Low Back Pain - Causes, Treatment and Prevention

November 06, 2021

Woman with lower back pain

Low back pain is among the most common reasons people schedule a visit to their health care provider. With four out of every five people suffering from this problem at some point in their lives, it’s important to know how to prevent low back pain, and if it strikes, how to relieve it.

Of course, you can get pain in your upper and middle back as well, but low back pain is the most common site, simply because of the way your spine is shaped. Your spine is composed of bones called vertebrae, stacked one on top of another, that are separated by spongy, shock-absorbing cartilage discs. The spine’s lower portion, or “lumbar” area, is subject to more wear and tear compared to the areas above it.

Let’s get a look at the most common causes of low back pain, how you can get relief, and then examine ways to prevent it from happening.

Low Back Pain - A Note of Caution

Most low back pain, while certainly uncomfortable, is usually not a signal that something is seriously wrong. But sometimes the onset of low back pain can be a sign that there is a bigger problem.

If your back pain is accompanied by loss of control of your bladder or bowels, severe stomach pain, weight loss that is unexplained, a high fever, a sudden increase in pain with numbness or weakness, or your back pain was caused by a fall or a severe blow to your back, then you should see your health care provider immediately.

Assuming you have none of these warning signs, your low back pain is most likely to be caused by a muscle or ligament strain. Other common causes are degenerative disc disease, in which the disc becomes so worn down it can no longer act as a cushion; a ruptured or bulging disc, which can cause pain if it presses on a nerve; osteoarthritis of the spine, or a compression fracture of the vertebrae, usually caused by underlying osteoporosis or “thinning” of the bones as you age. 

Low Back Pain - Causes and Treatment

Since low back strain is the single most common reason for this type of pain, let’s look at it a bit more closely. A low back strain can occur from too much physical exertion, repeated bending over, or lifting a heavy object, especially if you are out of shape. Even a cough or a sudden sneeze has also been known to cause it! Again, if you have any numbness or weakness in your legs, or bladder or bowel problems, see your physician immediately.

A low back strain can make you miserable. Fortunately, most cases resolve over time. To accelerate healing, you can ice your lower back as soon as you can after you have strained it. Do this for twenty to thirty minutes every three or four hours for the first two to three days after your injury and make sure that the ice is not directly on your skin to avoid freezing skin tissues.

If needed, use over-the-counter acetaminophen (brand name Tylenol) for pain, or one of the over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen. Be sure to take these with food. Use heat only after you have iced your back for two to three days, otherwise, you risk aggravating the pain as it can increase swelling. DeepMarine collagen is also very effective at reducing inflammation and helps to restore mobility and reduce pain.   

Contrary to what you might think, bed rest is not indicated and in fact, can make the pain worse! Of course, you should take it easy and not lift anything heavy or do any bending. If your pain does not begin to resolve with these simple measures or gets worse, see your doctor.

Preventing Low Back Pain

So what about prevention? Daily exercise, especially strengthening the muscles of your core, as well as bending at the knees and not the waist, can help. If you are overweight, getting those pounds off will reduce the strain on your back.

You should also avoid sleeping on your stomach, plus watch your posture. No slouching! In addition, taking a marine collagen supplement can help to ease low back pain, as the bones, muscles, and tendons of your lower back all contain collagen and depend on it for proper functioning

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