It’s common to experience some pain in the lower back one or more time during the lifespan, especially when we’re adults. It can be an acute pain caused by carrying something heavy, a bad move made during gym routine or, standing for an extended period.
Sometimes these pain goes away after resting for a few days. In other cases, the pain remains or even gets worst, affecting our daily activities and forcing us to consult with a physician. That’s why in today’s blog I want to talk about low back pain. About the differences between acute and chronic pain and, give you some tips to help prevent it.
Low back pain (LBP) is a localized pain or discomfort between the lower limit of the ribs and the buttocks. It can be acute, subacute, or chronic, depending on its duration. If the pain lasts less than 4-6 weeks is acute pain; from 4-6 weeks to 3 months is subacute; and, if it lasts longer than 3 months is considered a chronic LBP.
As mentioned before, LBP is so common that at least 80% of the people have it at some point. Some factors, like age, obesity, psychosocial and, technical factors can be linked to developing LBP. Job satisfaction and educational status also can influence its onset.
Usually, people in their 30’s are the ones presenting more cases of LBP. But, as we get older, the prevalence of pain in the lower back tends to rise and, increase its severity. There are even studies showing that back pain is becoming a common condition among adolescents.
If you have poor control in the core muscles and postural impairment, spent too much time standing or sitting because of your job, are more likely to develop an acute LBP. Especially if your daily activities involve heavy physical work or repetitive actions. Sports activities and sports-related injuries associate to LBP too.
Besides the risk factors above, the LBP has many etiologies, which means it can have many causes. It can be related with some trauma, fracture or injury in the lower back; degeneration of the lumbar spine; entrapment of a nerve or a disc herniation. Also, can be a consequence of orthopedic disease, infections or autoimmune diseases.
Because of the broad spectrum of causes, is recommended to consult with a physician in case of severe LBP, particularly in chronic patients. Through physical examination and medical interviewing, the doctor can determine if imaging studies are required.
About the treatment, acute and subacute phases of LBP have a similar approach. Usually, it's resolved with relative rest, cessation of pain-provoking activities and, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Physical therapy and chiropractic manipulation also can be recommended. Chronic cases of LBP need a more personalized approach, and treatment after the cause is found.
Cat-Camel exercise. Source
Stretch. Stretching will help you to relax the muscles of your back and is a great way to keep the movement too. Some practices like yoga, have exercises – like child’s pose or knees-to-chest – who help to stretch your back gently. But, as yoga has other tasks that can be harmful if your body is not used to, is better for you to look for the best alternative. It’s important to find a practice you enjoy and feel safe about!
Child's Pose. SourceTake active breaks. When you spend too much time standing or sitting, you get tired over time, and your muscles don’t work as they should. To avoid that, you can take active breaks from time to time. Stand up and take a little walk every 20-30 minutes when sitting. Also, make sure to gently move your spine – from side to side, arching it towards the front and back, and, around in circles –.