The spine is the pillar of support for the body and specially engineered through a large and complex group of interconnecting bones, joints, nerves, ligaments, and muscles. The soft tissues that surround the spine enable bending forward, lifting, arching and twisting movements. It is exactly this complex structure that leaves the lower back and spine highly susceptible to injury and pain. In fact over 80% of the population will suffer from lower back pain during their lives. Not surprisingly, over 75% of Sonic Relief users state that they use their device to treat some form of back pain.
The majority of cases of lower back pain, especially in the case of short term ailments, can be linked to general causes such as:
- muscle strain
Example of strenuous movements that may put stress on the back causing a sprain or strain include:
- Lifting a heavy object or twisting the spine while lifting
- Sudden movements that place too much stress on the low back such as a fall
- poor posture over time
- sports injuries, especially in sports which involve twisting or large forces of impact such as football
Other causes of lower back pain can be attributed to a specific conditions of the spine such as:
- Herniated Disc
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Spinal Stenosis
As there are so many reasons for lower back pain it can present as a wide variety of symptoms. It can be mild and merely annoying or it can be severe and debilitating. Some symptoms may include:
- Pain that is dull or achy, contained to the low back
- Stinging, burning pain that moves from the low back to the backs of the thighs, sometimes into the lower legs or feet; can include numbness or tingling (sciatica)
- Muscle spasms and tightness in the low back, pelvis, and hips
- Pain that worsens after prolonged sitting or standing
- Difficulty standing up straight, walking, or going from standing to sitting
As with any ailment, the goal with medical treatment is to reduce pain. However most medications will not have any effect on the underlying source of pain. General treatment for lower back pain will typically be medical treatments including medical or surgical along with a physical therapy program or other regimen.
Treatments for lower back pain may include the use of medications such as over the counter pain relief medications like ibuprofen, muscle relaxants, epidural steroid injections, or narcotic pain medications. However, narcotics are not recommended and are rarely used to treat long-term pain, as they have many side effects and can easily become addictive.
Other treatment options include back braces, manual manipulation performed by a chiropractor or other health professional, massage and physical therapy, and lastly therapeutic ultrasound.
Ultrasound can be incredibly beneficial for lower back pain. Ultrasonic sound waves are pulsed at into your lower back a million times per second. These waves stimulate your nerves and muscle tissue surrounding your spine directly and the areas affected by the irritation and inflammation caused by sprains and strains. The sound waves penetrate the skin and surface layers causing the soft tissue to vibrate. This produces gentle healing vibrations within the affected area that soothe inflammation and relieve pain. Ultrasound waves also cause tissues to relax and increase blood flow to help reduce local swelling and chronic inflammation.