By cobaltmoe | July 9th, 2021 |
The Basic Anatomy of Our Lower Back
The lower back is composed of several muscles, nerves, and ligaments that protect your spine and help you keep your balance. The sacroiliac joints connect the base of the spine (sacrum) to the hip bones (pelvis). The lower back’s strong ligaments and muscles support these joints.
Ligaments in the lumbar area are located between the vertebrae and connect the muscles to the spine and hip bone:
- Sacrotuberous ligaments: Connects the legs with the trunk, biceps femoris, and perineum to the thoracolumbar fascia, and spine. It also assists in pelvic stability and prevents the tipping of the sacrum.
Soft tissues in the lower back are mostly composed of vertebral discs that protect our spine and give it mobility. However, in the lower back you can find the thoracolumbar fascia. It consists of multiple layers of crosshatched collagen fibres that cover the back muscles in the lower thoracic and lumbar area before passing through these muscles to attach to the sacrum.
Muscles in the lumbar area include the piriformis, deep gluteal muscles, gluteus, hip external rotators, hamstrings, and latissimus dorsi.
Several nerves coincide in the lumbar area:
- L1 spinal nerve: provides sensation to your groin regions and contributes to the movement of your hip muscles.
- L2, L3, and L4 spinal nerves: provide sensation to the frontal part of your thigh and the inner side of your lower leg. These nerves also control movements of your hip and knee muscles.
- L5 spinal nerve: provides sensation to the outer side of your lower leg, the top part of your foot, and in between your first and second toes. This nerve also controls your hip, knee, foot, and toe movements.
Typical Causes of Lower Back Injuries and Pain
Unfortunately, due to the natural movement of the hips, we may not notice when we are overworking our lower back. Force placed on the various components of the lumbar area–muscles, nerves, ligaments, and other connective tissues–due to inadequate movement can lead to lower back pain.
The most common lower back injuries that lead to lower back pain include sprains, strains, and tears. Alongside pain, individuals may also experience stiffness, restricted movements, difficulty in performing routine activities, and pain down your leg.
Lower back injuries can take many forms; sometimes an injury happens suddenly or gradually after years of overuse. Causes of lower back injury and pain include:
I. Overuse Injuries
Overuse injuries occur when continued stress is placed on a specific joint, muscle, or other tissue in the lumbar area, often caused by repetitive activities such as sports or even manual labor. Examples of overuse injuries include:
- Muscle strain
- Nerve strain
II. Sudden (Acute) Injuries
Sudden injuries can occur at any moment, whether because of a fall, a car accident, a direct blow to the hip, or any sort of improper movement of the hip can cause severe pain suddenly.
Acute injuries include:
- Pulled muscles (strains)
- Broken bones including fractures or breaks
- Nerve damage or pinching
- Ligament injuries
III. Other Causes of Lower Back Pain
Alongside sudden injuries or overuse injuries, individuals may deal with muscle pain as a result of:
- Poor posture
- Sitting for too long
- A breakdown of the cartilage in your hip
- Calcium buildup in the hip
- Herniated discs in the lumbar spine
- Leg strain that pulls muscles affecting the lower back
- Pinched nerves
- Infections in the bone or joints
More on the Various Types of Lower Back Injuries a Pain Management Clinic Treats
A lumbar strain is an injury to the lower back. This results in damaged tendons and muscles that can spasm and feel sore. These types of lower back injuries are common in those who play sports.
Soft Tissue Damage
Soft tissue injuries are the most common in the lumbar area. Most of the time, these injuries involve strain and sprains in the lower back muscles but can also include herniated discs.
Direct blows to the lower back, such as those suffered in a car accident or from falling in a sitting position on a hard surface, can lead to fractures or breaks in the sacrum and hip bones.
Osteoarthritis presents itself as arthritic changes to the cartilage lining the head of the femur (thigh bone) and the acetabulum (joint socket within the pelvis), causing gradual thickening and shortening of the hip joint. This issue can cause pain that spreads to the lower back.
Usually caused when a herniated disc or bone spur in the spine presses on the nerve.
Pain originates in the spine and radiates down the back of the leg. Sciatica typically affects only one side of the body.
How a Pain Management Clinic Can Help Treat Lower Back Injuries
Our pain management doctors are excited to offer a wide range of treatments to help resolve your pain issues. Using a variety of medical pain management services, we can help you live a pain-free life once again.
Treating lower back pain with plenty of minimally invasive pain treatment, non-narcotic medications is one of the many ways to treat your lumbar pain at its source. Our pain management clinic can help you find the right medication that relieves your pain.
Trigger Point Injections
Trigger point injections are used to relax knots of muscle in the lumbar area that fail to release tension. Injections often result in an immediate alleviation of pain and may be used in several sites during the same visit.
Nerve Blocks for Treatment
An epidural nerve block is an injection that can be used by a pain management specialist to numb the nerves in the lower spine. Our pain management physician may study this region on a patient in order to plot out the best course of action.
Lower back pain can make many everyday tasks seem difficult, and this type of pain can affect our mental health as well. Psychiatric treatment, in tandem with a non-narcotic, pharmacological approach, has become a staple in the treatment of pain, no matter how the injury happened.