Understanding lumbago

Lumbago is a general term for low back pain. The lumbar (lower) region of the spine is the most common area for back pain to develop in adults. It is estimated that a majority of the population will experience this type of back pain at one point in their lives. Acute lumbago is often caused by muscle strain or ligament sprain and is generally self-resolving over time. However, some patients suffering from lumbago may have lasting and chronic pain, caused by underlying spine conditions.

Possible causes of lumbago

Living with lumbago can greatly reduce a patient’s overall quality of life. With symptoms such as pain, tingling, mobility problems and muscle weakness, patients suffering from lower back pain can often feel defeated by their symptoms. A large portion of lower back pain is caused by degenerative conditions, which develop during the natural aging process. These conditions often include:

  • Spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis is narrowing in the spinal column. This is often caused by disc material, bone spurs or other spinal elements that have moved from their original location, or developed over time. This narrowing often leads to painful compression of the spinal cord or exiting nerve roots.
  • Bulging disc. This condition is caused by discs being placed under increased pressure. As this happens, the disc may bulge and shift from its general location pressing against surrounding nerve roots or the spinal cord, causing chronic symptoms and pain.
  • Herniated disc. When spinal discs split or tear the soft inside of the disc may seep into the spinal column. This is called a herniated disc. When disc material presses against the spinal cord or surrounding nerves, patients may experience pain and other symptoms.
  • Sciatica. Symptoms due to compression of the sciatic nerve are called sciatica. This can cause radiating pain and symptoms.
  • Facet disease. During the natural aging process, the facet joints, which are covered in cartilage, begin to degenerate. This is called facet disease, also known as arthritis of the spine.
  • Foraminal stenosis. A form of spinal stenosis, foraminal stenosis is the narrowing of the exit of the foramen. When the nerves that exit through this canal are compressed, patients will experience chronic pain and symptoms.
  • Bone spurs. Bone spurs are growths that develop during the aging process. Though these are asymptomatic on their own, when they develop too close to the spinal cord or surrounding nerve roots they may cause compression, resulting in pain or other symptoms.
  • Annular tear. Annular tears are small tears or rips in the discs. These can cause herniation, resulting in disc material pushing into the spinal column.

Conservative treatments for lumbago

The first form of treatment generally recommend for patients with new onset of lumbago is to try conservative options. These include low-impact exercise, stretching and physical therapy. Medications and spinal injections may also be recommended.

If you are suffering from chronic pain and symptoms that are lasting after exhausting conservative treatments, Laser Spine Institute may be able to assist you in finding relief. Specializing in minimally invasive spine surgery, we offer patients an effective outpatient alternative to traditional open back procedures. To see if you may be a candidate for a procedure at one of our regional centers, ask for your free MRI review from a member of our caring team.*

Contact Laser Spine Institute today to learn more.