The lumbar spine or lower back begins at the first lumbar vertebra (bone of the spine) and continues to the fifth lumbar located just above the tailbone or sacrum. The lumbar vertebrae are separated by discs that cushion the bones and allow a full range of motion. Tendons and ligaments connect the muscles to the lumbar spine and secure the spinal segments to each other respectively. Finally, each level of the low back emits a pair of nerves, one on each side. Any of these structures can be injured or diseased leading to pain and disability. Low back pain is one of the most common health problems in the country—up to 90% of all adults will experience low back pain.
Many common low back conditions that have been successfully treated at Columbus Physical Medicine Center are listed below:
- Lumbar joint degeneration (OA of the spine)
- Lumbar disc degeneration
- Lumbar disc bulge/herniation
- Lumbar stenosis (crowded nerves due to OA)
- Lumbar foraminal stenosis (pinched nerves)
- Lumbar spondylolisthesis (lumbar spine ligament damage)
- Lumbar sprain/strain (acute injury i.e., whiplash)
- Lumbar inflammation (usually due to inflammatory diseases like RA, Lupus, etc.)
- Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Sciatica and Drop Foot
- Muscle syndromes (psoas, piriformis, Maigne’s Syndrome, etc.)
- Pain from scoliosis
- Pelvic and sacrum (tailbone) misalignment
- Sacroiliac joint pain
Low Back Pain Myths
- “Almost all low back pain goes away on its own.”
Up to 20% of low back pain cases become chronic unless treated. The earlier the treatment…the better the outcome.
- “Exercise or physical therapy should be used first.”
Numerous studies show exercise aggravates many low back conditions even though it is a great way to stabilize the spine AFTER pain relief is achieved.
- “Over the counter pain killers should be used as needed.”
OTC pain killers are one of the biggest causes of side-effects to the digestive tract, liver, and kidneys---and they do not address the root cause of the problem.
- “Surgery is the only option for disc problems and spinal stenosis.”
Fortunately, surgery should never be the first option and integrated spinal care that combines X-ray guided spinal injections, chiropractic care, and physical therapy can relieve most spinal problems.
- “Low back pain is normal.”
Pain is NEVER normal! Though low back pain is common, the cause behind the pain could be simple or very complex and even life threatening. It is vital to get a thorough examination to find a solution. Our clinic has uncovered cancer, prostate problems, endometriosis, kidney stones, and aneurysms—all of which required immediate medical care. Never assume pain is normal—especially in the low back.