Low back pain (back pain): what it is, symptoms, treatment and more

Spinal pain is not a difficult condition to be found.

Many people suffer from constant discomfort, which can have different intensities, reaching debilitating levels, affecting the routine and activities of those suffering from pain.

It is estimated that 90% of the adult population has already suffered or will suffer from an episode of low back pain .


What is low back pain?

Low back pain is characterized as pain in the lower back, close to the pelvis, that is, in the lower region of the spine. Popularly, the condition is known as “pain in the bedrooms”, ” pain in the kidneys “, ” back pain ” or “Lumbago”.

These pains can extend to the front of the thighs, not far beyond the knees, and the gluteal region. It is important to note that pain does not necessarily have to follow the path of a specific nerve.

The picture is usually transient, without much prolongation. It is also worth mentioning that low back pain cannot be defined as a disease, but rather a set of symptoms in the lower back.

Understanding the anatomy of the lower back

The lower back is located in the lower back, below the rib cage and above the sacrum that connects the spine to the pelvis. Its structure has five vertebrae (L1-L5), which are the largest in the spine, and form a “C”.

Because the region is wider than the other parts of the spine, there is more space for the nerves. Because of this, lower back pain represents the biggest complaints, since this area is the one that supports most of the body’s movements and weight.

In addition, it is commonly where people put the most pressure, which consequently forces muscles, discs and ligaments.

All of these factors can create repetitive trauma that damages the lower back.

Types of low back pain

In clinical terms, there are two types of low back pain, or low back pain, which vary according to their duration:

Acute low back pain

This is the most common form of low back pain, which can last for four to six weeks. Acute low back pain usually affects younger people and has no definite factor, occurring, for the most part, right after physical exercise due to overexertion.

Chronic low back pain

With a different duration of the acute condition, chronic low back pain usually lasts approximately 12 weeks and mostly affects people over 35 years of age. Its origin is due to the inflammation of some nerve in the spine.

Unlike what is thought, it is not so common to worsen the acute condition.

Is lower back pain back pain?

Yes. The pains that affect the lower part of the spine, that is, the lower back, are called low back pain.

This lower region of the spine is affected by pain, often due to posture, excess pressure or weight in the region. Due to poor posture, the lumbar region is one of the points very affected by pain.

Causes of low back pain

Predominantly, the main causes of low back pain are postural problems , whether to sit, stand or carry heavy objects. Daily activities that overload the joints of the vertebrae or spine can also cause low back pain.

Other influencing factors are:

  • Infection or inflammation;
  •  Arthrosis;
  • Herniated disc;
  • Slipping of vertebrae;
  •  Osteoporosis;
  • Canal stenosis;
  • Sports injuries;
  • Traumas by remains;
  • Compression of nerve roots;
  • Ankylosing spondylitis;
  • Cancer;
  • Injury to structures in the lumbar;
  • Muscle and ligament stretching;
  • Degenerative disc disease;
  • Joint dysfunction;
  • Deformity;
  • Emotional factors.

How to prevent low back pain from becoming chronic?

There are countless preventive measures for the worsening of acute low back pain:

  • Correct the posture, especially in the way of sitting;
  • Protect your spine, lie down or sit down when exercising with weights;
  • Avoid carrying overload when transporting objects;
  • Don’t be bent too long;
  • When lowering yourself on the floor, bend your knees and do not bend your spine;
  • Avoid sleeping on an excessively soft or hard mattress.

Risk groups for lower back pain

Because most cases are related to errors during activities that require some physical effort, every person with an active life can suffer from low back pain. However, athletes should be more careful, as an error in the “cushioning” of the impacts from the lower back, due to its greater activity in relation to other groups, can favor the onset of pain.

People with impaired immune systems should also take extra care, as a simple inflammation can lead to low back pain.

Symptoms of low back pain

Symptoms may vary according to their origin and are usually differentiated by the type of pain.

The main complaints related to the condition are:

Constant pain in the lower back

In general, this pain is described as massive and intense, rather than local burning or stinging. It may be accompanied by muscle spasms, muscle mobility and pain in the hip region.

Tingling or numbness in the buttocks, thighs and feet

In some cases, low back pain is accompanied by an acute stinging, numbness or tingling sensation, directed at the buttocks, thighs, legs and feet. This pain that extends to the foot is also known as sciatica . Sciatica is caused by inflammation or damage to the sciatic nerve and is commonly felt on only one side of the body.

