Lumbago is a general term for lower back pain, but it’s rarely used by physicians because it is so broad and does not represent a specific condition. The lower back is made up of muscles, ligaments, bones, joints, spinal discs and nerves — any of which can be the root cause of painful symptoms in the lower back. You can learn more about the range of disorders related to the lower back by visiting our lumbar degenerative disc disease page.

Possible lumbago causes and symptoms

Lower back pain can be due to a range of causes, from a minor muscle strain due to lifting a heavy object, to spinal arthritis that is caused by nothing more than the natural aging process. These are some of the most common underlying causes of lumbago:

  • Traumatic injuries, including fractures, sprains and strains
  • Age-related deterioration of the spine that can cause conditions like spondylosis or a herniated disc
  • Simple strains or sprains from repetitive motion, like moving boxes or playing golf

Besides pain, lumbago symptoms can include tingling, numbness and weakness. Sometimes, lower back pain from degenerative spine conditions can also cause shooting pain into the hips, buttocks and legs. This related condition is called sciatica because symptoms occur when the long sciatic nerve becomes compressed. For an in-depth look at this lumbago-related issue, visit our sciatica overview page.

Treatment options for lumbago

If you have been dealing with persistent lower back pain for a period of days to a week, it is a good idea to consult your primary care physician for a diagnosis. In many situations, lumbago can be successfully treated with an initial course of conservative treatments. Some commonly prescribed options include:

  • Rest
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises
  • Over-the-counter pain medicine
  • Application of hot or cold packs

However, if the cause of your lumbago is a degenerative spine condition and your painful symptoms are still affecting your life after weeks and months of conservative treatments, then your physician may start to discuss surgical options with you.

When considering surgery, it is critical to understand the full range of treatments available to you so that you have the best chance of finding lasting relief and resuming an active life. The minimally invasive spine surgery performed by Laser Spine Institute is an option that can avoid many of the risks and issues that go with traditional open back surgery. We can treat a range of spinal conditions with our minimally invasive decompression or stabilization procedures. Our team of caring professionals wants to help you get your life back from lower back pain.