Chronic back pain

Causes and treatment options

Chronic low back pain is one of the most common conditions in Germany. It is estimated that more than half of the German population suffers from back pain at least once a year. People of all ages are affected.

The causes of chronic low back pain are varied. Back pain usually begins with an acute event such as overexertion, an incorrect movement, or acute lumbago. With targeted treatment of the acute pain in the lumbar region those affected are usually pain-free quite quickly.

Stress, lack of exercise, incorrect postures, excessive strain due to demanding physical activities, muscle injuries that have not healed or herniated discs are some of the causes of chronic pain in the lumbar region. Chronic back pain also often develops after lumbago. In case of lumbago, a severe, piercing pain suddenly shoots into the lumbar spine, and can radiate well into the legs. Paralysis and numbness in the legs as well as restricted movement can accompany this pain. Those affected will not be able to straighten themselves up from the position they are in at that moment. All muscles of the lumbar spine are tensed up in spasm. The occurring pain, in turn, increases the tension, leading to chronic pain in the lower back.

Chronic pain in the lumbar region

Physicians define chronic pain as pain persisting for longer than 12 weeks or occurring on more than half the days of a year.

Chronic pain can develop into a separate condition. In this context, the term “memory of pain” is often used. The pain becomes independent, and remains regardless of the causes. This means back pain becomes a constant burden of everyday life, significantly affecting people’s emotional wellbeing and quality of life. It is therefore all the more important to see a doctor when you experience acute back pain, even if it occurs only once, and start treatment right away.

If back pain is more frequent, or very severe, a medical examination is important to determine the cause and reduce the pain. In case of accompanying symptoms such as numbness or paralysis in the legs, as well as urination or bowel movement problems, you should see a doctor right away.

How to diagnose chronic back pain

Different diagnostics can be used to determine the causes of chronic pain in the lumbar region. The basis for any diagnosis is a comprehensive conversation with the doctor where your symptoms are discussed, followed by a physical examination. Depending on the type and duration of the back pain, imaging techniques such as ultrasound, X-rays, CT, MRI or blood tests are used.

Treatment of low back pain

In order to quickly and effectively reduce pain, painkillers are administered. Additionally, exercise, heat treatments, and physiotherapy will also help reduce symptoms.

Bed rest is no longer generally recommended in all cases of lumbar pain. Only if the pain is very severe and dependent on movement, bed rest of a maximum of four days is prescribed.

As a basic rule, physical movement should be resumed as quickly as possible to loosen muscle tension. Physiotherapists start the treatment with targeted exercises as well as massages, and guide those affected in the movement. In many cases, appropriate pain therapy is necessary for people to even start moving again, thus significantly contributing to a positive treatment course.

How to prevent back pain

The most important aspects in the case of chronic back pain are pain medication, movement, and physiotherapy. People who suffer from back pain can do a lot themselves, too, to remain pain-free in the long run.

Physical activities should be embedded regularly into the day to build and strengthen muscles. This is particularly important because a sedentary lifestyle, demanding physical activities, and monotonous movements significantly contribute to the development of chronic back pain in the lumbar region.

In addition to regular exercise, we recommend building small units of activity into everyday life – for example cycling to work, or taking the stairs rather than the elevator.

A change of dietary habits to reduce weight can help in the case of existing overweight in order to exclude another risk factor for back pain.

Stress reduction, a correct sitting posture at work, and back-friendly lifting and carrying are other factors to help prevent back pain effectively.

Pain relief and prevention using back orthoses

Medical back orthoses can effectively support the treatment of chronic back pain in the lumbar region, and prevent recurring pain.

Back orthoses such as LordoLoc and LumboLoc by Bauerfeind relieve and stabilize the lumbar spine.

Using a particularly thin construction that is comfortable to wear, the LordoLoc stabilizing orthosis stabilizes the lumbar spine. The orthosis features two straps, and fits snuggly to the lower back. Corset stays are integrated in the area of the lumbar spine. These lightweight stainless steel stays support the back muscles when they cannot be sufficiently activated. The back orthosis offers a high degree of wearing comfort and is easy to put on.

The LumboLoc stabilizing orthosis straightens the lumbar spine, and relieves the intervertebral discs. For this, aluminum stays that can be adjusted individually are built into the back of the orthosis. At the front, Velcro fastening allows individually adjustable pressure on the lumbar spine. LumboLoc is easy to put on, comfortable to wear, and always fits perfectly, thanks to the individual adjustment options.