Don’t ignore lower back pain, say medical practitioners

Kathmandu, April 30

Doctors have warned people not to ignore lower back pain as the pain could gradually shift to other body parts.

People with cases of pain lasting longer than six weeks are therefore advised to a consult doctors as they might be risking occurrence of muscular spasms in different parts of the body.

Ignorance could lead to chances of inadequate blood supply to pain-affected areas, which affects delivery of nutrients and oxygen and systems responsible for removal of byproducts becoming impaired.

“At least 80 per cent of individuals experience an intense episode of low back pain at some point of their lives,” said Dr Gaurav Raj Dhakal, spine surgeon at National Academy of Medical Sciences, Bir Hospital.

Acute lower back pain is defined as lower back pain present for up to six weeks.  It may be experienced in the form of aches, burning, stabbing, sharp or dull, well-defined or vague sensations.  The intensity of pain may range from mild to severe and may fluctuate.

Low back pain may begin following strenuous activity or jarring trauma, but often is seemingly unrelated to a specific activity.  The pain may begin suddenly or develop gradually.

An exact source of acute lower back pain is hard to identify but there are numerous possible pain producers, including muscles, soft connective tissue, ligaments, joint capsules and cartilage and blood vessels.

“These tissues may be pulled, strained, stretched or sprained. Annular tears — small tears that occur in the outer layer of the intervertebral disc can initiate severe pain. Even if the actual tissue damage is minor, and likely to repair quickly, the pain experienced may be quite severe,” said Dr Dhakal.

Numerous chemical substances are released in response to tissue irritation.  “These substances ‘stimulate’ the surrounding pain-sensitive nerve fibers, resulting in the sensation of pain.  Some of these chemicals trigger the process of inflammation, or swelling, which also contributes to the pain,” explained the doctor.