Lower back pain, lumbago

Lumbago refers to a sudden, stabbing back pain that typically affects the lower back (lumbar spine). It is usually caused by muscle tension resulting from a sudden jerking movement, or improper strain on the spine.

Degenerative spinal diseases such as slipped discs or calcification of the spinal joints are risk factors for lower back pain. But psychological strain or a flu can also lead to tension in the back muscles.

Lumbago pain is usually intense and sudden. It is often triggered by a twisting motion or bending over. The pain is localised in the lumbar region of the spine and accompanied by tension and hardening of the back muscles. The pain and tension severely restricts the movement of the back. Often the person can barely straighten their back.  If there is a slipped disc in the spine, this can irritate the nerve roots and the pain can radiate down the leg along the sciatic nerve. This condition is known as sciatica. A prolapsed disc can also cause sensory disorders in the leg.

Lumbago is typically diagnosed on the basis of its characteristic symptoms. Generally an x-ray examination of the spine is also carried out, in order to detect possible degenerative spinal diseases.

The treatment of lower back pain involves reducing the pain and muscle tension. This is achieved through pain relieving medication and physical measures such as heat treatments or massage. Occasionally acupuncture or electrostimulation are also used.

After the acute pain has subsided, it is advisable to do stretching and relaxation exercises. Targeted muscle training and learning how to correctly lift heavy loads can help to prevent lumbago.