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Lumbar Disc Pain

Definition:

Lumbar sprain, spinal stenosis, disc herniation and different degenerative spinal disorders can all cause pain in the lumbar region of your back.

Causes:

Typically, lumbar pain is associated with activities that increase the pressure within the intervertebral disc (called intradiscal pressure). Sitting, bending forward, coughing and sneezing can increase low back pain. Leg pain caused by pinching of the nerves in the low back (called radiculopathy) may also accompany low back pain; especially while sitting, standing or walking. Arthritis can also cause low back pain.

Symptoms:

Symptoms can vary widely depending on the cause of your low back pain. Strains and sprains might cause muscle spasms, stiffness and cramping. Nerve pressure or trauma may cause tingling, numbness, weakness or pain in the legs or feet. Pain caused by arthritis may be worse over time, long lasting, and generally worst in the morning or after a long period of inactivity. Arthritis may also cause pain in the hips.

Treatment:

For the first four to six weeks, treatment typically includes a combination of therapies, which may include:

  • Physical therapy, exercise and gentle stretching
  • Ice and heat therapy
  • Chiropractic manipulation
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or narcotic medications for pain
  • Oral steroids or epidural injections to decrease inflammation

Depending on the root cause, surgery may be considered if severe pain and decreased function continue after trying conservative treatments. For instance, for multiple recurrences of disc herniation, a fusion surgery may be considered to stop disc motion and remove disc material.

Back pain can be caused by a wide range of conditions. Get information about back pain, lower back pain, neck pain, and sciatica, and learn about back pain causes, treatments, and medications.
South Sound Physical & Hand Therapy Pain Guide