Low back pain or lumbago (lombalgie) refers to pain experienced in the lumbar region of the back. More than 80% of the population suffers from low back pain at one time or another. Low back pain most often occurs in people between 30 and 60 years old but can affect anyone at any age.
Symptoms of low back pain
Severe pain in the lumbar area after activity, sudden movement, or heavy lifting. The lumbar area is the part of the back where the 5 lumbar vertebrae are situated. See illustration:
While pain that is experienced in the lower back can be excruciating and debilitating, in 90% of cases it is a condition that is considered benign. However, an exact diagnosis is often difficult for the physician so X-Rays and MRI tests are usually ordered.
Causes of low back pain
Possible causes are multifactorial and include, but are not limited to the following :
Muscle, tendon or ligament strain, caused by sudden movement or lifting a heavy object. People in poor physical form and those doing excessive physical work are most at risk.
Degenerative disc disease, causing shrinkage or wearing down of the gel-like disk material between each vertebrae, due to aging and/or overuse.
This is the rupture of the vertebral disk causing compression on a nearby the nerve root, thus leading to pain. Again, those in poor physical shape and those doing physical work such as lifting and twisting are most at risk as are people who are overweight, pregnant or who suffer from degenerative disc disease.
There are 3 categories of low back pain
1. Acute low back pain is characterized by intense lumbar pain lasting less than a month yet often necessitating leave from work. Acute low back pain, in 90% of the cases, will resolve on its own in less than 4 weeks.
2. Sub acute low back pain: Persistant pain in the lumbar region lasting beyond 4 weeks and up to 3 months. Because of its potential to become chronic, sub acute low back pain needs to be investigated and tended to.
3. Chronic low back pain: Constant pain for more than three months. Appropriate mesures need to be taken to resolve this pain. Approximately 5-8% of low back pain becomes chronic.
Low back pain can be a complex medical condition and treating it by conventional means alone is rarely effective. A global approach, including acupuncture is highly recommended for low back pain, especially if it has gotten to the chronic stage.
The WHO, (World Health Organization) recommends acupuncture for the successful treatment of low back pain or lumbago and this is a condition that I have often successfully treated at Acupuncture Mont-Tremblant. In one recent case , I helped a 70 year young, very fit man who complained of acute, intense low back pain following heavy lifting 3 days earlier. After lying comfortably for 30 minutes with a few needles in his hand and leg, he reported a 60 % improvement. He called me the next morning to report a 100% recovery.
Acupuncture Mont-Tremblant : 645 rue du Moulin, Mont-Tremblant Quebec, J8E 2V1 819.681.8228