What Is Lumbago?
Every year millions of Americans suffer from low back pain. It can affect anyone. People working long hours, those involved in intense manual labor occupations, standing on your feet all day, carrying children around, lifting heavy objects, or sitting for too long. Um, that should pretty much cover anyone that has a pulse right now!
There are many different terms that are used when healthcare professionals talk about low back pain and it can be difficult to know which term to use, or what they all mean. Lumbago sounds serious. It is a Latin word and fortunately it isn’t as serious as it sounds - generally speaking, that is.
The term “lumbago” is used to talk about pain that stems from the lower back. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, lumbago affects 80% of the population at any given time, and it can be used to refer to back pain that is either chronic or acute.
Common Causes Of Lumbago
Quite often Lumbago occurs because of a muscle strain - one of the most common causes of low back pain. When we lift heavy objects the wrong way or overuse our lower back it can lead to pain. Lumbago can also be caused by:
There is another type of lumbago, ischemic lumbago, where there is insufficient blood flow to the back through the arteries that deliver oxygen to it. Ischemic lumbago often involves pain in the glutes (buttocks) as well as the lower back that often goes away with rest.
Difference Between Lumbago And Sciatica
If you are suffering from low back pain there is a good chance that you have either heard of, or seen in your Google search, the term ‘sciatica’. The way this term is used you can definitely be forgiven for getting lumbago and sciatica mixed up.
Lumbago can involve pain that is felt in the lower part of the back and this pain can move to the glutes, the groin, or the back of your thigh. Sciatica is a type of back pain that is characterized by pain that radiates down the sciatic nerve. This nerve runs from your lower back, down through your hips, buttocks, and legs. Sounds pretty similar, right? So how can you tell the difference between the two?
Sciatica typically only affects one side of your body, whereas lumbago can potentially affect both sides. Sciatic pain often includes feelings of numbness in the glutes, back, or legs. It also has more of a tingling feeling that radiates down the leg towards the foot.
While lumbago can also radiate through the glutes it generally doesn’t radiate down the legs and the pain remains concentrated mainly around the spine. Lumbago is, however, a fairly general term that people use to talk about low back pain, which can describe a very wide range of physical symptoms. Sciatica is more specific in nature and is therefore easier to diagnose and treat.
5 Tools To Treat Lumbago
Biofeedback is a process where information is gathered about the body and is sent to a patient (or a clinician) to help the person gain greater control and awareness over their physical responses. There are many different types of biofeedback data that you can use to help with chronic pain management and low back pain rehabilitation. Biofeedback therapy can provide a level of insight that is just not possible with visual observation or manual palpation.
What Is Biofeedback Therapy Used For?
Biofeedback therapy is often used for stroke rehabilitation, relaxation training, and pain management. It can be used to either “down-train” overactive muscles, or to “up-train” weak or paretic muscles.
When clinicians are performing biofeedback therapy there are generally two goals for treatment. The first goal is to increase the person’s awareness of their muscles, while the second goal is to help the client gain more control over their muscles.
When it comes to pain management, chronic low back pain patients tend to lack awareness as to how tense they actually are compared to people who don’t have low back pain.
One study found that CLBP patients couldn’t discriminate between high and low tension levels, and that they were 'underestimating how tense they actually were'. The authors suggested that the subjects with low back pain thought that their levels of tension were "totally normal", when in fact, they were "significantly more tense" than the group without low back pain.
Long Term Effects Of Biofeedback
When it comes to results, biofeedback training of back muscles has found to have improvements that continue to be seen even at 2.5 years after treatment! No other type of back pain treatment has shown these types of results in clinical trials. Using biofeedback to treat patients with “mild” but “chronic” back pain was even more effective than “treatment as usual” or even relaxation.
With the advancements in digital therapeutics companies, such as LivaFortis, are using biofeedback to address the underlying causes of lower back pain and bring lasting relief to clients. Combining biofeedback with technology-supported exercise therapy (TSET) has been found by researchers to improve pain, disability, and quality of life. Keep a look out for LivaFortis’s unique offering coming to market this year!