Pain worsens after waking up or after a long period of sitting

Reports show that in some cases pain crises are more intense after waking up or sitting for a long time. In the first case, this pain is caused due to stiffness for long periods of rest, decreased blood flow or characteristic of the mattress and pillow. In the second, it has its origin due to the pressure on the discs of the column.

Walking and stretching can relieve low back pain quickly in both situations, but sitting back can make the symptoms return.

Pain that changes with position

Depending on the source of the pain, it may be more comfortable to stay in some positions.

Bending over, for example, can relieve the feeling of discomfort rather than walking upright.

Other symptoms include:

  • Muscle contractions;
  • Limitation of movements of the hips and pelvis;
  • Discomfort to walk;
  • Difficulty sleeping (in chronic cases);
  • Depression (in chronic cases);
  • Anxiety (in chronic cases).

Symptoms of low back pain by location

The five vertebrae in the lower back are more prone to damage and injury due to the fact that they support a large weight of the upper body. Therefore, the symptoms of low back pain can also change according to the affected region:

  • L3-L4: pain in the front of the thigh, with the possibility of tingling or numbness. Although less common, neurological pain or symptoms can extend to the foot;
  • L4-L5: pain typically known as sciatica, which affects the back of the thigh and possibly the calf, combined with axial low back pain;
  • L5-S1 (connection point between lumbar and sacrum): pain usually caused by joint problems or by the compression of a nerve root. It is commonly sciatica pain.

Knowing how to differentiate these symptoms can help a more accurate diagnosis regarding the origin of low back pain.

When should I see a doctor?

Acute low back pain happens suddenly, often after a sports injury or weightlifting, and usually lasts less time. However, if the pain does not improve within 72 hours and is accompanied by some symptoms, seek medical help immediately.

Such symptoms include:

  • Loss of bowel or bladder control;
  • Leg weakness;
  • Fever;
  • Pain when coughing or urinating;
  • Severe back pain after a fall, injury or trauma;
  • Weight loss unrelated to diets or lifestyle changes;
  • Severe abdominal pain.

How is low back pain diagnosed?

In approximately 90% of cases, low back pain is diagnosed only by performing a physical examination and conversation between doctor and patient. During the consultation, some procedures may be performed, such as: palpation, neurological test, reflex test, range of motion test and leg elevation test.

If necessary, the doctor may also order some diagnostic imaging tests, such as MRI, simple radiography or computed tomography.

The entire evaluation is performed by the general practitioner, however, if necessary, follow-up by professionals with other specializations may be requested, which vary according to the cause and treatment of low back pain.

Diagnosis in children and adolescents

Since it is not so common in adolescents and children, it is very important to follow up with a rheumatologist . The professional will identify the cause of low back pain and its possible complications, in addition to working to prevent the problem.

Low back pain cure?

The vast majority of low back pain is curable. However, there are cases where pain can be controlled and alleviated, but the problem of origin is not solved.

What is the treatment for lower back pain?

Before starting treatment, it is necessary to identify the cause of this condition. Then, the doctor will determine which treatment will be most effective, also focusing on prevention.

In recurrent cases of low back pain, the doctor may request a follow-up by a physiotherapist in order to reduce and even eliminate recurrence of occurrences.

Alternative treatment

According to the clinical diagnosis, some therapies can assist in the treatment of low back pain. Being them:

  • Stretching: aims to improve the physical condition and flexibility of the body;
  • Physiotherapy: aims to restore strength and muscle function through exercises;
  • Acupuncture: with the aid of needles inserted in specific points of the body, pain relief occurs, as well as the treatment of disorders;
  • Meditation: helps to reduce the sensation of pain and can reduce depression, anxiety and sleep problems, which commonly occur with chronic low back pain;
  • Therapeutic massage: relieves muscle spasms and increases blood flow to the lower back, accelerating healing and bringing nutrients and oxygen to damaged muscles;
  • RPG: technique dedicated to teaching the correct positioning of sitting and breathing, improving posture;
  • Chiropractic: therapy that performs different maneuvers in order to improve mobility and reduce stiffness, discomfort or pain.

Read more: Therapeutic massage: what it is, types and benefits

It is worth mentioning that treatments that include sudden movements, such as chiropractic and GPR, should not be performed in the acute phase of low back pain, due to the risk of pressure on the nerves to aggravate the pain. Therefore, the doctor should always be consulted before adopting any alternative treatment.

