Lumbago, more commonly known as lower back pain, is one of the most common medical problems. Over 10 million cases of lumbago are diagnosed every year in the country.
Back is a complex structure which consists of interlinking bones, cartilage, muscles, tendons and nerves. It plays a crucial role in maintaining the structure and protecting the body. Any problem with back can have a significant impact on our physical and mental well-being. Therefore, back pain should not be ignored.
Back pain can get triggered with even one-off movements at times. It might just be standing up from a chair
or lifting a carton at work. Lower back pain is self-diagnosed and self-medicated
in most cases. This can be dangerous, as these drugs might be able to provide immediate pain relief but they end up hiding the underlying cause. It is
therefore important to visit a specialist.
What are the causes of lower back pain?
Lower back pain is often caused due to minor strains, inflammation or pinched nerves which account for a significant number of cases. Improper posture for long durations, bending awkwardly, over-stretching, long drives without rest and bad roads are significant causes. Repetitive straining of muscle groups due to overuse can also significantly result in lower back pain.
Obesity, especially belly fat shifts gravity to the front and puts a strain on the back muscles. Smoking decreases blood flow to the disc and leads to disc prolapse. Slouching while sitting raises pressure inside the disc and as a result it gets torn easily.
What are the professions that are more susceptible to lower back pain?
Manual labour like construction, agriculture, beauticians, manufacturing.
Office workers who sit at their computer for long hours.
Cab drivers and long-distance drivers etc.
What are the symptoms to watch out for?
Visit a doctor if you have back pain for more than three months. Shooting pain coming down to the legs, weakness or numbness in the legs, fever with back pain, etc. Here are some of the simple things you can do to help relieve yourself from back pain.
Avoid prolonged bed rest, as it can be harmful. It is important that you try and start moving around as soon as possible, as staying active will help reduce the severity of the condition.
Use hot or cold compression packs to help relieve pain – a warm bath can help relieve the pain as well.
Sleeping sideways helps take the pressure off the back.
A visit to the doctor and consumption of the prescribed pain killers and exercises suggested by the doctor.
Do not remain in the same position. Stand up and stretch yourself, walk a little within the office
frequently to help relieve back
(The author is associate spine
consultant, Sakra World Hospital)