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Mechanical Lower Back Pain : Cause, Symptoms & Treatment

What is mechanical lower back pain?
Mechanical lower back pain is a common problem and almost accounts for more than 90% of the lower back pain. Mechanical means that the pain source may be in your spinal joints, discs, vertebrae, or soft tissues. Mechanical back pain may also be called low back pain, lumbago, lumbosacral strain or sprain and sciatica.

What causes mechanical back pain?
It is not possible to find the main cause of the pain right away, but sometimes it starts with being in one particular position or repetitive movement and continues to progress. Weak spinal or core muscles can also be responsible for it.

woman with back painWhat are the symptoms of mechanical back pain?
Most people with mechanical back pain experience pain primarily in their lower back. The pain may spread to your buttocks and thighs on the side or on both sides. Many people may also experience spasms with mechanical back pain. The symptoms of the mechanical lower back pain may include pain on bending, morning pain, stiffness in lower back and hip, weakness in lower extremity and tingling and numbness symptoms.

How is back pain diagnosed?
Best way to diagnose mechanical lower back pain will be by seeing McKenzie trained or certified therapist, who will take a detailed history of pain and function as well as overall health and complete full neurological and repetitive movement examination. Therapists will be able to find out which movement will help and which one will hurt or be harmful. If needed, further investigations will be recommended by the physiotherapist.

How is back pain treated?
Non-surgical treatment with limited rest, over the counter medications and supervised Physiotherapy program for ongoing mechanical pain, may be recommended. Physiotherapy may be an essential part of acute back pain rehabilitation. It is important that you work with a physical therapist trained in this exercise approach to promote rapid healing. Active physical therapy can help shorten recovery time and make you return to work and leisure activities as quickly as possible. Active physical therapy is an exercise program that may require home exercises as frequently as every two hours while you are awake. The exercises generally take about five minutes to do and do not require special equipment, nor do you need to go to a gym to do them.

What is the outlook for people with back pain?
The prognosis for complete recovery is excellent. Most people with acute mechanical back pain respond very rapidly to treatment. About 90% of people with acute low back pain are symptom-free in one to two weeks. Many of the remaining estimated 10% recover within three months.

Recurrences of back pain are common. Continuing your home exercise program may help reduce your risk of another episode.

When can I return to work?
It’s usually recommended that you return to work right away. If you cannot do your regular job, it is in your best interest to return to some kind of modified duty (light or restricted duty). Your healthcare provider can give you a prescription for a limited period of modified work duty.

It is very common to be afraid to promptly return to work and other activities because of fear of re-injury. However, if you are receiving proper treatment, your risk of re-injury should be limited. It is in your best interest to return to a normal lifestyle promptly. Early mobility has been found to directly result in a more rapid recovery. Maintaining a positive mental attitude is also imperative to a quick recovery.

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