Low back pain: types, causes, treatment

symptoms of back pain

Lower back pain (lower back pain, low back pain, pain or tightness in the lumbar region) is a common complaint from patients when they visit a doctor. According to medical statistics, at least 70% of the population suffers from such symptoms at least once in their lifetime. At the same time, attacks of back pain become chronic in 10% of cases.

The structure of the symptoms is as follows:

  • 80-85% - non-specific lower back pain. Symptoms subside within a few weeks;
  • 10-15% - spinal canal stenosis, radiculopathy, which caused compression of the nerve root;
  • 1-2% - a specific syndrome caused by oncopathology, diseases of internal organs.

Pain in the lumbar region ranks second in duration and third in frequency of issuing a temporary disability sheet among all diseases. So that the pathology does not take on a recurring character, it is necessary to consult a doctor in a timely manner.

types of back pain

Depending on the duration of the pain syndrome:

  • stabbing pain. Occurs suddenly in response to new damage. Lasts up to 6 weeks;
  • subacute pain. It lasts more than 12 weeks - this is the period of normal healing of damaged tissues;
  • recurring pain. The syndrome occurs at least six months after the previous exacerbation. Symptoms disappear completely between flares;
  • Aggravation of chronic back pain. Difference from relapse: the interval between attacks is less than 6 months, the symptoms may fade, but not completely disappear.

According to the etiopathogenesis, back pain is:

  • Primary. The symptom occurs due to functional and / or dystrophic changes in the intervertebral discs, joints, fascia, tendons, muscles;
  • Secondary. The cause of frequent back pain is congenital anomalies of the spine (scoliosis, lumbarization, etc. ), back injuries, arthritis, projective pain in pathologies of the intestine, stomach, abdominal aorta and organs of the urogenital system.

what is back pain

Most often, patients complain of sharp and intense pain in the lower back, also known as stabbing, throbbing, or lumbago. Movement in the back is restricted. Sometimes a person remains in a hunched position and cannot straighten up. With each movement, a sharp pain in the lower back intensifies (it "shoots" in the back). The main cause of this disease is chronic diseases of the lumbar spine. An acute attack can last from a few minutes to several weeks. In some cases, thePain subsides enough for the person to get used to, and full recovery without recurrence is also possible.

Pulling pain in the lower back is a common symptom of chronic diseases of the internal organs, the spine. The sensations are not pronounced, but they cause discomfort. Aching pain in the lumbar region can increase with a low inclination, physical activity, after infection, hypothermia. Even if the symptoms disappear completely, stiffness and discomfort in the back remain.

Symptoms that should not be ignored

If sharp or dull back pain is accompanied by one or more of the symptoms listed below, you need to urgently consult a doctor.

Warning signals:

  • numbness in arms or legs, goosebumps, "cotton" limbs;
  • pain in the hip joints and knees;
  • leg cramps;
  • violation of the menstrual cycle in women;
  • sexual impotence in men;
  • increased pain when sitting;
  • inability to stand for long;
  • rapid weight loss;
  • fever, fever;
  • critical deviations in blood tests;
  • age over 50 years;
  • lack of dynamics in the "routine" treatment for 4 weeks.

The doctor in the clinic will determine the cause of the pain and will help to relieve the exacerbation. After that, an examination and complex treatment under the supervision of a doctor is required.

What pathologies can cause acute pain in the lumbar region

Musculoskeletal disorders

Pinching of the sciatic nerve. There is a sharp, stabbing pain in the lower back caused by compression of the nerve roots by closely adjacent vertebrae. The reason for this phenomenon is osteochondrosis – these are degenerative changes in the intervertebral discs. The tissue is gradually destroyed, the gap between the vertebrae decreases, with any sudden movement they can pinch the nerve. The pain is often accompanied by a pulsation of the pinched vessels.

Sciatica (lumbosacral sciatica). As a result of the injury, the nerve roots become inflamed, sciatica develops. If the sciatic nerve is affected, it is called sciatica. With lumbosacral sciatica, lumboischalgia is often observed - severe pain in the lower back and leg on the side of the lesion.

Osteochondrosis (spondylosis). The vertebrae are compacted, deformed, and covered with osteophytes - bony outgrowths that look like sharp spikes. For a long time it was believed that osteochondrosis was a consequence of age-related degenerative changes, but now the diagnosis is getting younger every year. A sedentary lifestyle, sedentary work already at the age of 25-30 contribute to changes in the intervertebral discs. Osteophytes irritate and press the roots, pain appears.

Disc prolapse. A fragment of joint tissue protrudes into the spinal canal. A hernia can occur after a back injury or develop as a result of osteochondrosis.

Inflammatory diseases of the spine. Pathology can develop for several years without showing itself. The disease begins at a young age and gradually leads to disability. The reason for such a disappointing prognosis is also that the patients suffer from constant night pains that disturb sleep and do not care about the morning stiffness in the back. Several years pass from the appearance of the first symptoms to the doctor's visit. Chronic inflammation already leads to irreversible changes in the spine, its motor activity decreases, a hump appears, etc.

spondyloarthritis. Pathologies such as Crohn's disease, seronegative spondylitis can cause pain in the lumbar region. The main symptom is accompanied by inflammation of the joints of the knees, ankles or wrists, pain in the buttocks, blurred vision, unstable stools of unusual consistency.

Other diseases. Sharp pain in the lumbar region occurs with myositis - inflammation of the lumbar muscles as a result of strain or hypothermia. The symptom is also characteristic of osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, degenerative sacroiliitis and other pathologies.

