Lumbago is an umbrella term for lower back pain, which can be caused by a variety of issues from sudden strain to tumors. There are a number of treatments for lumbago, depending on the root cause, including surgical options for very severe cases. Low back pain affects many people at some point during their lives, and it is a frequently cited cause for missed work. Because the causes for lower back pain vary, it is important to see a doctor if you have any type of back pain, to ensure that the cause is properly diagnosed so that you get the right treatment.
The most obvious symptom of lumbago is, of course, lower back pain which may radiate into the upper legs. Patients may also experience stiffness in their lower backs, especially when rising in the morning, along with painful muscle spasms in the lower back. A tingling sensation in the lower legs and feet sometimes accompanies this condition also, and patients may develop a spinal curvature as their bodies respond to the pain.
Strain is a common cause of lower back pain; a common cause of strain is an activity like heavy lifting without proper support. Lumbago can also be caused by arthritis, osteoporosis, scoliosis, tumors, and herniated discs, among other things. A doctor will be able to diagnose the condition and determine the underlying cause with the assistance of diagnostic tools. In addition to a physical examination, a doctor may use diagnostic equipment like x-ray and MRI machines to visualize the spine in an attempt to find the source of the pain.
There are an assortment of nonsurgical treatments for lumbago, including exercise and gentle stretches for the back, anti-inflammatories and painkillers to ease the swelling and pain associated with the condition, and the use of antidepressants to treat the mental discomfort which sometimes accompanies back pain. Some doctors also recommend spinal manipulation or massage to ease pain and inflammation, along with treatments like acupuncture. Application of hot or cold compresses can sometimes help as well.
In some cases, the condition may require surgery. This is often true of pain caused by damage to the spine, or chronic lumbago which keeps recurring. Surgical options vary, depending on the cause of the lower back pain, and surgeons usually discuss the available choices carefully with their patients. Surgery can restore the integrity of the spine, ideally while preserving the patient's mobility and flexibility.