In 2016, low back pain made up 57.6 million total years lived with disability. Healthcare professionals from countries around the world have scoured all of the research and put together guidelines for managing low back pain. No matter what country you look at, low back pain guidelines unanimously recommend exercise for managing and treating low back pain - even before people take a Advil or Tylenol.
Previous advice had often been to lie down and rest to help low back pain. The new data shows that we need to do the exact opposite of this to help resolve low back pain quickly. Keeping up with normal activities and exercise is key to managing lumbago. Fortunately it doesn’t seem to matter what type of exercise you do, just as long as you do it!
Benefits Of Stretching For Back Pain
Research shows that exercise either by itself, or combined with education about low back pain, is effective in preventing low back pain, with one study finding that exercise decreased the risk of lumbago by 33%.
Exercises such as yoga, tai chi, Pilates, swimming, and walking, have all been found to help manage low back pain. So, whether you like to work out alone, or in a group, using exercise as a first line treatment can have significant benefits for your lower back pain.
The American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society both recommend using nonpharmacological treatments for managing low back pain. Complementary therapies like acupuncture and massage have become popular for treating lumbago, as well as yoga therapy.
Yoga is an ancient practice that originated in India several thousands of years ago and has been used for managing chronic pain conditions for some time now. It consists of several components including physical poses, relaxation/meditation, and breathing techniques.
The Holistic Approach To Care
A biopsychosocial approach is now the gold standard for treating chronic pain and yoga embodies much of this approach. The term “biopsychosocial” refers to a holistic approach to care that addresses mind, body, and environment. Yoga brings these elements together perfectly.
The practice of yoga helps our bodies by increasing muscle strength and improving flexibility and balance but it can also help with our sensation of pain. Recent research has found that in chronic pain patients, yoga can help reduce sensations of pain, increase pain acceptance and help with overall emotional functioning.
The ever-growing opioid crisis in the US has created an urgent need for low-risk, cost-effective and nonpharmacological treatments for managing lumbago. One such option is chiropractic care.
Chiropractic care is growing in popularity among adults in the US with lower back pain. It is estimated that around 8-14% of the population have used a chiropractor to help manage their low back pain.
Chiropractors often provide conservative care for patients, focusing on diagnosis and treatment of conditions of the spine and neck. Spinal manipulative therapy is the therapeutic procedure used.
When a group of active-duty military personnel was subjected to chiropractic care, researchers found that there were moderate short-term improvements in low back pain intensity and disability.
The trial provided support to existing guidelines to include chiropractic care as a component of a multidisciplinary approach to managing lower back pain. More studies are needed, however, to see just how effective chiropractic care can really be for lumbago.
When it comes to international guidelines for managing lumbago, physical therapy is another treatment that is unanimously recommended. Physical therapy is an effective way to relieve pain, improve mobility and functioning, and help clients learn more about how to manage and prevent further back pain flare ups.
Physical therapists use a variety of tools and techniques to help their clients. Some of these include stretching and strengthening exercises, massage therapy, heat and ice therapy, and home exercise programs.
A review of 14 clinical studies on the use of physical therapy in the management of chronic low back pain found that the most common treatments used by physical therapists were:
Physiotherapists all used evidence-based interventions, along with other interventions that might be more experimental. Another study that looked at about 200 participants with low back pain found that “early physical therapy showed improvement relative to usual care in disability after 3 months ….with a significant difference after 4 weeks”.
Lumbago is extremely common and fortunately, not generally serious. With proper techniques and therapies it is possible to manage and prevent future episodes of lumbago.
Research has found that a one-size-fits-all approach does not work for most people with low back pain issues, and therefore healthcare guidelines recommend a biopsychosocial approach. This approach takes into account people’s unique situations, their levels of stress and anxiety, as well as finding what sort of exercise or activity fits their lifestyle the best.
For more information on the biopsychosocial approach check out LivaFortis’s website - www.livafortis.us or read our blog on this topic!