Diseases of the internal organs

Often the cause of back pain is the pathology of the kidneys, internal genital organs and urinary tract. The condition requires careful diagnosis and medical monitoring as many complications are irreversible.

Lower back pain in renal pathology differs from the consequences of diseases of the musculoskeletal system in its constancy and independence from movement or posture. It is especially important to be vigilant when experiencing symptoms such as cloudy urine, frequent or painful urination, etc.

Diseases of the genital organs

Both women and men can experience severe back pain due to various pathologies of the reproductive system. This is how sexually transmitted infections, inflammation of tissues and organs manifest themselves.

Lower back pain in women is common during menstruation and is accompanied by discomfort in the lower abdomen. This can be seen as a variant of the norm. With a very large number of periods, accompanied by pressure surges, malaise, it is better to visit a maternity hospital and get tested for hormones. Menstruation can be normalized with the right medication.

Back pain in men can be a sign of prostate problems. It is necessary to make an appointment with a urologist and undergo an examination.


When the entire pancreas becomes inflamed, the pain surrounds the back in the lumbar region. Irradiation of the coccyx, left thigh, perineum is possible. Belt pain begins to increase after eating and increases with physical exertion. Walking, jumping and other exercises cause the pancreas capsule to stretch and nerve endings to react.

What to do with severe back pain

When a sharp attack of pain is manifested at home or at work, it is necessary to lie down on a hard hard surface and put a roller under bent knees so that the legs are at right angles to the body. Take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug. You can tie a scarf or warm scarf around your lower back to warm your back a little.

If these measures did not bring relief, you need to call a doctor or an ambulance at home. If you feel better, do not wait for a new attack of pain and find time to contact the medical center, first of all, register with a family doctor - he will comprehensively assess your state of health, make a preliminary diagnosis, draw up an initial examinationplan, prescribe adequate symptomatic treatment, refer to a specialist if necessary.

expert advice

Modern advertising offers a lot of "quick" solutions to back pain: a variety of gels, ointments, patches. Some of them provide relief, but should not be used continuously without medical supervision. In some cases, warming gels can only do harm. Therefore, if you have back pain, you should consult a doctor, even if you were able to drown out the symptoms.

Diagnosis of back pain

At the first appointment, the doctor interviews the patient, finds out the duration of the symptoms, the dynamics of their development, the presence of concomitant ailments. The doctor will determine exactly how it hurts - left or right, the pain is dull, aching, sharp or throbbing, the duration of the attacks and other details for a preliminary diagnosis. In many typical cases, standard family doctor treatment is possible.

Most often, when there are certain signs of a serious disease of the spine or internal organs, the patient is sent for additional examinations:

  • blood analysis. A low level of hemoglobin indicates the likely presence of a tumor, an increase in ESR indicates inflammation or infection, etc. The doctor recommends conducting not only a general analysis, but also biochemistry to assess the functioning of internal organs.
  • Analysis of the urine. According to the results of the study, the health of the kidneys and urinary tract will be assessed. Deviations in the results of the analysis are a direct indication of ultrasound of the urinary system and further examination by a urologist;
  • X-ray of the lumbar spine. The pictures show certain signs of inflammation of the joints, injuries of various structures, the proximity of the vertebrae with degenerative changes. According to the x-ray, the doctor may suggest osteoporosis, see fractures;
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). A non-X-ray method of examining patients, which allows you to get many images (sections) of the area of \u200b\u200binterest and its three-dimensional image. In contrast to X-rays and computed tomography, MRI not only provides information about the condition of bones, but also about muscles, blood vessels and soft tissue.

Treatment of back and lower back pain

Uncomplicated forms of pain that are not associated with serious disease of the spine or internal organs are treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). To get rid of discomfort, it is enough to eliminate the provoking factor: reduce weight, sit less, walk more and regularly do simple exercises. Moderate physical activity is continuously recommended on an individual basis.

Eliminating the pain caused by a disease that has deeper origins requires a systematic and integrated approach. The course of treatment should include medication, physiotherapy, therapeutic exercises, massage.

Conservative therapy

In the event of acute, unbearable pain, the doctor will make a blockade directly at the reception - an injection of anesthetic into the affected area. The injection provides quick relief from discomfort, but only provides temporary relief. The patient should start treatment immediately.

To relieve the exacerbation, the doctor prescribes:

  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that reduce pain and swelling;
  • muscle relaxants to relax spasmodic muscles;
  • B vitamins to improve regeneration and nutrition of nerve fibers.

If the cause of back pain is a disease of the internal organs, then the patient is prescribed drugs to treat the underlying pathology.

auxiliary methods

After removal of the exacerbation, the following methods of treatment are effective:

  • wearing a special fixing bandage;
  • medical massage in the lumbar region;
  • shock wave therapy;
  • swimming and exercise therapy;
  • Acupuncture;
  • the imposition of Teips;
  • manual therapy;
  • other physiotherapeutic methods.

Surgical intervention

Surgery is the last resort. Surgical treatment is indicated in severe disorders of the structure of the spinal cord or internal organs. There are many methods. After all, a certain type of intervention is planned by a neurosurgeon, an operating urologist, an abdominal surgeon, taking into account the established diagnosis and the individual characteristics of the patient's condition.

Don't tolerate back pain. Make an appointment with a general practitioner, neurologist or urologist at the clinic. In the medical center you can undergo a full examination, find out why back pain arose and receive quality treatment.