What is Lumbago?

Lumbago is a general term used to describe pain in the lumbar region, or lower back. Lumbago can occur in any age group, but is common among younger people who engage in hard physical work and also among people of retirement age.

What are the Symptoms of Lumbago?

The main warning signs to look out for, and which warrant urgent investigation by your GP, are: A sudden inability to control bladder or bowel movements. A feeling of numbness or tingling in the area of the lower back, buttocks or legs. A dull, aching pain in the lower back which is accompanied by reduced strength or muscle bulk in one or both legs.

What are the Causes of Lumbago?

Identifying the exact cause of lumbago is very difficult. It can be caused by a variety of conditions such as a slipped disc, scoliosis (deformation of the natural curvature of the spine), osteoporosis (brittle bone disease) or, more rarely, by tumours or infection in the spinal area. It is usually only possible to pinpoint the exact cause of lumbago in about 30% of cases. The majority of those where another cause is not found are believed to be due to muscle sprain.

Traditional Medical Treatments for Lumbago

There are a number of practical steps which can be taken at home to reduce back pain. These include: The use of painkillers or anti-inflammatory tablets to relieve the pain and relax the muscles. Staying active. Resting for long periods of time is not helpful for those with back pain, so it is important to get on with your life within the limits of your pain. Gentle exercise is beneficial, especially swimming in a warm swimming pool. Developing good posture and having a firm, supportive chair and your worktop / desk at the correct height. Resting and sleeping on a very firm, flat surface (some people actually sleep on the floor!). Lumbago or backache is very rarely caused by a serious illness and will usually right itself within a matter of days or weeks, so try not to get too anxious or upset about it.

Traditional Medical Treatments for Lumbago

Osteopathy and chiropractic treatments as well as acupuncture can all be used in the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions such as lumbago. Herbal pain medication such as arnica gel or devil’s claw can be used.

If you suffer from lumbago, you can help yourself by:

  • Regular gentle exercise such as walking or swimming
  • Try to ensure you are not carrying excess weight
  • Reduce the amount of acid-forming foods in your diet
  • Reduce the stress or manage it better as stress will only increase tension in your muscles
  • Be aware of your posture and improve your posture whilst sitting or standing
  • Be careful when you lift heavy objects.