Read more: Chiropractic: What is it and how much does it cost?


In most cases, surgery is the patient’s choice, especially when low back pain affects functional abilities. However, it is worth taking into account the opinion of the professional who accompanies the treatment.

In rare situations, surgical intervention is recommended, especially in cases that do not improve over a period of more than twelve weeks of non-surgical treatment.

Surgical procedures include:

  •  Arthrodesis: It consists of the fixation of neighboring vertebrae by the use of a bone bridge (graft). It is subdivided into three approaches: anterior, posterior and lateral.
  • Arthroplasty: It has a shorter recovery time compared to arthrodesis, and is performed with a mobile prosthesis.
  • Microdiscectomy: Performed frequently for the treatment of herniated discs and in cases where the patient experiences sciatica. It is a minimally invasive method that removes any fragment that compresses the spinal nerve.
  • Laminectomy: Removes part of the bone or tissue that is compressing the spinal nerve or nerve endings.

With the advancement of technology, surgical procedures are minimally invasive and have a shorter recovery time, less uncomfortable post-surgery, in addition to scars with reduced sizes compared to conventional surgery.

Medicines: what medicine to take to relieve low back pain?

Drug treatment is carried out orally with anti-inflammatories, analgesics or muscle relaxants. When the presence of pain is very strong, the medication can be administered intramuscularly or intravenously.

The drugs commonly indicated for the treatment of low back pain are:

  • AAS;
  • Advil;
  • Alginac;
  • Aspirin ;
  • Bi Profenid;
  • Celebrate ;
  • Celecoxibe;
  • Ketoprofen ;
  • Cyclobenzaprine ;
  • Dexalgae ;
  • Diclofenac Cholestyramine ;
  • Flanax;
  • Flotac ;
  • Infralax ;
  • Mioflex A;
  • Miosan ;
  • Miosan Caf ;
  • Mirtax ;
  • Muscular ;
  • Paco;
  • Profenid;
  • Torsilax ;
  • Tylex .


NEVER self-medicate or stop using a medication without first consulting a doctor. Only he will be able to tell which medication, dosage and duration of treatment is the most suitable for his specific case. The information contained in this website is only intended to inform, not in any way intended to replace the guidance of a specialist or serve as a recommendation for any type of treatment. Always follow the instructions on the package insert and, if symptoms persist, seek medical or pharmaceutical advice.

Which anti-inflammatory for pain in the lumbar spine?

Anti-inflammatories can be indicated in some cases of pain in the lumbar spine, being among the most used class of drugs to combat low back pain.

Substances like ibuprofen , diclofenac and naproxen can be effective in alleviating pain, but always under medical guidance.

Injection for low back pain

There are some analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs that act in the same way, fighting pain and inflammation. However, its administration is through intramuscular application, making the drug to be absorbed more quickly. Among the options is Dexalgen .

Home remedy: how to alleviate low back pain with natural treatment?

Some homemade measures can also be quite effective, such as:

  • Use a hot water bag for approximately 20 minutes in the area of ​​pain, with a pillow between the abdomen and the surface on which you are lying;
  • Maintain rest;
  • Preferably lie on your side, in a fetal position, with your legs curled;
  • Take hot baths, as they can provide temporary pain relief;
  • Do not perform massage in the place, when the low back pain is chronic.

Living together

Living with low back pain usually does not require much care. However, following rest during treatment is essential.

Another very important point is not to perform physical activities during the treatment of acute low back pain without the knowledge of a doctor, as these practices can aggravate the condition.

Complications: what can lower back pain cause?

Other problems may occur due to low back pain complications, despite the low percentage of progression from acute to chronic. The main complications include more severe pain.

In addition, when triggered by poor posture, low back pain can cause the loss of “cushioning” of the spine’s impacts, thus creating nerve compression and evolving into a herniated disc .

How to prevent low back pain?

To prevent low back pain, you can follow the following guidelines:

  • Perform regular physical activities;
  • Have a balanced and healthy diet;
  • Avoid or overweight;
  • Correct and remain alert posture;
  •  Do not remain bent for a long time;
  • When bending down, just bend your knees and not your spine.

Although low back pain should be monitored and treated. Especially in recurrent cases, monitoring with a physiotherapist and regular physical activity is of great help.

If this information was useful to you, share it with friends!