Muscle back pain is a painful sensation that affects the lower back. The disorder, very common among middle-aged both sexes, is caused by excessive tension, by a contracture or by a strain or a tear. Pain can be caused by incorrect posture, exaggerated effort or unnatural movement. It is rarely the direct consequence of a vertebral fracture, bone tumors, spinal infections or kidney stones. Based on the severity of pain, low back pain can be treated with causal and symptomatic therapy.
Muscle low back pain: the diagnosis
90% of the Italian population has suffered from muscular low back pain (or back pain) at least once. The disorder is quite common among the forties and fifties and is among the main reasons for medical consultation and absence from work. Depending on the intensity it can, in fact, be quite annoying and even disabling, compromising the quality of life.
It can manifest itself with a dull pain, a burning sensation localized in the affected part or a throbbing illness alternating with moments of remission but only apparent.
An objective examination and a thorough medical history are sufficient for the diagnosis. If they are not sufficient to offer a clear clinical picture, the doctor may require further investigation with instrumental tests, such as X-rays, magnetic resonance or CT.
How to fight back pain
Muscle low back pain should be treated based on pain. Generally, the specialist recommends combining a causal therapy (capable of acting on the cause that triggers the problem) with a symptomatic one (capable of reducing symptoms and accelerating healing).
Oral pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen) are effective for pain relief. Treatments with self-adhesive self-heating bands resolve the cause: the heat promotes vasodilation and, consequently, provides greater blood flow to the affected part.
Active rest, or the suspension of all those activities that are known to cause pain, is the best causal treatment, especially following muscle or ligament injuries. Staying in bed is essential but no longer than 2-3 days. Prolonged immobility, in fact, risks lengthening healing times.
To relieve symptoms, it may be useful to apply ice to the most affected area, a procedure to be repeated 4 to 5 times a day, for 15-20 minutes.
In cases of more intense pain, characterized by muscle spasms, it is good to proceed with decontracting massages performed by expert personnel. Local muscle relaxants are also excellent.
These remedies are normally effective to reduce the painful sensation, but if it persists over time, it is necessary to resort to special postural gymnastics sessions of stretching, flexibility and strengthening. Yoga or physiotherapy are excellent in this regard. If they do not give results, it will be necessary to switch to more complex therapeutic tools.
Natural remedies to relieve the symptoms of low back pain
Mild back pain can also be treated with natural remedies. Some medicinal plants are known for their soothing properties, among these we note:
camphor essential oil. It is particularly recommended for the treatment of muscle tears and bruises.
Ginger. The root has strong anti-inflammatory properties and acts as a natural antibiotic.
The devil’s claw. The plant is used to solve problems concerning bones, muscles and joints.
Arnica. In the form of a compress or essential oil to massage on the painful area, it is ideal for the treatment of trauma from bruises, muscle strains and back pain.
Cayenne pepper. Perfect for compresses and ointments, it treats acute muscle tension.
How to prevent low back pain
Dopo il recupero, è importante ritornare all’attività fisica in maniera graduale, evitando le sollecitazioni eccessive o ripetute del tratto basso della schiena.
Per prevenire la cronicizzazione del disturbo, è bene rinforzare i muscoli di addome e schiena. Inoltre, bisogna procedere con una sorta di rieducazione della postura e del movimento. In che modo?
Imparando a sollevare i pesi abbassandosi a terra, piegando le gambe e minimizzando lo sforzo.
Mantenendo una postura corretta da seduti, concedendosi delle brevi pause ogni 60-70 minuti durante le quali distrarsi e compiere qualche passo.
Scegliendo un materasso e un cuscino di buona qualità, in modo da assumere una posizione corretta anche mentre si dorme.