Lumbago

What is Lumbago?

General description/overview

Lumbago is pain in the lower back that is caused by damage to a muscle or ligament. Lower back pain is very common; in fact, it is the second most common ailment that causes U.S. residents to miss work, after respiratory illnesses.

You may experience lumbago due to lifting something incorrectly, sitting with poor posture for a long period of time, or failing to exercise regularly. Other causes include arthritis, an injury that causes a fracture, or a slipped or ruptured disk.

Anyone can experience lumbago, at any age. Typically, younger patients will recover more quickly.

What are the Symptoms of Lumbago?

The main“”and sometimes only“”symptom of lumbago is lower back pain. Some people have constant pain, while others only have pain in certain positions. Bending or twisting can cause the pain to increase. You may also have some stiffness associated with the lower back pain. Muscle spasms may occur.

In more severe cases, depending on the cause of the pain, patients experience pain that continues from the back into the hips and legs. This can occur only during certain movements or be continual.

Lumbago Causes

Lumbago is a term that refers to pain in the lower back region. There are many different factors that may lead to the development of lower back pain.

The common cause of lumbago is a strain in one of the muscles or ligaments of the lower back. This normally occurs when a person tries to lift something that it too heavy, or they lift using only the arms and back and do not use their legs to help with lifting.

Lumbago may also be caused by disc problems in the back. Herniated discs and degenerative disc disease often cause severe lower back pain.

Other conditions may affect the spine and discs, leading to lumbago. Osteoarthritis that develops as one ages often affects the spinal joints, causing pain in the lower back. Inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis often cause lumbago as well.

Obesity is a very common cause of lumbago. Excess weight puts a great strain on the muscles of the lower back. This often leads to pain and stiffness over time.

How is Lumbago Treated?

Most cases of lumbago resolve with minimal treatment in 2 to 4 weeks. Bed rest and alternating warm and cold packs can help the muscles recover.

Your doctor may prescribe a muscle relaxant or a pain reliever; ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatory drugs may be particularly helpful. Physical therapy can also help.

In very rare cases, lumbago may require surgery to repair a damaged ligament or if the cause of the pain is a damaged spinal disk.

Lumbago Prevention

There are some simple ways to help prevent the development of lumbago. When lifting any object, do not bend at the waist and only use the arms and back to lift. Bend at the knees, and use the legs to assist with lifting. This places less strain on the back muscles.

Exercise to help strengthen the back muscles will help prevent many cases of lumbago. A healthcare professional can provide an illustrated sheet that contains examples of exercises specifically designed to strengthen lower back muscles.

Make every effort to shed excess weight. A low fat diet that includes many servings per day of fruits and vegetables will help with weight loss, and it will help prevent a host of potential medical problems.

If back pain does develop, consult with a doctor. Some conditions that cause lumbago progress and cause degeneration over time. It is best to begin treatment as soon as possible to prevent further complications.