back pain

Two Common Causes of Lower Back Pain: Lumbar Muscle Strain and Lumbar Radiculopathy

How is your lower back doing right now?

Does the pain come and go, or is it constant?

1.) Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is one of the most common reasons cited for worker sick leave in the United States and Europe. Around 30% of workers in both the United States and Europe are affected by lower back pain. While the incidence of this condition may be attributed to a wide range of factors, two of its most common causes deal with lumbar strain and nerve irritation.

2.) A Muscle Strain

A low back muscle strain occurs when the muscle fibers are abnormally stretched or torn. Diagnosis of a lumbar strain usually takes into consideration the history of the injury, the location of the pain and taking steps to rule out nerve injury and bone abnormalities.

3.) Treatment of a Strained Lumbar Muscle

In treating a lumbar strain, it is recommended that the back be given a rest to avoid aggravation of the injury. Pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be taken. Local heat application may also offer some relief. Performing reconditioning exercises will help to strengthen the lower back and the affected muscles. To avoid future injuries, it would be worthwhile to study and practice techniques for protecting the back, as well as use available back support devices. (Consult your physician first about any medications and exercises).

4.) Nerve Irritation

Another common cause of lower back pain is nerve irritation. The nerves of the lower back may become irritated if bones or tissues impinge on them due to mechanical pressure. This is what happens with lumbar radiculopathy.

When the outer ring of the vertebral discs degenerate due to wear and tear, or suffer physical trauma, the softer part at the center of the disc may rupture and extend through the outer ring of the disc, impinging on the spinal cord and the nerves. A sharp pain shoots out from the herniated disc from the lower back and extends down to the buttock and the leg. Movements at the waist, as well as coughing and sneezing, may increase the pain. The patient usually feels a radiating pain when the legs are lifted.

Further detection of the nerve irritation is done through electromyogram (EMG), nerve conduction velocity (NCV), computerized axial tomography (CAT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

5.) Treatment For Nerve Irritation

Treatment options for lumbar radiculopathy usually include medical management. Cortisone injection is applied around the spinal cord in addition to the taking of pain relievers. Physical therapy through the administration of heat, massage, ultrasound and electrical stimulation may also be used. For severe cases, it might be necessary to perform surgery.

6.) Braces For Support

Pain can be reduce when the proper lower back support is worn. It is important to contact your local, licensed orthotist for your brace needs when you have back pain for medical advice on orthotics for the spine.

Rinella Orthotics, Inc. – Located at the new Silver Cross Hospital, provides comprehensive orthotic treatment in New Lenox, Mokena, Lockport, Joliet, Tinley Park, Homer Glen, Bolingbrook, Orland Park, Kankakee, Romeoville, Frankfort, Palos, Orland Hills, Shorewood & many nearby areas.

We provide arch supports / foot orthotics, back braces & supports (TLSO, LSO and CTOS), orthopedic & diabetic shoes, drop foot braces (AFOs), crow boots, compression stockings, ankle & knee braces, molding helmets, the walkaide, protective helmets, & cervical collars (Aspen, Miami J types).

We are always available, call us at 773-401-1353.

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