Spondylolisthesis is the slippage of vertebrae in the spine, which can lead to a snapping sound in the lower back. It can be caused by poor posture, degenerative disc disease, and arthritis.
In most cases, the pain gets worse when you sleep, walk, or sit for long periods. You might also find that the pain is worse on one side, and may be relieved by certain movements.
Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal, which can result in pressure on nerves and other tissues. It can be caused by a number of factors, including:
Pain from spinal stenosis can feel like a dull ache or a severe pain in the lower back. The pain can be most severe when you’re just getting out of bed, or when you’re just sitting down.
Spinal stenosis can also cause numbness, tingling, and weakness in your legs.
Spinal stenosis can lead to pain and numbness in the back, hips, and legs. This can make it hard to walk, stand, or even sit up straight. It can also make it hard to walk up and down stairs.
Spinal stenosis may make it hard to feel pain when you sit, such as in a car or airplane seat, or in a recliner.
Spinal stenosis is a common cause of lower back pain. Other causes of lower back pain include:
- Arthritis in the spine or joints
- Spinal infection
- Herniated disc
- Nerve problems
- Bruising, especially in the back
What are the symptoms of lower back pain?
Lower back pain can cause you to feel pain or stiffness in the:
- Lower leg
It can also cause pain and stiffness in the:
- Lower abdomen
- Lower back
- Upper abdomen
- Upper back
Many of these symptoms can be eased with regular stretching and strengthening exercises.
When to see a doctor?
If you’re experiencing lower back pain that comes and goes, or is accompanied by other symptoms, see a doctor.
Here’s what you should do if you’re experiencing lower back pain:
- Lower back pain (pain in the lower back)
Lower back pain (pain in the lower back) is a common symptom of many conditions.
It can be caused by a number of conditions, such as:
- Spinal stenosis
- Tumors (benign or malignant)
- Bone spurs
- Spinal tumor
Lower back pain can also be brought on by conditions that don’t require treatment, such as:
- Improper posture
- Lying down in a recliner
- Sitting for extended periods
If you’re experiencing lower back pain, see a doctor.
How is lower back pain treated?
If you have lower back pain, you can try a number of strategies to ease the pain.
Some of these strategies may not be effective, and others may not work for everyone. Talk to your doctor about what’s best for you.
- Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers. These include acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil).
- Acupuncture. This is a form of alternative medicine that uses thin, sterile needles to help the body release pain-relieving chemicals.
- Physical therapy. This can help restore movement and increase flexibility in your back.
- Yoga. This type of exercise helps release endorphins, which can ease pain and tension.
Stretching can help you to feel better. Stretching can help to release tension in your tissues, which can ease your pain.
Try the following stretches:
- Knee to chest stretch
- Hamstring stretch
- Hip flexor stretch
- Lower abdominal stretch
- Lower back stretch
- Side leg stretch
- Standing stretch
Strengthening exercises can help you to recover from injury, or to regain strength and function.
You can do these exercises lying down or standing up. You can also do them while sitting or standing, but be sure to start with a light resistance.
You can do these activities:
- Sit ups
- Leg extensions
- Hamstring curls
- Chair-based exercises
- Low-impact aerobics
Massaging your lower back can help to ease pain and tension. This can help to reduce muscle spasms and improve blood flow.
- Use your fingers to apply gentle pressure to your lower back.
- Apply a light massage to your lower back.
- Hold the position for 15 to 20 seconds.
- Release the pressure slowly.
- Repeat 3 to 5 times.
- Do this as often as needed to ease your pain.
You can try OTC pain relievers for mild to moderate pain. Your doctor may prescribe stronger medication.
If your pain is severe, you may need stronger medication.
If your pain doesn’t improve, or if your pain gets worse after taking the medication, your doctor may suggest other options.
OTC medications are available in different forms, such as:
Talk to your doctor before taking these medications. They may not be suitable for you.
Medications can be expensive, so it’s important to talk to your doctor about the best options.
Other treatments may also help to relieve your pain.
You may need to wear a brace to support your back. This can ease back pain and lower your risk of injury.
You may also need to avoid certain activities that can put pressure on your spine.
Your doctor may recommend wearing a back brace to help you move around more easily.
In some cases, surgery is needed to treat spinal stenosis.
Your doctor may recommend:
- Spinal fusion surgery. This surgery involves fusing the bone and the disc.
- Disc replacement surgery. This surgery involves replacing the damaged disc with a healthy one.
You may need a back brace or other support to help you manage your pain.
The more you do, the less you’ll need.
Preventing back pain
You may be able to prevent back pain by:
- Staying active.
- Eating a healthy diet.
- Avoiding smoking.
- Eating a well-balanced diet.
- Avoiding excessive weight loss.
- Keeping your posture correct.
- Not sitting on the phone for long periods.
- Avoiding prolonged sitting.
Lower back muscle pain can be caused by a number of different factors.
If your pain is severe, you might need stronger pain relief.
Talk to your doctor about the best treatment options for you.
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