Last updated on December 8th, 2023.
Nearly 540 million people are affected by lower back pain each year (Source: Helio). If you have ever had lower back pain, you know how frustrating it can be. Not only does it hurt, but it drastically impacts your daily life. Lower back pain often leaves people scrambling to find quick fixes to relieve the pain.
Read on to learn what lower back pain can indicate about your health and what you can do to help fix it.
5 Things Lower Back Pain Can Indicate
Lower back pain can be both nagging and frightening if you begin looking at all of the things it could mean. More often than not, it is something treatable and straightforward, but there are times it can be more serious. Here are some things that your lower back pain may be pointing to.
Lower back pain doesn’t just appear out of thin air. The pain is typically caused by something or can indicate other health issues. Lower back pain can indicate
- Strains or Sprains
- Kidney and Bladder Issues
- Disk Problems
Strains or Sprains
The most common cause of lower back pain is sprains or strains. These injuries can occur anywhere at any time. You don’t need to be doing anything strenuous to strain your lower back. A lot of people strain their back on the day-to-day tasks.
A standard course of treatment for a strain or sprain is a regimen of anti-inflammatory medicine, hot and cold therapy, and gentle stretching. The anti-inflammatory benefits of IV therapy can help your body heal faster and help relieve pain symptoms. It can take up to six weeks to recover from a strain or sprain, but it is not life-threatening.
Lower back pain caused by sciatica is not a pleasant experience. Many people experience this pain as sharp and throbbing or dull. It typically affects both the lower back and your legs. While uncomfortable, it is not life-threatening and can be easily treated with therapy. In severe cases, it may require surgery.
Unfortunately, lower back pain can also indicate a more severe condition like a disease. Some of the most common are meningitis and MS. While these are highly unlikely, it is best to get it checked out by a physician if you are concerned. There is also a chance of tumors when you experience long-lasting lower back pain.
Both kidney and bladder issues can manifest as low back pain, but there are a bit different than typical lower back pain. This pain is likely to be felt beyond the spine and will often be located on one side of your body. If you are experiencing this pain, you need to seek medical attention to receive proper medication.
Lower back pain can also be indicative of a herniated disk. When a disk is swollen, it can cause pressure on the spine, becoming increasingly painful. Typically this pain subsides over a few days. However, if it is chronic pain, surgical treatment may be necessary.
How Do I Fix My Lower Back Pain?
If you have ever experienced lower back pain, you have likely found yourself searching for ways to relieve the pain. There are many options to ease the pain, while other options can help you resolve or fix the pain. Some of the top proven methods to heal lower back pain are.
Yoga is a remarkable way to help fix lower back pain. By taking your body through a series of stretches and poses, you will begin to release the tension in your body that is causing the lower back pain. When taking on the yoga challenge, you need to understand this is not a quick fix. It may take several sessions before you notice a difference.
Often, lower back pain can be a result of stress. When you are under a lot of stress, your muscles tighten without knowing. Because your back has several muscles, this is a most affected area. Not only will yoga help relieve the tension, but it will also help combat the stress that is causing lower back issues.
When you think of strength training, your mind likely goes to an image of a bodybuilder lifting a massive barbell. While that is a form of strength training, it is not what you want to do to lessen lower back pain. If you are experiencing acute or chronic back pain, you will want to check with a physician or physical therapist before starting a strength training program.
If you have been cleared to start a strength training program, you will want to begin slowly. Often, people jump into a strength training program too quickly and end up injuring themselves. The adage slow and steady wins the race is key. Here are some simple exercises you can do to help strengthen your lower back.
- Cat stretches
- Dumbell row
Many other exercises can target your lower back muscles, but those are the most common. Working with a physical therapist or trainer would be ideal if you avoid injury or discomfort.
Believe it or not, the cause of your lower back pain may be a direct result of your shoes. If you are on your feet and don’t have the proper shoes, which can place extra stress on your joints and back. The two most troublesome shoe types are flip-flops and heels. Flip flops do not provide adequate support, and heels change your posture and gait.
There is no reason to stop wearing troublesome shoes altogether, but you will want to limit the amount of time you spend on them. When you look for shoes that can help prevent lower back pain, these are what to look for.
- Fit – not too tight or loose
- Arch support
- Low heels
It may seem that fashion needs to go out the window when you begin looking for supportive shoes, but you will likely find many fashionable options on the market. It will take time for you to notice a difference, but you will probably see relief within the first couple of days wearing the proper shoes.
Hot and Cold
While you are trying to get your back to a level of comfort, you may choose to use hot and cold therapy. Many people find this to be soothing, but it is not lasting. It is best to invest in a good heating pad and quality ice packs.
You must use cold therapy before applying any heat. The cold will allow the inflammation to lessen, which will make you more comfortable. After all or most of the rash has disappeared, you can begin applying heat to the area. If you use heat too soon, you will likely increase the level of pain and discomfort. A physician or physical therapist can help you with timing if needed.
There are many other remedies for alleviating or eliminating back pain, but these are the most widely used. If, after trying these, you are not experiencing improvement or relief, it would be best to seek the help of a trained professional. Treatment of an underlying or more severe situation may be necessary.
When Should I Be Worried About Lower Back Pain?
You should be worried about lower back pain that lasts longer than a week or two. While it is common for strains and sprains to stay beyond that duration, underlying factors are causing the pain that need to be checked. If you are questioning a doctor visit if you experience any of these things, you should seek medical advice.
- Pain or weakness in your legs
- Stomach pains
- Difficulty urinating
- Increased pain
These symptoms can be frightening but are typically easily treated if addressed early.
Lower back pain can be nagging and even frightening, but there are things you can do to relieve or eliminate the pain. The measures you take to stop the pain may not help until you have been consistently applying them to your daily routine, but you will likely notice a difference with time. If nothing seems to help relieve the pain, you need to seek the advice of a professional.