HomeHealth A-ZWhat is Lumbago? - Causes, symptoms, and treatment

What is Lumbago? – Causes, symptoms, and treatment

Lumbago is an old term that refers to lower back discomfort due to various causes. It refers to lower back pain that could be caused by anomalies in the spine, joints, muscles, or nerves around the lower back region. Lumbago affects a substantial percentage of adults around the world and can be acute or chronic, causing either a persistent, agonizing pain or a sudden, sharp pain. It can cause restrictions in mobility ranging from mild to severe.

What is Lumbago?

Lumbago is an acute or persistent discomfort in the lower back that can afflict anyone. The causes for lumbago include but are not restricted to – back injury, herniated (slipped) disk, obesity, weak back muscles, spasms, and tumors (both benign and malignant) in the spinal area.

Many patients with lower back pain tend to be individuals who work for long hours at occupations that require a lot of bending and heavy lifting. Patients who live a sedentary lifestyle, maintain bad posture, and do not exercise regularly are also susceptible to lumbago. Lumbago can also be caused by an underlying ailment, such as degenerative disc disease or arthritis.

What are the common symptoms of Lumbago?

Here is a checklist of common symptoms exhibited by patients suffering from Lumbago:

  • Lumbago is essentially a term which covers an umbrella of painful sensations that afflict the lower back area. Those suffering from lumbago may suffer from various types of lower back pains which fall broadly into the below-mentioned categories – 
    • Sharp and acute
    • Dull and persistent
    • Stabbing
    • Burning 
    • Non specific 

When should you seek medical attention? 

Most cases of back pain should improve over time with self-care and home treatment, possibly within a range of few days to a couple of weeks. 

However, if your back pain persists for longer periods, or if you’re suffering from the symptoms mentioned below, it is highly recommended that you consult your Apollo doctor without delay:

  • You are experiencing stabbing pain with no decrease in the intensity of the pain even after sufficient rest.
  • The discomfort radiates down to hips or one or both legs, and especially if the pain spreads below the knee.
  • Your pain medication no longer provides sufficient relief.
  • The pain worsens with the passage of time.
  • The lower back pain is followed by an inexplicable reduction in your weight.

What are the causes of Lumbago?

 Lumbago can be caused by a variety of reasons, the most common of which are strenuous activities which overload the back muscles, improper lifting techniques wherein you lift heavy loads with an improper body posture. Osteoarthritis and spondylosis (spinal arthritis) can also be factors which result in lumbago.

A slipped or herniated disc, osteoporosis, spinal stenosis or nerve compression, scoliosis, and malignant or benign or malignant  spinal tumors are all possible reasons why you might be suffering from lower back pain.

What are the common risk factors that can lead to Lumbago?

Back pain can affect anyone, including children and teenagers. The following factors may increase your chances of having lower back pain:

  • Age – Back discomfort becomes increasingly common as you age. You become even more susceptible to back pain as you age over 30 years.
  • Lack of exercise – Risk of lumbago increases if the patient has weak, unused muscles in the back and abdomen due to lack of physical exercise.
  • Obesity – In case of obese patients, the lower back is put under additional strain along with weakening of back muscles due to limited physical activity. This makes them prone to lower back pain.
  • Diseases – Patients are at a higher risk of lumbago if they are suffering from certain types of arthritis and cancer.
  • Incorrect technique used when lifting – People who employ incorrect lifting techniques such as using their back instead of legs to lift heavy loads are more prone to lumbago.
  • Psychological problems – Back pain also appears to be more common in people who suffer from depression and anxiety.
  • Smoking – Back pain is more common among smokers. Smoking reduces blood flow to the spine, increasing the risk of osteoporosis.

What are the treatment options available?

 Lumbago treatment differs depending on several factors, including the patient’s age, weight, fitness level, symptoms, severity of pain and more. Treatment options include the following:

  • Hot or cold compresses for brief lower back pain alleviation 
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Mild stretches and exercises as suggested by your doctor
  • Spinal manipulation and chiropractic care
  • Surgical procedures
  • Usage of external devices such as back supports
  • Weight-loss 
  • Acupuncture and yoga

For more detailed information on the treatment options available to cure lumbago,

you can call 1860-500-1066 to schedule an appointment at Apollo Hospitals.

How can you prevent lumbago?

By improving your physical condition, leading a healthy lifestyle, and practicing good body posture and mechanics, you may be able to avoid or prevent back discomfort.

You can follow these easy tips to keep you back healthy and strong:

  • Exercise – Low-impact aerobics, or exercises that don’t strain or jolt your back, can help you build back strength and endurance, as well as improve muscle tone. Swimming and walking are both excellent options to maintain a resilient and strengthened back. 
  • Strengthen and stretch your muscles – Exercises that build your core, such as those which focus on abdominal and back muscle strengthening, prepare the muscles around the spine to operate together like a natural corset or support for your back.
  • Maintain a healthy body mass index (BMI) – Obesity puts a burden on the spinal muscles. If you’re overweight, losing weight can help you avoid lower back pain.
  • Stop smoking -Smoking raises your chances of developing low back discomfort.

Avoid activities that involve sudden twisting or bending or lifting heavy loads manually.

  • Maintain proper posture – Do not slouch. Try and keep the pelvis in a neutral position. 
  • The right chair – For those with a desk job, choose a seat with a swivel base, armrests, and good  lower back support, if possible. Maintain a level posture with your knees and hips. Alter the positions at least once every half-hour.
  • Lift with caution – Use your legs and maintain a straight posture when lifting heavy items. 

A Note from Apollo Hospitals

Lumbago is a common back ailment that adversely affects muscles, nerves, and bones in the spinal area. The intensity of the pain can range from a faint aching to a strong stabbing sensation. Acute lower back pain usually lasts lesser than six weeks, whereas sub-chronic pain lasts anywhere between six to twelve weeks, and chronic pain lasts for over twelve weeks. Symptoms of lower back pain usually improve after a few weeks, with 40–90% patients fully recovering within six weeks. 

However, if you’re lower back pain lasts for over six weeks, do not be alarmed! Medication and surgery can be used to address the issue. The first step in determining the severity of your affliction is to contact your Apollo doctor. Apollo specialists will determine the best therapy for your lower back pain and help improve your quality of life based on the diagnosis.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is lower back pain the same as lumbago?

Lumbago is a term used for mild to severe lower back pain. Acute or chronic pain can affect both young and old individuals. 

How is Lumbago diagnosed?

A multitude of tests and techniques are employed by doctors and medical experts to determine the type of back pain you are suffering from:

  • Physical examinations, including nerve function and range of motion tests
  • Blood and urine tests
  • X-rays to check your bones and tissue health
  • Computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan to confirm your symptoms and pinpoint the source of your pain.

Do most cases of lower back pain require surgery?

False. In most instances of lower back pain, surgery is not required. Drugs that relieve pain (analgesics) and reduce inflammation, as well as restoration of correct function and strength through physical therapy are alternative methods of treatment that are usually sufficient to make a full recovery.

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