Lower back pain is often associated with poor posture and weakness.
The lower back or lumbar spine consists of five large vertebrae. Each vertebra is stacked on top of another with a gel-like cushion between them, known as an intervertebral disc. This disc helps to absorb pressure and distribute stress. The ligaments and muscles surround the vertebral column to further support the weight of the body and allow movement.
Symptoms of lower back pain may vary from pain in the lumbar region to possible referred pain into one or both legs, and can be accompanied by pins and needles, numbness and bladder and bowel disturbances. You should consult a doctor if you have any of these symptoms.
- Non-specific low back pain – Characterised by pain in no particular area of the back, normally a result of a muscular sprain / strain. MRI and X-ray findings are normal.
- Mechanical lumbar spine / spondylosis – Occurs to most of us through inactive lifestyles and through repetitive movements and excessive use.
- Prolapsed disc – A disc bulge outside of its normal space; may also be known as slipped disc. Symptoms can include back pain as well as referred pain to one or both legs. There may be a slight pressure of the disc on surrounding nerves causing altered sensation or weakness into the legs.
- Lumbar spine stenosis – A narrowing of the spinal canal, which may cause compression on the spinal cord.
- Spondylolisthesis – A condition where a vertebra in the spine moves out of alignment with the vertebra below it.
When to see a specialist?
- If pain persists longer than two weeks
- Increase in pain level
- Persisting restriction with activities of daily living
- Increase in intensity and area of numbness down the leg
- Worsening of lower extremity weaknesses
Aims of treatments recommended
- Reduce pain and symptoms
- Improve core stability
- Improve spinal mobility
- Improve posture
- Prevent further deterioration