerves, which arise from the spinal cord and move within the spine, simply to exit and become nerves can be greatly wounded by spinal disorders. Generally, the nerve roots can get injured if they ‘pass’ along any spinal region with abnormalities in bone, or diseased disks, or some tumors. This can cause weakness or numbness and inflict pain on back, as well as on the legs.
Psychological Causes of Chronic Lower Back Pain.
According to the experts, pre-existing depression, anxiousness, and excessive stress can wreak havoc on mental health, and it can even dispose a man to severe back pain.
Now Let Us Take A Closer View Of Things.
What you have read till now is just a blanket guideline on the different factors that can give rise to lower back pain. Now let us take a broader view and have a more exhaustive study on the different causes that actually lead to persistent backache.
To put it very simply, this condition refers to the tapering of the spinal canal. The discs in between the bones of spinal cord consist of fibrous tissue, cartilage and of course, water. In course of time, these discs can bulge, flatten, become herniated, break down or weaken. Some studies reveal that spinal stenosis accounts for some 3% of low back pain. Disc herniation is commonly associated with spinal degeneration, and it occurs when the sinewy portion of a disc wears down and the nucleus of the disk pressurizes the nerves that lie nearby. This condition can be treated in a number of ways, including surgery.
Degenerative Disc Disease.
This is one of the most common causes which is responsible for recurrent low back pain. However, Degenerative disc disease is not essentially a disease, but a degenerative condition which, at times, can generate pain from a ‘worn-out’ disc. You should also know that disk degeneration is a very natural part of aging and with time, every individual will surely experience some modifications in the consistency of their disks with a very high, or relatively less degree of degeneration. But how will you know if you are actually suffering from this situation? Just check out if you are experiencing any of the below mentioned conditions:
- Though the pain remains centered in the lower back, it can pass off to the legs and hips.
- If you remain seated, the pain just gets worse.
- The pain gets aggravated when you bend, twist or lift things.
So, do you think that you are actually suffering from degenerative disc disease? Then, don’t worry! Several effective treatments await you out there. You can start by modifying some of your day to day activities. Stop playing games or doing the physical activities that require straining your back like golf, basketball etc. Yes, I know this is tough. But dealing with chronic back pain can be tougher, you know. You can even apply heat to stiff muscles, or use ice packs to calm the ached muscles. Certain exercises, such as low-impact aerobic conditioning (like walking, swimming) or back strengthening workout program like Dynamic Lumbar Stabilization exercises can also help to treat back pain. If nothing works, then let the medical help do the trick for you.
Have you ever heard of sciatic nerves? Well, they are a set of nerves that run from lower back, down to the back of legs. The pain originates from the nerve is called sciatica. The common causes of sciatica include:
- Spinal stenosis.
- Breakdown of disks and
- Spondylolisthesis .
Now, let me tell you the indications of sciatica. They are:
- The pain in the leg gets worse when you are sitting.
- Numb legs.
- A constant pain in the legs makes it difficult for you to stand up.
- A burning or a tingling sensation in the legs.
However, you should know that Sciatica normally affects one side of the lower body. Oftentimes, the pain runs from the lower back to the back of the thigh as well as, down through the leg.
Though sciatica is likely to ease by itself, medical help, such as surgery and steroid injections can also be sought for effective pain relief.
Cauda Equina Syndrome.
“Cauda equina,” literally refers to horse tails. Medically, it means the general anatomy of the end of the spinal cord in the low back. There, it divides into bundles of nerve tracts, which resembles a horse’s tail. Cauda equina syndrome is an emergency situation, or more specifically, it is an abnormal compression of the nerves at the very end of the spinal cord inside the spinal canal. Now the question that comes here is what actually causes cauda equina syndrome? Well, it can be caused by any condition that comes as an effect of pinching of the nerves or direct irritation. It can be caused by:
- Herniation of lumbar intervertebral discs.
- Abnormal growth (like tumors, both benign and malignant) next to the lower spinal cord.
- Infection near spinal cord.
- Local bleeding or epidural hematoma.
- Badly positioned screws placed in the spine can injure nerves and cause it.
Symptoms of Cauda Equina Syndrome.
Check if you are experiencing any of the following conditions:
- Pain in one leg or both legs. See if the pain begins from the hip region and goes down to the backside of thighs and legs.
- A feeling of numbness in the groin area.
- Disturbances in bladder.
- Incontinence of bowel movement.
- Recurrent constipation.
- Less sensation while you urinate.
You must understand that CES is a surgical emergency and a patient suffering from this should not be kept at home. However, sufferers with tumors or infections should be given the right antibiotics or chemotherapy, if needed.
Basically, arthritis is a type of joint disorder that features inflammation. If the joint inflammation you are suffering from persists for long, then you can draw a conclusion of having chronic arthritis. There are almost 100 diverse types of arthritis, and the causes of the disorder highly depend on its form. It can occur due to many reasons, including:
- Injury, which, in turn, leads to osteoarthritis.
- Abnormality in metabolism (like gout or pseudo gout).
- Hereditary causes.
- Direct or indirect effects of viral or bacterial infection.
- Perverted immune system.
The symptoms of arthritis may include:
- Swelling of joint.
- Joint pain.
- Stiffness in the morning.
- Red, warm tender joints.
- Less ability to move joint.
Medicines to treat this disorder include anti-inflammatory drugs and placebos like:
- Traditional NSAIDs.
Lordosis or ‘swayback’ is a disorder in the spine where the spine of an individual curves excessively inwards at the lower back region. The disorder can be attributed to an inborn deformity, or neuromuscular or hip problem.
It can be healed by spinal manipulation, or by strengthening the hip extensors on the back of the thighs, and also, by stretching the hip flexors on the front area of the thighs.
Kidney stones can be extremely painful. Often you feel pain in the lower back region due to kidney stones but often the pain gets overlooked as just another bout of back pain. So, to stay safe, it is always important to diagnose the actual factor causing the low back pain!
Since prevention is always better than cure, it is always wise to exercise (the recommended ones of course), or practice yoga regularly to keep the possibilities of Chronic Lower Back Pain at bay. The other measures that you can take for pain management are:
- Stop smoking.
- Do not crawl into bed whenever you start suffering from the pain.
- Seek medical consultation well before the pain gets hold of you.
The other things that you can do to treat the condition are:
- Take bed rest at most for 1-2 days.
- You can also have medicines, including analgesics like ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen.
- Anticonvulsants can also be used to treat certain types of nerve pains.
- Antidepressants like amitriptyline and desipramine have been found to relieve pain and assist with sleep.
- Opioids like morphine, codeine, oxycodone, can also be used for a short time, but it should be taken under medical supervision.