Low Back Pain

The spinal column is one of the main vital parts of the body supporting our trunk and making most of the movements possible. The strongest area of the spine is the lumbar spine. It bears the weight of the whole upper body. Besides this, it also allows forward, backward, sideways, and rational movements. Being high strain area chances of injury or sprain is very much possible in this part of the body. Most of the problems translate into pain (medically called “Low Back Pain”) and restricted movement in the low back.

Low back pain (LBP) is very common and 80-90 percent of the people suffer from it in their life at least once. It comes in all ages both in sedentary workers and in physical labourers. It is also very common in sports persons (gymnasts, football players, weightlifters, wrestlers). Sedentary workers who have to sit for prolonged periods in the same posture have more back pain. Pressure in the sciatic nerves- the nerves that arise from the lumbar spine and supply the legs (sciatica), is also very common (10 to 40% of the population). It is more common in the aged specially in those who do not perform physical activity or exercise due to which their muscles start deteriorating with age. Regular moderate exercise maintains the strength and flexibility of the back muscles and prevents back pain.

40 to 50% of these LBP cases improve within one week(even without much treatment). Some go into the chronic stage wherein they suffer for more than 6 months. Low back pain due to injury also improves very fast with rest and about 90% people go back to work within 6 to 12 weeks.

One must understand that low back pain can come from any of the tissues surrounding the lumbar spine including the spinal vertebrae of which there are five of them. Maybe in the intervertebral discs, the joints, ligaments which bind the bones, the muscles which support the spine in the back and the front, the fascia (the membrane which covers the muscles and ligaments) and the nerves that are present in this area. Injuries may be created by flexion or extension, compression, axial rotation, lateral flexion or any combination of these. This is more common if the spine is rigid for those who do not exercise.