Discomfort in the lower back can be because of various reasons from damage in the muscles and conditions related to the spine to abdominal diseases. If your lower back hurts, you first need to understand the cause then afterwards administering treatment will be easier.
Possible causes of lower back pain
There are several systems in the lower back region that can cause pain:
- The musculoskeletal system. Pain can be brought about by spinal injury or overexertion and damage of muscles of the lower back.
- Nervous system. The cause of the pain can either be curvature, hernia, protrusion, neuropathy, inflammatory processes in the vertebrae or pinching of the nerves. Rarely does the nervous system cause back pain.
- Digestive system. The lower back region can cause pain that originates from the pancreas, stomach, liver, gall bladder and intestines. This can be due to condition such as pancreatitis, gastritis, stomach ulcers, poisoning and intoxication, stones in the bile ducts and other various forms of obstruction.
- The excretory and reproductive system. Lower back pain in this region can be due to diseases of the kidneys and bladder such as kidney failure, pyelonephritis, urinary stone disease and cystitis , lesions of the uterus and ovaries like cysts, fibroids and inflammation.
Which doctor to go to if your lower back hurts
The location of the region where the pain is felt the most can be used to determine where the problem is. However, all the organs in the abdominal cavity are close to each other and therefore the symptoms can be similar. The pain will be nagging and long and can surround the whole body at the waist and coccyx region. For this reason, if you are not diagnosed correctly you may be treating the wrong disease. You thus need to go to the correct specialist on time.
- Traumatologist or surgeon – If you have recently fallen, injured or exercised heavily.
- Neurologist – For acute or shooting pain in the spine, partial loss of sensitivity and mobility, feeling goose bumps on the abdomen and legs as well as if the pain in the spine increases with long immobility or changes in the position of the body.
- Gastroenterologist – If you have long pulling pain mainly on one side of the lower back, pain accompanied by digestive disorders and if the pain in the lower back is accompanied by weakness and fever.
- Urologist or nephrologist – If you experience acute pain on the one hand, as well as in mild afflict pain in the lower back against the background of difficulty or very frequent urination.
- Gynaecologist – If you have lower back pain in one or both sides of the lower back accompanied by weakness and pain that increases when you move, if you are pregnant or menstruating.
You can postpone your visit to the doctor if you know the actual cause of the back pain and that the reason is not a cause fro worry. For instance, muscle fatigue from physical work can be healed without any necessary treatment and no need to visit a traumatologist.
Possible diagnosis and treatment
The diagnosis that the doctor will give out depends primarily on the symptoms presented. Firstly, the doctor will conduct an examination and ask about your state of health so that he may understand the exact cause of pain. Afterwards, depending on the symptoms you have, the doctor may direct you to:
- X-rays of the spine – This is done when you have injuries, scoliosis and hernia. Only bone tissues will be clearly visible on it, so for other diseases it will be useless.
- MRI lumbar-sacrum spine – This is done for hernia and protrusion, neuropathy, curvature, injuries and tumours. This is a very precise type of diagnosis that allows you to examine soft tissue at any depth.
- CT of the lumbar spine – This is done on the same indications, if the patient cannot undergo magnetic resonance imaging.
- Ultrasound – This is performed if you suspect diseases of the abdominal or pelvic organs. It is a completely safe examination, which can be carried out even in children, but it is possible not to consider all pathologies.
- Gastroscopy and colonoscopy – This is conducted for diseases of the digestive system. These types of examinations allow the examination of organs and immediately tissue samples are taken for analysis, if necessary.
- MRI of the abdominal and bowel organs – It is conducted for a more thorough examination of internal organs and circulatory system.
Almost all the patients who complain of back pain have underlying conditions of the spine and back muscles. Sedentary lifestyle and weight lifting often cause constant pain in the lower back, regardless of your age. Therefore, the diagnosis usually begins with examination of the back and the spinal column. If the X-ray does not show any pathologies, the doctor may direct you to undergo an extended examination of abdominal organs.
Many diseases that cause lower back pain are often treated surgically such as hernias, tumours, stones in the ducts and pancreatitis. If you experience unbearable pain ensure that you notify the doctor so that he can prescribe the right analgesics. Diseases of the spine that do not require surgery are usually treated using anti-inflammatory drugs, physiotherapy, LFC, taking a balanced diet, chondroprotectors and changes in lifestyle. In any case, the causes of the disease are specific so let the doctor prescribe the right treatment.
How to avoid lower back pain?
Leading a healthy lifestyle and doing moderate exercise will maintain the posture and health of your back for years. Ensure that you always sit and sleep in a comfortable position. If you have a sedentary job, get up regularly and warm up. If you are not a fan of sports, simply take a walk.
To prevent diseases of the internal organs, it is ideal that you monitor your diet and give up bad habits. This is true for those who have initially been diagnosed with stomach, liver, kidney and pancreatic diseases. It is also necessary to watch the clothes you wear so that the region of the lower back is always warm. This is because cold air can lead to both inflammation of the nerve and internal diseases.
As you lift weight, keep you back straight and lift the load carefully so that you do not damage muscles of the lower back. Most importantly, the moment you feel any pain without an apparent reason, ensure that you visit a doctor so that the disease can be diagnosed early when it is easier to cure.