Common Injuries Involving Lower Back Pain
- Lumbar Strain/Sprain
- Lumbar Radiculopathy/Sciatica
- Spinal Stenosis/Degenerative Disc Disease
- Cauda Equina Syndrome
Back problems are the second most common concern brought to the attention of healthcare professionals. Among those back concerns seen by healthcare professionals, lumbar strain/ sprains are incredibly common. A sprain generally occurs following a fall, sudden twist or jolt to the body that dislocates a joint from its normal position.
There are also various cases in which people are prone to lumbar strains such as, an excessive lower back curvature, obesity or weak back/ abdominal muscles. Sports that involve pushing and pulling, like weight lifting or football, can also cause lumbar strain. Since all of these activities have the potential to stretch the ligaments in the back beyond their usual range of movement, causing injury.
While it might seem counterintuitive, to heal a back strain – specific stretching and strengthening exercises can be necessary. Massage therapy, physiotherapy and chiropractic care will also provide relief and help to reduce pressure on the area.
Radiculopathy is most frequently (in 90% of cases) brought on by a herniated lumbar disc. It can also be caused by compression and inflammation to a spinal nerve root in the lower back. An accident, an injury, or lifting a significant amount of weight might result in radiculopathy. Most patients, however, are unable to pinpoint a specific circumstance that caused their symptoms to start. They merely wake up one morning experiencing soreness that travels down one of their legs.
The majority of individuals are familiar with sciatica and may have even dealt with it in the past. It is described as a sharp or shooting pain which travels from your lower back down the side/ back of your leg. Sciatica itself is not a disease but rather it is a symptom of a disease, such as lumbar or sacral radiculopathy or degenerative disc disease.
A minimum of six to eight weeks of non-surgical treatment (including but not limited to physical therapy) is generally advised.
Spinal Stenosis/Degenerative Disc Disease
Spinal discs are known to degenerate over time and it is viewed as a very normal occurrence for aging individuals. Although it may be normal, age-related changes in your spine, specifically Degenerative discs changes can be extremely uncomfortable and may lead to spinal stenosis, a typically painful condition.
Spinal stenosis occurs when the spaces within the spine narrow, restricting the available space for the spinal cord and nerves. This tight space can irritate, compress or pinch the nerves, leading to the pain or sciatica you may be experiencing. For treatment to be effective we focus largely on improving and surrounding the health of the back more generally.
Treatment of the spinal nerves, vertebral bones, joints, and ligaments can be essential in strengthening the area and reducing pain/ discomfort.
Cauda Equina Syndrome
Cauda Equina Syndrome is a rare back condition that has a prevalence of .06 for every 100,000. It is usually a result of a massive disc injury. This can occur due to a serious car accident, have experienced a bad fall/ trauma or injury that resulted in a very intense lower back pain and an inability to move, you may be experiencing a medical emergency, and may require immediate surgery.
Some other indications of a surgical emergency can be numbness in the buttock area or groin referred to as saddle anesthesia, tingling or weakness which travels from the lower back into one or both legs as well as bladder or bowel difficulties. This may be a case of cauda equina syndrome. Nonetheless, if you are having bladder or bowel complications and abnormal pelvic area sensations then you should not hesitate to go to the hospital immediately to have it examined. Cauda Equina syndrome can be dangerous as it may cut off sensation and movement and potentially leave the nerve roots that control the function of the bladder and bowel vulnerable to damage.
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Are you looking for lower back pain treatment in Midtown Toronto or Scarborough? Our injury rehabilitation clinics are conveniently located at Bloor & Dufferin in Toronto or Eglinton & Kennedy Rd in Scarborough.
At Toronto Physio Therapy, we offer physiotherapy, chiropractic care, massage therapy, acupuncture, and other injury rehabilitation services that are covered by your health insurance.