It’s All about That Base: Dealing with Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain can manifest in multiple ways dependent on the specific pathology of the patient. How it presents will be a vital piece of information in deciding how to treat back pain.
Back Sprain or Strain:
This is one of the most common origins of back pain, presenting in the form of muscle spasms, stiffness, and cramping. This form of back pain is often episodic, and can be felt in the buttock and can appear suddenly, or come on over a period of time. Back Strain is often connected with certain movements, with light activities, such as walking, sometimes serving to alleviate it. The pain can peak for two to three days, potentially followed by an extended period of lesser pain.
Nerve-root pressure is often caused by misalignments of the spine, degenerative joint disease, or in very rare instances tumors. As the name indicates, pressure is being exerted on the spinal cord or other nerve bundle located at the base of the spine.
Sciatica, an irritation of the sciatic nerve, is one well-known expression of nerve-root pressure, with pain often starting in the buttock, and extending below the knee and down to the ankle or foot. Other nerve related problems are numbness, and weakness, often appearing in one or both legs, extending down as far as the ankle and foot.
Arthritis of the Spine:
Osteoarthritis is a condition that affects many as they age, generally being worse in the hip and back, and gradually getting worse over time. It is commonly worse in the morning, or after long periods of remaining inactive, arthritis tends to be eased by movement.
Lower Back Pain Treatment:
- Heat: Heat can be an excellent first treatment for mild back pain, the increased blood flow caused by the dilation of blood vessels in response to warmth helping to oxygenate the tissues and flush away toxins that may be aggravating the pain.
- Ice: When dealing with pain caused by inflammation, ice can be very helpful. It serves to constrict the blood vessels, helping to ease the inflammation and reducing the pain caused by it.
- Rest: Rest is often your first and best approach, though it isn’t the panacea we medical professionals once believed it to be. When it comes to dealing with back pain, remaining active has been proven to be your greatest relief in most cases.
When to Call Physician:
Dr. Kevin Li, MD has made a career of taking a non-invasive approach to back pain therapy, believing that surgery should be left as an absolute last resort. Using techniques such as massage, cortisone shots, epidural steroid shots, and short-term use of painkillers and muscle relaxants to get you back to an active, pain-free lifestyle. If you’re in need of lower or upper back pain treatment, contact Dr. Kevin Li, MD at (626) 538-8950 today!
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