With the cold weather, it's nice to snuggle up under warm blankets at night.... You know it, you hear the snow plow go by at 4 a.m. and you feel good in your bed.
But be careful, hearing it also means that there will be shoveling to do during the day...
Have you ever heard of low back pain or back sprains? For many of you the answer is probably yes! It is the most common pain in the world! (especially during the shoveling season)
Each year, approximately 600,000 people consult a doctor for spinal pain. Low back pain is about 5 times more frequent than back pain!
Now I hear you say: "But what's the difference? Both are in the back!"
Yes, well that's the difference:
When we say lumbar, we mean the 5 lumbar vertebrae in the lower back.
When we talk about back pain, we are referring to the largest part of the spine, where the ribs are articulated.
Approximately 80% of people with low back pain have a lumbar sprain. Low back pain is more common in young adults because they put more strain on their spine than other age groups.
If you think you have a lumbar sprain, consult a health care professional. He or she will be able to help you treat and relieve this condition.
What is a back sprain?
When you suffer from a lumbar sprain, it is called spondylolisthesis. What does that big bad word mean?
A lumbar sprain is defined as a rupture of the intervertebral discs (the small discs that line the vertebrae) or of one of the ligaments that allow the mobility of the vertebrae. One particular ligament is most often affected: the ilio-lumbar ligament.
A lumbar sprain peut être aiguë, c’est-à-dire que le malade ressent le problème au moment où il s’est fait mal (le fameux aouch). En revanche, elle peut être chronique. On parle alors d’entorse lombaire récurrente si la lombalgie est apparue plusieurs fois et s’est aggravée au fil du temps.
This condition is often associated with other problems such as leg pain, sleep disorders, and dizziness. No fun.
Causes of recurrent back sprains
A lumbar sprain is an injury that manifests itself as pain at the point where the spine attaches to the ribs. It can be caused by intense physical effort, by a fall or simply be the result of poor posture during exercise (shoveling).
Elle est souvent causée par des problèmes aux disques intervertébraux qui sont des éléments de soutien du squelette avec une structure poreuse contenant de l’eau. Ceci peut être dû à une pression sur les disques, une herniated disc, une anomalie congénitale ou un traumatisme.
A car accident is often the cause of a lumbar sprain. This can lead to inflammation of the discs, which is called chronic low back pain. It is not uncommon for older people to suffer from chronic low back pain. However, lumbar sprains can affect anyone, including children.
It is the leading cause of occupational disease and is the most common pathology among workers. Workers in the construction sector are particularly exposed to this problem. Lift with your legs, folks!
The symptoms of back sprain
How do I know if I have it? Ohhh you'll find out.
Symptoms of lumbar sprain can be short or long term. It can be difficult to determine the symptoms of back sprain because they may be similar to other health problems. The pain the patient experiences is "cramp" (twitching pain) and "needle" (shooting pain). They are diffuse and intense.
In some cases, acute pain with twinges can be observed, both at rest and in movement.
The pain is usually distributed evenly over the quadriceps, but can be localized in the knee or gluteal area.
There are also sensations of burning, tingling or pins and needles.
The pain is detrimental to the patient's daily life, he or she will have difficulty moving and may feel discomfort in moving (walking).
These pains are difficult to relieve and can be present all the time
Some patients may also have knee or buttock pain when standing. This pain is more common in the knee than in the buttocks.
Other symptoms of back sprain are:
- Stiffness in the lower back
- Discomfort in the back
- Discomfort in the knees and legs
- Sensitivity to pressure on the lower back
- Weakness and fatigue in the legs
Basically, it's not rosy. What can we do?
4. Back sprain treatments
The sprain, like any injury, must be managed quickly to avoid aggravation. Here are some tips for relieving a lumbar sprain.
When the sprain is severe, the neurologist will prescribe medication to relieve the pain. He or she will also conduct tests to check whether the sciatic nerve is not affected. If the latter is deficient, physiotherapy is prescribed. If the symptoms do not improve quickly, the patient will be operated on to avoid paralysis in the legs following the sprain. Other treatments are presented below.
Rest is the first treatment for a back sprain. The patient should lie or sit for a maximum of one hour and never get up suddenly. Efforts, such as physical activities or sudden movements, should be avoided.
The surgical intervention
It consists of placing one or more metal implants: they act as a support on the fractured bones. This technique is called external plaster and is performed under local anesthesia. The implants need to be regularly checked by the orthopedic surgeon to ensure that they are not in the wrong position.
When surgery is not possible, the patient can be operated under local anesthesia.
Rehabilitation is the first treatment to consider in case of a sprain. It helps to reduce pain and prevent complications. The exercises to be done vary according to the type of sprain.
If it is caused by a fall, the exercise consists of relaxing the back muscles. If it is due to bad posture, it is necessary to develop the muscles and strengthen the back to avoid a relapse. Our YouTube channel contains dozens of exercises that can help with rehabilitation, follow the link to view!
5. Tips to relieve you
A lumbar sprain is often accompanied by inflammation. Anti-inflammatory drugs are therefore indicated to treat this inflammation and reduce the pain. However, they cannot reduce the swelling that may be caused by the injury.
Massages make the blood circulate in the body. They are therefore intended to relieve the pain. But since they do not have a direct effect on the injury, they must be done at regular intervals and for a certain period of time.
Hot baths are very effective in relieving back pain or back sprains. They reduce muscle tension and soothe the nervous system. Soaking in hot water provides a comforting sensation.
Gymnastics exercises are particularly indicated for people suffering from chronic low back pain and for athletes. Indeed, these activities help relieve lower back pain and improve joint mobility.
In any case, if you think you have this condition, it is best to check with professionals. We are located in Sainte-Rose and we offer a free initial consultation.
You can follow this link if you want to make an appointment.