Do you ever feel sharp or aching pains radiating from your lower back down your legs? Oftentimes patients feel intense pains that can cause the legs to become numb or experience tingling. If you are suffering from this dilemma, you are not alone. Whether the pain stems from a chronic or acute injury, there are solutions to your lumbar pains.
The human spine is often referred to in sections: cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral regions. With a healthy spine, diagnostic imaging will prove normal disc height and spacing. As a person ages, the disc space may begin collapsing, pressing on nerves that reside between them. An acute injury, like direct blows the trunk may is another reason for idiopathic abnormalities. When this happens, patients begin experiencing pain symptoms responsible for the nerve function.
Back pains may also stem from improper posture, scoliotic deformities, and birth defects.
Cervical and lumbar pains are often the two most commonly visited problems in any spine care center. Cervical spine pain may be due from whip lash syndrome after a motor vehicle accident, or any other collision that jerks the neck in a specific direction. Lumbar pains often stem from falls onto hard surfaces or lifting heavy objects incorrectly. Patients with neck pain often complain of numbness in tingling radiating from the base of their neck, through the shoulder region, down to the finger tips. Lumbar pains similarly radiate from the base of the lumbar to the toes. Both pathways have several treatment options that often prove highly successful. Patients often feel temporal relief from chiropractic care, physical therapy, or topical treatments. If surgical intervention is recommended, it is best to proceed for long term benefit and function.
Surgery is not always the best option. In less developed forms of spine pains, the following might be explored:
- Wearing a brace (neck / thoracic / lumbar specific braces) especially when active will alleviate some pressure on the joints and discs in the spine.
- Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen can relieve pain. Glucosamine supplements and calcium might be added to diet.
- Steroid Injections
- One of the most successful methods to alleviate pain symptoms for longer periods are Transforaminal Epidural Injections (TFE) and Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection (LESI). The option of having these injections depends greatly on the patient’s overall health and any outstanding concerns, such as diabetes. Both injections are guided using diagnostic imaging to place the steroid at the origin of pain.
- Physical Therapy
- Exercising the muscles involved in the joint will strengthen the system as a whole, placing less stress on any specific point.
In more advanced forms of cervical and lumbar pain surgical treatment might be considered. After diagnosis and proper proposed protocol, patient will be educated on the suggested procedure. After conservative treatments have failed, and the correct procedure is evaluated, surgery will then be performed followed by physical therapy and rehabilitation.
Common procedures include:
- lumbar and cervical disc fusions
What Happens Without Treatment?
Without treatment, pain symptoms may gradually lessen overtime. However, in many cases if the injury requires surgical intervention, but is left untreated, the pain symptoms may worsen. If the structure of the anatomical part becomes affected due to the prolonged waiting to have surgery, a more advanced procedure may become necessary.
- Reduce force on lower back and neck
- When exercising or running, it is often much easier on the lower extremity joints to do so on a soft surface (e.g. grass, rubberized track). Also, avoid direct blows to trunk of body.
- Practice safe form with joint movements
- When lifting a heavy object or doing squats, bend the knee no more than a safe degree (90 degrees), to prevent damage and strain to lower back.
- Take Supplements
- Arthritis is indiscriminate. Taking Glucosamine chondroitin has proven effective in promoting healthy joint cartilage and spacing.
- Practice safe athletic movements
- The most common injuries to the neck and back are strains and sprains. This is often caused by an improper form when lifting weights, putting excess stress on the discs, causing possible herniation. It is recommended that athletes practice safe weight lifting regiments.