Lower back pain affects almost everyone at some point in their life. It is one of the most common reasons for missing work and people seeking treatment from a doctor. There are many underlying causes of back pain from lifestyle choices, injuries and health conditions like arthritis or osteoporosis.
This post will look at what causes back pain and discuss nonsurgical treatment options to minimize lower back pain and help patients live a healthier, pain-free life.
Causes of Lower Back Pain
Back pain can be a range of sensations from intense shooting pains to a dull muscle ache. It can result from lifting something improperly, an injury or fall, poor posture, and lack of exercise. But often, the cause of lower back pain is unknown.
There are two types of back pain, Acute and Chronic.
Acute Low Back Pain
Acute back pain can last a few days to a week. It is a pain that will usually fix itself with rest, exercise and care. Most back pain is acute.
Chronic Back Pain
Do you suffer from back pain that lasts longer than three months? Chronic back pain usually occurs after an injury, a medical condition or an ongoing ailment that doesn’t allow the pain to go away entirely.
The most common conditions related to back pain are:
- Muscle Strain - Improper or repetitive lifting of heavy objects or sudden awkward movements can cause muscle strain in your lower back. We can typically link muscle strain to overexertion or an overall poor physical condition.
- Ruptured, Bulging or Herniated Discs - Your spine has small disks that act as a cushion between the vertebra. If the disks bulge or ruptures, it can cause our spine to press on sensitive nerves, causing back pain.
- Arthritis - Arthritis is an inflammation of the vertebra. It can happen with age or due to hereditary conditions and lead to back pain.
- Osteoporosis - Osteoporosis is when bones lose their calcium and become brittle and soft. It can cause very painful fractures in the spine.
If you have unexplained back pain, it is best to see your doctor for a diagnosis. They may be able to refer you to back specialists to help diagnose the issue.
The goal of managing lower back pain is to:
- Prevent further injury or stress to the spine and joints for the long term
- Provide pain relief so the patient can exercise and build strength and function through physiotherapy and rehabilitation exercises
- Improve function so they can actively participate in work and activities
Non-Surgical Treatment Options For Lower Back Pain
Now we will look at some options for how to manage lower back pain. These are nonsurgical treatment options, often called alternative treatment options. They often work with treatments from your doctor for an integrated approach to pain management.
If you have back pain, you may not feel much like exercising, but physical activity and staying active is one of the best ways to treat back pain. Too much rest and periods of inactivity can cause your muscles to weaken and even make the pain worse.
Exercises that strengthen your core muscles also help support your spine. And the good news is that the stronger these muscles are, the less stress and strain on your back and spine.
Even low impact exercises like walking and swimming can help improve your back pain. These low-impact exercises get your body moving, help improve your posture and stretch your muscles, which can all support a healthy back.
Physiotherapy helps improve function and mobility in joints and can help reduce back pain. It also focuses on rehabilitation and maintenance to prevent future injuries. Physiotherapy combines physical therapy treatments like heat and ice application, electrical stimulation, ultrasound and massage, along with custom exercises and stretching.
Your physiotherapist will design exercises for you to do at home to treat your condition and can advise you on activities to avoid that may hurt or cause further injury to your back. The exercises will often focus on building strength and stability in the spine, building endurance and flexibility, and improving posture.
Issues with your feet or inadequate footwear can cause misalignment with your ankles, hips, and back when you walk or run. Over time, these conditions can lead to lower back pain as your other muscles strain to support overworked or misaligned joints.
Many people who suffer from lower back pain see a significant improvement in custom orthotics and proper footwear.
A podiatrist or physiotherapist can examine your feet with a quick scan and determine if orthotics could benefit you. Then a custom orthotic insole sits inside your shoe to help support and realign your feet.
Acupuncture is a practice from Traditional Chinese Medicine. It involves placing thin needles into points of the body to stimulate them and help release endorphins and other naturally occurring pain-killing chemicals in the body.
Studies show some evidence that acupuncture can help pain management and restore function for some patients with chronic pain.
Acupuncture can be a great option if you’re looking to avoid muscle relaxants or certain pain relievers. However, you should speak to your doctor for their recommendation and advice on side effects.
5. Spinal Manipulation
Spinal manipulation is a treatment used by chiropractors to help relieve low back pain. Chiropractors use their hands to adjust and massage the spine to release tension and tight muscles. The therapy often offers immediate pain relief but requires regular maintenance visits over a period of time.
If you have questions about how custom orthotics can help lower back pain management, get in touch with our team at Orthotics Direct. We make quality custom made orthotics that can help reduce back pain and prevent injuries and strain.
Order your pair of orthotic-friendly footwear today on our online store. We provide a vast array of fashionable brands and can ship your new shoes with your custom made orthotics right to your doorstep.