Understanding Lower Back Pain or Lumbago

People commonly suffer from musculoskeletal disorders such as lumbago. These people often have a hard time enjoying everyday activities that used to bring them pleasure. Mainly, this condition refers to a pain shooting from the lower back region.

About 80 percent of the United State suffer from lumbago or lower back pain. Sometimes you may have lower back pain but aren’t sure of the symptoms of lumbago.

Low back pain mostly results from an injury, such as muscle sprains or strains due to sudden movements or poor body mechanics while lifting heavy objects. Acute lower back pain can last from a few days to a few weeks whereas, chronic back pain usually lasts longer than three months.

Understanding Lower Back Pain or Lumbago

Cause of Lower Back Pain

Lumbago mostly affects individuals between the ages of 30 and 50. Lumbago usually occurs due to changes in the body due to aging as there’s a reduction in the fluid content between the vertebrae in the spine.

The discs in the spine experience irritation more easily. With age, you also lose some muscle tone making the back more prone to injury. Therefore, strengthening your back muscles along with good body mechanics helps in preventing low back pain.

Lumbago can be caused by various reasons, including:

1. Strains: Excessive activity leads to stretching or tearing the back muscles and ligaments. You may experience pain and stiffness in the lower back, as well as muscle spasms that get better with rest and physical therapy.

2. Disc Injury: The disc is prone to injury due to aging. The outside of the disc can tear or herniate. The disc may rupture or slip as the cartilage surrounding the disc pushes against the spinal cord or nerve roots. This can cause compression of the nerve root as it exits from the spinal cord and through the vertebral bones. The disc injury usually occurs unexpectedly due to lifting something or twisting the back.

3. Sciatica: This may be the result of a herniated disc if the disc presses on the sciatic nerve. Which connects the spine to the legs. This would result in sciatica causing pain in the legs and feet. You may also feel various sensations such as burning, or pins and needles.

4. Spinal Stenosis: Spinal stenosis is when the spinal column narrows, putting pressure on the spinal cord and spinal nerves. The degeneration or compression of the nerve roots of the discs, such as bony spurs or soft tissues between the vertebrae results in spinal stenosis. You may experience numbness, cramping, and weakness.

5. Abnormal Spinal Curvatures: You can experience other conditions such as scoliosis, kyphosis, and lordosis due to abnormal curvatures in the spine. These conditions are congenital that are usually first diagnosed during childhood or adolescence. You may usually experience pain and poor posture as it places pressure on the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and vertebrae.

Some of the other conditions that may cause lumbago to include:

  • Arthritis

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Spondylitis

  • Spondylosis

  • Pregnancy

  • Endometriosis

  • Ovarian cysts

  • Uterine fibroids

  • Cancer

  • Osteoarthritis

Lower Back Pain

Symptoms of Lower Back Pain

Some of the common symptoms of lumbago include:

  • Low back pain radiating to the buttocks, back of the thigh, till the groin.

  • Lower back pain or lumbago may be aggravated during movement. The pain may increase from bending forward, backward, or side-to-side limiting your activity.

  • The spinal muscle spasms result in the back feeling stiff and sore.

  • Lower back pain and muscle spasms can be acute and affect the posture usually on one side.

  • Lumbago may cause tingling sensations usually felt in the low back, buttocks, and legs.

  • Swelling or inflammation in the back or leg.

  • Lower back pain if you sneeze or cough.

  • Restricted movement of the spine.

  • Localized pain.

Lumbago can rarely cause serious symptoms requiring immediate medical care. But, the various other warning signs are loss of bladder or bowel control, leg numbness, or loss of leg strength.

Physical Therapy for Lower Back Pain

Diagnosis of Lower Back Pain

Your doctor would begin by analyzing your complete medical history and conducting a thorough physical examination to determine the location of the pain. A physical exam would help your doctor determine if the pain is affecting your range of motion.

Treatment of Lower Back Pain

Your doctor would check your reflexes and responses to determine sensations in the low back affecting your nerves.

The doctor would monitor your condition unless you have concerning or debilitating symptoms or neurologic loss for a few weeks before sending you for testing.

The doctor may suggest certain imaging tests such as Electromyography (EMG) or nerve conduction tests, X-rays, CT scans, ultrasounds, and MRIs to check for:

  • Bone problems.

  • Disc problems.

  • Problems with the ligaments and tendons in your back.

Treatment of Lower Back Pain

The treatment for Lumbago depends on various factors, such as age, weight, activity level, and much more. The treatment regime would include:

1. Medical Treatment: The anti-inflammatories for pain relief include muscle relaxants, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), narcotic drugs such as codeine for pain relief, steroids to reduce inflammation, and corticosteroid injections. You can always use over-the-counter pain medication, like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB), or acetaminophen (Tylenol) to help relieve pain.

2. Physical Therapy: Physical therapies such as massage, stretching, strengthening exercises, and back and spinal manipulation. You may also practice yoga, acupuncture, and chiropractic & spinal manipulation.

3. Homecare: Restricting your physical activities and applying hot or cold compresses. You should rest during the acute phase. In the case of acute cases of lumbago, relieving pressure on the lower back muscles helps alleviate symptoms. You should lie down on the floor on your back and place your legs on a chair or stool for quick relief.

4. Exercise and gentle stretches: The exercise would help increase the range of motion with a decrease in pain. Weak and inactive muscles tend to become overly tense and doing targeted strengthening exercises help you restore balance to tensioning structures.

5. Surgery: Surgery is the last resort for lumbago treatment when other treatments do not provide relief. Laminectomy and discectomy surgery aim at decompressing the spinal nerve sac or individual spinal nerve roots to help in the treatment of lower back pain. Other surgeries include foraminotomy, Intradiscal electrothermal therapy (IDET), nucleoplasty, radiofrequency lesioning or ablation, and spinal fusion.


Good to know: lumbago will not damage your spine. Acute lumbago restricts the function of your back muscles mainly in the lumbar spine region. Practicing prevention techniques will lessen the severity of your symptoms if your pain is due to a lower back injury. In case you are not able to perform your daily activities contact your health care provider soon.

Exercise and gentle stretches for Lower Back Pain

If you or anyone you know is suffering from pain, our expert providers at ASP Cares will take care of your health and help you recover.

Call us on (210)-417-4567 to book an appointment with our specialists.

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