Don’t worry, it’s not contagious or anything. I do understand, though, why you might ask: what is lumbago? When I first noticed the lumbago diagnosis on one of my many office visit receipts, I thought what is this now? With a little research, I quickly determined it was the name the doctors give to low back pain, in general, particularly when no other specific cause has been determined.
It doesn’t necessarily mean that there is not an underlying cause. It more likely means that you cannot point out a specific injury or that your health professional feels that additional testing is not needed at this time. Don’t shake your fists in frustrated yet because lumbago is considered a very real diagnosis in and of itself. But, I’m left with no choice but to define lumbago as unspecified lower back pain.
The Scoop on Living with Lumbago
- The level and duration of pain will vary from person to person and can be deceiving in terms of the extent of underlying causes and physical damage. That is, one person might have severe reoccurring lower back pain that lasts a week per incident, while another might have moderate pain that is consistent for 6 months and yet another might have a sudden acute episode for two days and that’s it.
- Common underlying lumbago causes include muscle strains, herniated discs, sciatic nerve compression, arthritis, degenerative diseases and any other spinal or musculoskeletal issues. More serious causes including tumors are very rare and these possibilities should be discussed with your doctor directly.
- Lumbago symptoms range from muscle spasms to stiffness to pain in the lower back (naturally!) with or without sciatica symptoms (radiating pain in the buttocks and down the leg) to limited range of motion or increased pain with certain movements. In severe episodes, one of the hips may be higher than the other since the back has tilted to one side.
- Initial treatment typically involves continuing, as much as possible depending on your pain, with your usual activities as well as sleeping on a firm surface, using heat therapy and relieving pain with over-the-counter NSAIDs.
- Treatment for persistent lumbago includes a stretching and strengthening exercise program, physical therapy or chiropractic care, acupuncture and posture improvement.
- If you’re looking to help yourself end low back pain at home, check out this book review!
Leave a comment and let me how you’re living with lumbago…
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