Lumbago: out of the blue
Unaware that anything could go wrong, you're going about your daily business, like loading the shopping into the car, for example. Suddenly a sharp pain hits your lower back. Your first thought might be: a slipped disc! But it's probably just lumbago, also called lumbalgia or acute lumbar spine syndrome.
Lumbago and its causes
In most cases, lumbago can be attributed to an extremely tense and hardened back musculature. Strained muscles or a blocked joint in the lumbar spine can also be a cause.
The trigger is often simply a careless movement or an incorrect strain on the body that has occurred during sports or in everyday activities like lifting objects, bending down, turning the torso, or getting up from the sofa.
Lumbago and its typical symptoms
- Sudden strong and stabbing pain in the lumbar region.
- Because of the heavy pain in the lower back, sufferers can hardly move or not move at all.
- As a result, the back muscles tense up which forces sufferers to adopt a position that relieves the pain. Often it's almost impossible to stretch the back completely and the patient is stuck in a forward bent position.
- This makes the back muscles tense up even more and the pain increases.
Lumbago or slipped disc?
Lumbago is an umbrella term for acute back pain. Another possible cause of the pain could be a slipped disc. But this is seldom the case. Osteoarthritis or vertebral fractures can also be a reason for lumbago, although this would also be rather exceptional.
Lumbago is extremely painful but in some cases subsides after a few days. However, it’s important to find out what is causing the lumbago.
Painkillers and muscle-relaxing medication can help patients return to their normal activities. However, such medication should only be taken on the advice of a family doctor and only for a short time.
If the pain doesn't get better even with medication and lasts longer than a week, or even gets worse, it is essential to consult a doctor to establish the causes. The same applies if the pain radiates into the legs or a tingling sensation or numbness is also felt.
Tried and tested household remedies for lumbago
Lying on the back and resting the lower legs
Acute lumbago can be helped by lying on the back and resting the lower legs on a chair or armchair.
- The legs should rest at a 90 degree angle.
- Stay there for 20 to 30 minutes.
If you can, lay your legs on a gymnastic ball. Bend and stretch your legs slightly, but let the weight of your legs rest on the ball. This relaxes the tense muscles in the back and supplies them with blood.
- Placing a hot-water bottle or a heat pad on the affected area can also ease the pain.
- In the acute phase, it's also advisable to avoid bending or rotating too much or lifting objects. However, patients shouldn't lie completely still either.
- Regular walking is good. Walking ensures that the muscles don't tense up too much and are supplied with blood.
Prevent lumbago with simple exercises
Exercise is very important to prevent lumbago as it keeps the muscles strong and supple. A strong core plays a key role: we protect our spine if we can stabilise our core muscles when performing abrupt movements or when lifting or carrying heavy loads.