In the following, we’ll explain the cause, the symptoms and the possible treatment of lumbago.
When you suddenly experience a piercing, persistent pain in your lower back, you’re probably suffering from lumbago. The severe pain that goes along with this often causes limited mobility. People suffering from lumbago can usually not stand up straight anymore or only do so while experiencing strong pain. The cause for lumbago is rarely ever a serious one, however.
Instead, the pain is often caused by a ‘wrong’ movement. Sudden, jerky movements and carrying heavy loads in particular are triggers for lumbago. However, the cause can also be external conditions and physical or even psychological factors.
- The climate, especially wet or cold weather
- Weak back muscles
- Psychological strain such as stress, excessive work or extreme fatigue
In most cases, the pain is triggered by blocked vertebrae and tense muscles. Sensitive nerve endings can also play a role, though. The pain might occur right after the movement, but this isn’t always the case. It can take hours or even days after the movement and the resulting pain.
Severe back pain is the main symptom of lumbago. The pain often occurs on one side and can reach from the lower back all the way down into the legs. It is usually described as a piercing or stabbing pain. It’s often so strong that further movements are almost impossible. That’s why many patients adopt a hunched posture in order to alleviate the pain.
Even if the pain is severe, the cause is usually harmless. Should any of the following symptoms appear, however, you should definitely consult a doctor:
- Numbness or a tingling sensation in the legs
- Signs of paralysis
- Bladder or rectum problems (incontinence, urinating becomes difficult or occurs more frequently)
- High fever
We also advise a visit to the doctor if you suffer from a chronic illness such as diabetes or osteoporosis or if you take cortisone.
If you consult a doctor, they will first talk you through your medical history. Through a number of specific questions and your answers, the symptoms can be outlined more accurately. Afterwards, a physical examination follows. These two measures usually suffice to make a lumbago diagnosis. If your doctor suspects a slipped disc, they might further proceed with visualisation processes like X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging or computer tomography. To rule out internal organ diseases, blood and urine tests may be performed.
If lumbago has been diagnosed, there are different treatment options. For immediate easing of the pain, you can adopt a protective position by lying down on your back and propping up your legs. Your hips and knees should be flexed at a 90-degree angle for this. This position should not be held continuously, however. Instead, carefully try to move as much as possible. If this isn’t possible due to severe pain, mild pain medication can be taken, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Warmth can also help to loosen the muscles and to promote the blood circulation. If these measures don’t improve the symptoms, additional physiotherapy or manual therapy may be prescribed.
How does a lumbar support help to treat lumbago?
Lumbar supports are another possible treatment of lumbago. The bandage’s compression supports and relieves the lumbar spine which can result in an alleviation of the pain. What’s more, lumbar supports are often equipped with compression pads which have a massage effect that can help to loosen tense muscles.
Once the pain has subsided, you should take preventative measures to avoid a further occurrence of lumbago. As the reason for lumbago is usually extensive strain on the muscles, you should stretch and strengthen these.
Moreover, you should check whether your work area promotes a healthy back and make any changes necessary. It can also help to learn relaxation techniques and stress management strategies to prevent lumbago.
The following products can alleviate pain: