There is more than one cause for lower back pain. It can be caused by degeneration of the intervertebral discs or by a nerve impingement between the vertebral bodies. Treating lower back pain focuses on identifying the cause of the pain and then devising an appropriate treatment plan to provide a remedy for lower back pain.
How to relieve lower back pain? Physical therapy for lower back pain has proven to be an effective treatment of the symptoms and underlying causes of lower back pain. With a thorough managed physical therapy exercise regimen, the muscles and anatomic structures surrounding the lower back are strengthened, providing additional support to the spine and relieving pressure from the spinal nerves.
The lower back is made up of the lumbar spine, an alignment of bones called vertebrae that bear the weight of the torso while providing stability while walking, running, or going about the activities of daily living. Because of its location, the lumbar spine undergoes constant stress as the torso bends, turns, and rotates. The vertebrae are separated by fluid-filled discs that absorb shocks and cushion the bones.
The interior of the spinal column contains the spinal cord, part of the central nervous system connected to the brain. Electrical impulses run up and down the spinal cord. Those that run down the cord from the brain are relayed to the spinal nerves. These nerves branch out from the spine to the rest of the body to control movement. The impulses that run up the spinal cord to the brain communicate sensation, such as pain.
When the nerves that branch out from the spinal cord are pinched (the medical term is “impinged”), they register pain, signaling to the brain that something is wrong in the lumbar spine. Lumbar nerve impingement can lead to numbness and tingling in the lower extremities. It can also limit mobility as changes in posture and position further impinge the nerves and create increased pain.
There are a number of surgical and non-surgical interventions that can be performed to correct lower back pain. In cases of severe disc or vertebral degeneration, surgery may be the most effective option, either to physically alter the anatomy through shaving or reconstruction, or by introducing prosthetics, such as artificial discs or supporting metal rods. In less severe cases, properly supervised physical therapy can be the least intrusive long-lasting treatment option.